Change Management Fail!

As a lifelong Liverpool FC fan (that’s me on the right alongside my cousin Nick), this week’s announcement on the creation of a European Super League (ESL) left me dismayed and bewildered. Clearly, I was not ‘walking alone’ in having those kinds of feelings. Every football fan in the country, regardless of allegiance, though it was a terrible idea.

However, as quickly as it arrived, the Big 6 English teams have departed the ESL and in doing so, have lost all the bargaining power that they were trying to assert over UEFA. As Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said earlier this week, “What UEFA need to do is start looking after the game and stop pandering to these people and trying desperately to keep them inside the tent because they are going to be inside the tent now whatever happens”.

So how did John W Henry (principal owner of Liverpool FC) get it so wrong?

I don’t have the answers to that, but I think we can all agree that it was a Change Management failure on a colossal scale.

The Centre for Creative Leadership states the 3 C’s of Effective Change Management as…

1. Communicate

Successful leaders communicated the “what” and the “why.” Leaders who explained the purpose of the change and connect it to the organisation’s values.

2. Collaborate

Bringing people together to plan and execute the change. Successful leaders include employees in decision-making early on, strengthening their commitment to change.

3. Commit

Successful leaders are resilient and persistent, and willing to step outside their comfort zone. They devote more of their own time to the change effort and focus on the big picture.

Reviewing the events of the past week and these 3 C’s for successfully managing change, there was a complete and utter failure by John W Henry to communicate or collaborate. He didn’t articulate the ‘why’ and didn’t take anyone else on the journey. Apparently, the Liverpool players heard the news at the same time as the general public, hardly a shining example of ‘including employees in decision-making early on’.

The one thing he did do was commit. Just a crying shame that he committed to an idea that would have ruined football as we know it.

Author: Kris Flanagan 

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