Business lessons from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Hannah of Hoyland Marketing is not an expert on football, but she has researched a man who is!

Why should we listen to him? Well: 26 seasons at Manchester United, 13 Premier League titles, two European Cups, five FA Cups, four League Cups, one European Cup Winners' Cup, a statue a knighthood and a street. He must have done something right! What can we learn about management from the man with all these successes under his belt? Read on.

As I was looking for football inspired ideas for this week's blog I kept coming across articles about Sir Alex Ferguson (affectionately known as SAF). There's so much to learn from him that I decided to run a series of blogs. In fact, his strategies are so well thought of that there's even a Harvard Business Review case study on them. It's this I've based my series on. So here we are, let's kick off at ground level (sorry, couldn't resist!). 

Grass roots
One of the unique things that SAF did at Manchester United was to focus on the youth program. Ensuring that they had the best training facilities for the younger generation created a bank of great players for the future. This was a great way to future proof the club. It also creates a bond between players early on. One that's very difficult to challenge on the pitch.

David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the two Nevilles (Phil and Gary) all came from the youth training program. They created the winning FA Youth Cup side of 1992 that went on to become successful international players.

Winning a game is only a short term gain...Building a club brings stability and consistency - Sir Alex Ferguson 

How can we relate this to business?
Employ the right characters for your business, those that 'fit' well. Support them. Instil your company values as soon as they walk through the door. Train them well and give them space to grow. Promote from within.

If you do this you are making sure that the people working for you are the right people. They will be happy in the environment you've created, they will share your values and will be the most productive people. The bond between them will result in fantastic teamwork and you'll have a continuous stream of talent banging on your door because they'll be telling everyone how great it is to work for you!

In the following weeks I'm going to cover SAF's take on the following:

Week two - Segmentation strategy

Week three - Values and control

Week four - Messaging, communication and attitude

Final week - Delegation, observation and agility

Keep your eyes open for the next instalment, but in the meantime, if you want to find out more about Hannah you can contact her at or visit her website for more details.