Manchester United appoints Erik ten Hag

Whilst I’m not a football manger or even a professional footballer, I’ve had decades of success in business and team turnaround, so as it looks like Erik needs all the assistance he can get, I thought I’d offer him some helpful advice on engaging with his new team.

I firstly recommend that within his initial 1-2-1 meets with each of the squad, he engages with them to confirm what their individual drivers are and why they joined the team; however long ago that was.

Understanding why they joined and what motivates them, will enable him to tailor his engagement and delivery to each individual specific to them and their role within the collective team goals / objectives.

Within this 1-2-1 meeting he should also ask them the following 3 key questions:
1. What have you been receiving to date that you’d like to keep and why?
2. What haven’t you been getting and if you receive it, where / how do you believe that will have an impact with you and the team?
3. What’s in place or has been delivered, that you feel has been negative or counter-productive and why?

He doesn’t need to, nor should he, make immediate decisions or promises on what he’ll maintain, implement or remove from the existing structures or processes, without having the opportunity to review and decide on the best long-term course.

When he has made his decisions on what and how to deliver in his initial 90-Days, I’m sure this will be within the framework and objectives of his first year / longer-term plan.

He can communicate to the team collectively and individually, detailing the logic and purpose of his plan, based upon what he took from the initial 1-2-1 meets so that as a whole and personally they can understand and take ownership.

In this way he’ll also confirm that this is a ‘bespoke’ plan tailored specifically to them as individuals and collectively as a team. Rather than the message that ‘this has worked before’.

It’s mutually beneficial for the team and management, that everyone owns the agreed measurable objectives of the plan and their part in it.

If you’re managing a team or are in a team being managed, then it may be of benefit to include these questions in your annual or half-year 1-2-1 review and planning meetings. They’ll certainly add to the open and honest communication and may likely deliver some great ideas and innovation.

I’m sure Erik has it all well in hand and has already started implementing his ‘turnaround’ plan in his own style, with this type of focussed and transparent management.

What key questions would you be asking if you were Erik ten Hag?

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