You are who you hire. garethsouthgatewould

In 2018 #garethsouthgatewould trended on twitter and I think we have something to learn from this. It is nothing to do with football.

This post is the first of a series I have previously published elsewhere over the last few years. It feels right to start with this one.

This story starts with Jose Mourinho, a football manager with a formidable 20 year track record. His approach is legendary, what he calls ‘guided discovery’. He asks his team to choose one of the methods he thinks suitable for them, and once agreed he expects 100% commitment. As he puts it, “you’re either on the boat or not”. He is more than happy to publicly criticise members of the team who challenge his tactics.

Jose’s recent track record is consistent – a year or so of success built on a lot of investment for specific ‘star players’, then noises of discontent from the team, a public falling out combined with poor results, then he leaves the club.

In 2018 Gareth Southgate took the most inexperienced team to the football world cup in Russia. Against all odds the team got through to the Semi finals. When appointed as manager he was accused of being ‘too soft for the role. But when asked about why he had not selected a particular player he simply explained that whilst the player was good, there were currently three others who were better, and he had talked to them about the decision.

Gareth says he manages as if he will be in the job forever... “make the right decisions for the long-term goal-results will then take care of themselves” he describes an ethos of continuous learning from brutal honesty.

Of Jose Mourinho it has been said that “whilst football has changed in the last 20 years Jose’s approach has not.”

I think about this story as I see organisations needing to continually adapt and think about the phrase “you are who you hire”. I wonder how many Jose’s and how many Gareth’s there are in businesses.

What are companies and organisations prioritising when bringing in new recruits, assign to important positions or promote to senior roles? How brutally honest are they when they consider whether people show genuine humility and a willingness to learn rather than doubling down on demotivating behaviour or allowing people to hide by simply adopting the current vemacular?

#garethsouthgatewould was followed by thousands of mischievous examples of humility and kindness. Clearly there is something in his approach of trust, respect and accountability that resonates.




Trust, accountability & humility. High performing environments in technical, highly complex orgs

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Trust, accountability & humility. High performing environments in technical, highly complex orgs

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