End of an Era, Beginning of an Error?
The last week of the first month of 2014 is here, the one month that seems to have sixty-two days and sixteen weeks…. Yeah, that’s how long January normally feels to most of us. But I can bet that this year round the situation is even worse for Manchester United Football Club, and more so for their fans the world over. This is a club that is always at the top of the table almost all seasons and so the fans are currently finding themselves in a very uncomfortable position now that they have not even made it to top 5 since the season began.
As a result, many fans are reacting to the situation differently, some sadly committing suicide while others have been seriously beating their wives and children in anger. Many women have been heard confessing and lamenting that since the season started going south for Man U, many of them have not had their conjugal rights from their husbands. At this point you realize that people take this thing called football too seriously.
But the funniest of all the fans was the drunken Man United fan who couldn’t stomach the fact that they were eliminated in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup, a cup that is commonly called “Kikombe cha Mbuzi” on this side of the divide. So he decided to vent his frustrations by calling 999 and asked to speak to Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who lifted MUFC to the glory it is now slowly falling from.
During the call which was made at 01:30 am early Thursday morning, the man demanded to speak to the former manager before telling the unknown call handler: “The result is all wrong, they had extra time and it was a total and utter load of rubbish.”
When asked if he had a crime to report, the man said: “Yes. I want to report a crime. The crime is that Manchester United were absolutely knackered.”
Well, I guess the Red-Devils had assumed that the top position was their right and now that the position looks very much out of reach, the reactions from almost all the fans are crimes waiting to happen, though others already have happened. To the Man U fans reading this today I have this to say to you; like a roller-coaster ride, life is full of ups and down. However, you have a choice to sulk while you are down or enjoy the ride the same way you did when you were screaming your lungs out at the top of the ride (read table). However, don't give up just yet. The season is far from over and now that you have Mata, everything will be just fine.
But jokes aside, why would a team that has won the premier league thirteen times out of twenty-one seasons be doing so badly this season? Is it not the same team that beat Arsenal 8 – 2 in a past season? (I recall this with alot of pain).... Is it not the same team that was declared the title champions in the 2012/2013 Season, a month before the end of the season? So what has happened to the team this season? Aren’t the players still the same, regardless of the usual injuries?
In case you didn’t know, I am not a Man U fan myself and I could care less about the fans for one simple reason: they behave like devils when they win, living up to their name so to speak. Unlike other teams, say for instant Chelsea or Man City, or my beloved Arsenal, whenever the red devils win there’s chaos all over. The level of vulgarities increases and hooliganism escalates. Since the season begun social media has been very peaceful now that the rowdy Man U fans are voiceless and can’t hurl the usual insults they usually do whenever they are at the top. For once, they have been tamed and for the rest of us who are non-Man U fans, we are enjoying the peace and quiet this has brought with it… I hope it lasts. But now that they've started showing signs of a comeback after their match against Cardiff last night (28.01.14) .......
However, just because I don’t feel the club doesn’t mean that I am oblivious of what is happening to them right now. It is shocking to say the least and so, like I asked previously, what is wrong with this once glorious team? Ever since the “Magician” Alex Ferguson stepped down and appointed David Moyes to take over from him, it seems like things have become skewed for the team. In my own analogy, it seems like it was “the end of an era and the beginning of an error”. Though many may not agree with me, I blame Alex Ferguson for what is happening to MUFC right now. How many options did he have before settling for Moyes? What criteria did he use to settle for Moyes? Did he pick him because he is his fellow Scotsman? Or like I am thinking, did he pick someone he knew couldn’t overshadow his success, just to make sure he remains the best there ever was at Man United?
If my theory is correct, then that is a serious case of insecurity in Fergie’s case. Unfortunately, it happens not just at Old Trafford, but right here in our continent, and in the offices we work in daily. How many times do we see bosses who would rather settle for unqualified and un-seasoned personnel just to make sure there is no threat posed to them? How many times have we seen managers (who I call damagers) make decisions that are completely selfish, just to make sure they protect their interests in the organizations they work for? How many times do we see them trashing great ideas from their junior staff just because those ideas are better than anything they (the bosses) would have come up with? I know this for a fact because I am speaking from experience.
It is no wonder many organizations that were known to be at the top of their leagues are just a shadow of themselves today. Today they are doing just as badly as Man United is doing in the BPL, not because they do not have good staff members, but because the management is wrong. Friends, not everyone can be a leader or a manager, and putting this statement in a BPL context, not everyone is Alex Ferguson. Yes you many have a great Resume but can you take your company to the top? Can you ensure it maintains the top position season in season out (read year in year out)? Some things need more than papers; they need talent, passion, a clear vision, a clear strategy and a clear implementation plan. Without those, an organization that was once at the top crumbles down in a heap and only remembers what it used to be…. Look around you, you’ll see many of them.
Now, I am not saying Moyes is wrong for Man United, but it is quite obvious he is lacking some elements Fergie had…. For instance, he probably doesn’t pay the 12th man as much as Fergie used to…. Anyway, bad joke.
Moving on swiftly, I’d like to say this especially to all those who are in positions of power, positions that require them to make decisions that affect the entire organization – if you ever want your organization to succeed, surround yourself with people who are better than you are and do not fear embracing their ideas as long as they make sense. This not only makes them confident and comfortable to work with you, but it makes those people very loyal to you because they know you have an open mind and are not afraid to try something new. It confirms to them that you are secure in your position and are not threatened by new ideas. However, the moment you start shooting down those ideas, they (the employees) build a wall around themselves and even the little you expected them to offer stops.
Like Bo Bennet said, “a good leader is one who can tell another how to reach his or her potential; a great leader is one who can help another discover this potential for him or herself”.
You cannot be able to do either if you are so insecure in your skin that you feel everyone trying to perform in the organization is out to get your position. As a result, you foolishly let the good people go as you surround yourself with a bunch of regrogressive non-thinkers who are just happy to keep saying "yes boss" to everything you say, even when you cough. Wrong approach. A day will come when everyone will start questioning why things are the way they are now…. Case in point, what is happening at Old Trafford right now.
In conclusion I'll say this; if this is you then you need to rethink your actions and your overal strategy. Times are changing and unless you change with the times, not even your old devious schemes will work for you. Sooner than later you will be ousted forcefully by those who put you in that position. The times we are living in are all about numbers and the bottomline and if you cannot deliver..... (fill the blanks)
So, this week I challenge you to drop your insecurity and make the right decisions for yourself and for those around you. Do you have the guts to do that?
Wishing you all a gutsy week.
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 26th January, 2014, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".