33 Management Lessons from Bloemfontein

The World Cup – an international football tournament eagerly contested every four years by well-coached teams of highly skilled sporting professionals and England – provides many valuable lessons for students of business management and communication. Try this test.

Leadership style: Discuss options. Choose either (a) an autocratic approach that includes infantilising team members by restricting personal freedoms and withholding task allocation until two hours before major teamwork-dependent activities, or (b) jubilant co-operative goal-achievement based on the Maradona Principle.

Use of technology: Consider recent evidence and justify either (a) adopting well-tried 21st century technologies that increase both the accuracy and impartiality of critical decision-making at work, or (b) sitting on your fat backside jabbering sentimental crap (Blatter Theory) about errors of judgement always leading to a good discussion.

Skills training: Conduct a Pareto Analysis, selecting either (a) to assess individual team members’ skills against a set of proven world-class KPIs following the South American Dunga paradigm, or (b) to decide that abilities crudely honed in a scally scouse alley will do despite regular evidence to the contrary in international meetings situations with representatives of so-called minor subsidiaries.

Praise as incentivisation: Produce a cost/benefit analysis of both (a) ladling approbation on undeserving employees while cranking up the expectation of interested stakeholders to impossible levels, and (b) introducing the same employees to the stark truth by puncturing their overblown, overpaid hubris.

If you answered (c) to most questions, turn your paper over, wipe your tears and try again.

NOTE: If the imbalance between work performance and remuneration, as applied to both managers and team members, continues to stretch the bounds of credulity, candidates may resolve to choose another activity to observe. Like rugby.

Ok, thank God that’s all over and we can now watch some decent football without finding our hearts in our shoes. We can also concentrate on our jobs again and get back to the business of winning work. On which note, here is the next tip in my series on successful bidding.

TIP #5/8 Give them benefit, not information
Check your sentences pass the So what? test. If they don’t, rewrite with added benefit. A bid document must project benefit to have a chance of winning, because clients don’t buy information – they only buy benefit.

In other words, tell them how time, money or stress you’ll save them – and try to quantify how much. The phrase That means is a useful fulcrum point between the information and the benefit. Putting the benefit in a sentence on its own focuses the reader on your offer.

In evidence statements, quantify how much time, money or stress you saved the client on similar projects.

Nielsen Dinwoodie
business messages people remember


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