What Yorkshire Businesses can Learn from Marcelo Bielsa

What Yorkshire Businesses can Learn from Marcelo Bielsa manager

What Yorkshire Businesses can Learn from
Marcelo Bielsa

by Tom Brook

For any business, risk management is a vital tool. However, although your business will likely want to minimise the number of risks it takes to ensure financial stability, sometimes minor risk taking, when done strategically, can bring great benefits, as this blog post from RSM explains.

One case study that all Yorkshire businesses can learn from is the case of Leeds United, particularly their calculated risk of appointing maverick manager Marcelo Bielsa (pictured above). Here, we’ll look at why the appointment was considered to be a risk to many, how successful the strategy has been and what Yorkshire businesses can learn from his methods.

Why Was Bielsa Considered to be a Risk?

Referred to by Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino as ‘the best coach in the world’, Leeds United’s fiery manager comes highly recommended. However, he also comes complete with a rather chequered history, including a spell at Lazio where he only lasted for two days. However, his “El Loco” nickname isn’t purely because of his exacting demands and feisty temperament, as he once also famously threatened fans with hand grenades after a defeat.

However, after several failed ‘safe options’, such as ex-Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom, the whites decided to take the plunge on Bielsa, with impressive effect.

What Yorkshire Businesses can Learn from Marcelo Bielsa coach

Bielsa’s Results at Leeds

Despite many pundits predicting that Leeds would likely get off to a slow start with Leeds and that he would have to make 7-8 transfers for his methods to work, Leeds started the season well under Bielsa. He won the Championship Manager of the Month award for August 2018, and Leeds went unbeaten until the 22nd of September.
At the time of writing, Leeds sit well positioned in third in the Championship, above local rivals like Sheffield United and just behind leaders Norwich, who they have already beaten 3-0 this season.

What Can Businesses Learn from His Methods?

At first glance, many people believe that the worlds of football and business are separate. However, his management style is much lauded across the profession, and there are three key themes that Yorkshire businesses could learn from him.

Improve Your Staff

Many fans and pundits alike believed that wholesale changes were needed for Marcelo Bielsa to implement his methods at Leeds. However, what’s more remarkable is that of the 11 players that beat Stoke on the first game of the season, only one new signing (Barry Douglas) started the game.

Instead, Bielsa focused on improving the players (staff) he had at his disposal, dedicating his time to improving them and teaching them new skills. Could you upskill your employees rather than hire?

Create a Bond with your Customers

Leeds United were also famous for having a fractured relationship with the fans. One area where Bielsa particularly focused was re-engage the fans, with admirable effect. Elland Road now regularly sells out for games, with Leeds having the second highest average attendance in the league.

Businesses could copy this tactic by forging a bond with their customers, encouraging loyalty and brand awareness in the process.

Promote Work Rate and Togetherness in Your Team

Arguably Leeds’ most improved area is their work rate. By putting the team through an incredibly tough pre-season and setting lofty targets, Bielsa made expectations on work rate clear from the outset. Now, Leeds are probably the hardest working team in the league, with viral clips showcasing the effort they put in match by match.

This is something you could echo to your staff, setting ambitious yet achievable targets and positively reaffirming your message.

To conclude, business and football may seem like different worlds, but Yorkshire businesses could learn a lot from Marcelo Bielsa. Is it time you took a calculated risk?


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