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Vusi Thembekwayo 09 July 2016

The events of December and January have shaken the entire football fraternity, not only in the English Premier League but frankly across the globe. The firing & replacing of Mourinho by Chelsea was a shock of epic proportions. Fans were disgusted at the behavior of the players. The league administrators were concerned at the legal precedence this set.

Mourinho himself, whilst mum, was visibly distraught. “The great one” was clearly shocked at the decision of the owner of Chelsea club and the technical team.

How often have you seen, heard of or even experienced the situation wherein the entrepreneur has a strong relationship with a client but battles to get buy-in from the employees – mainly in procurement – of the said client. So over the past decade we have been overloaded with the rhetoric that says “what you need to succeed in business is strong client relations … only”. This approach is not only dangerous but strategically dumb.

Entrepreneurs need to develop strong relationships not only externally with clients but also internally with their core team and their suppliers. Building a business cannot be done as if one were on an island without external forces or influences.

Jose Mourinho surely did not think it possible that the day would ever come when his club of original accent would fire him. His emotional connection and legendary status made it even more improbable that things would end as they did. Week after week, game after game we – the football loving global cohort – watched with disbelief at the behavior of players toward their coach. Deliberate misses. Poor passes. Collapsed defense. Non-aligned midfield. The list is endless.

But how often does this happen in your business? How many times have you had your staff acting in a manner that is not consistent with your corporate goals or even worse, the reason you started the business in the first place. That scared thing called a “deeper purpose”.

They do not treat customers the way you would prefer they do. They do not represent the business in a way you would. They do not value suppliers the same way you do.

How can you stop – at the very least lower – this from happening? How do you ensure that you do not become a Jose Mourinho?

  • Act against misbehavior quickly

When people act against the business or against you as the leader, you have the responsibility to act against them. Very important, given South Africa’s labour, is to have your policies and procedures in place to ensure that you are not caught on the wrong side of the law. When people act in a manner that is inconsistent with the behavior you want, act against them. Don’t hesitate. Don’t show favour or understanding. Act.

  • Reward positive education

When people do what you want, reward them. Then build a system that consistently rewards your people to act in a particular direction. Sell ‘X’ to ‘Y’ customer and you will get ‘Z’. Make the system clear and easy to understand. Once the system is in place, measure for it. Be consistent and ruthless in your measurement for the behaviours that you want. People do not do what we hire them for, they do what we measure them on.

Also take some time to spend with your customers. You hire people so that they can do the things you need done but don’t have the time to do. So your employees are an extension of you and act for you in your absence. Make sure that you stay close to your customers. Talk to them. If there is something happening that shouldn’t be happening, they will tell you.

  • Celebrate the right result

Make sure that when the team gets the result right you shout about it. Make a noise about it. What you reward, people will repeat. What you celebrate, reinforces what you value. What you reward and celebrate builds the culture of the business.

Over the year 2016, things are going to get tough. Your competitors are looking for extra margin and extra market share & they want to take it from you. Don’t be caught sleeping at the wheel. Do be caught in the Mourinho trap.