T&C: what Sir Alex Ferguson can teach us (part 2)


T&C: what Sir Alex Ferguson can teach us (part 2)

In the first part of this blog, we looked at the first four of the leadership lessons of Sir Alex Ferguson. Here, we’ll look at the remaining four points. All of these are intended to help you to think differently about how Training and Competence (T&C) can help you and your business.

And of course, in the world of SM&CR, competence is a business-wide issue that applies to senior managers, certificated staff and advisers alike. All of these lessons can be applied to how you develop and manage staff across your business.

To read part one, click here.

5. Match the message to the moment

Ferguson’s message: ‘Few people get better with critcism; most respond to encouragement instead so i tried to give encouragement when i could. Well done. Those are the best two words ever invented’.

The message for T&C: Ferguson was talking about looking to emphasis the positives wherever possible and this works as much in business as it does on a football pitch. How often in financial services do you only hear from the supervisor when something has gone wrong?

Of course, as someone for whose actions brought us the expression ‘the hairdrier treatment’, you always have to be prepared to choose the appropriate response.  But don’t have this set as your default position. Catch people doing things right, not wrong.

6. Prepare to win

Ferguson’s message: Manchester United were famous for pulling results out of the hat, usually in extra time. Was it a fluke or was it, perhaps, the training sessions he ran where they practiced what the team tactics would be if they needed a goal with 10 minutes to play, 5 minutes or only 3 minutes remaining?

The message for T&C: I think there are several messages here. How often, for example, do we practice? In some businesses, being an adviser is a lonely existence in that rarely do they see other advisers in action. If so, how do they learn, benchmark themselves, pick-up tips – in other words, practice getting better? It is also easy for them to get into bad habits. Secondly, if we do practice, do we practice the really important things that help us to provide better advice, strengthen the relationship with the client or build trust more quickly? In the sporting world, peak performance starts with how we practice.

7. Rely on the power of observation

Ferguson’s message: The key is to delegate, trust people to do their job and to truly observe. The ability to see things is key.

The message for T&C:  To me, this isn’t the obvious point about observing client meetings. It’s more broad than this – the ability to stand back, to have good and meaningful information (KPIs), the trust that develops when people are allowed to get on with doing a good job, and just how important our diagnostic skills are. We all know that adding value to an experienced adviser is harder to do than with a new recruit. And so it should be. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be done – we just need to be smarter and sharper at identifying the two or three areas that could be performed even better or reinforcing the two or three areas the adviser does really well and would benefit from doing more often.   If we don’t have the right information and we don’t stand back, we’ll never be able to see how things could be better.

8. Never stop adapting

Ferguson’s message: in the 25 years Ferguson was at Manchester United, the professional game of football changed dramatically. From money, agents, team formations, GPS tracking and yoga, he saw the lot. His message, despite the success he enjoyed, was you can’t afford not to change.

The message for T&C: I’ll make two points. T&C as we know it, has been around for over 30 years so what do we do differently now? What does 30 years of progress in T&C look like? How have you adapted your professional development policies to incorporate the needs of SM&CR? Some T&C schemes look pretty much the same as they did in the last century. I find this sad, especially as financial services like football, has changed out of all recognition over this period. As a life-long fan of Bury FC, you’ll have to believe me on that one!!

To read about giving effective feedback, click here

Click here at how to deal with change

To find out how we can potentially help you with your T&C, click here

Ian Patterson, T&C specialist and author of the CII’s J07 (Supervision in a Regulated Environment) and AF6 (Senior Management and Supervision) study texts.

Marie Patterson
Ian Patterson