The business of football
The business of football

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5 What helps teams succeed?

You have just seen that teams progress through various stages of development and the ideal is that they reach the ‘performing’ stage. You have also seen some of the factors that help teams reach this stage. But why does this not happen more often, and what can we learn from teams that seem to outperform their potential?

Ideas of how to make teams succeed are the holy grail for business and psychology researchers and experts. Obviously a football club has a huge interest in getting this right as its main product is the football team. The likelihood is that you and those studying this course with you will be able to develop your own theory of what shapes effective business and football teams. Here we draw on observations from within professional football, where team performance pays in all sorts of ways, to see what can be learned about effective teams.

When looking at team performance it can be helpful to consider cases where teams seem to perform well despite their circumstances. Consider the case of Southampton FC whose performance over a 3–4-year period appears to have outstripped their apparent potential. For part of the 2010–2011 season they were 22nd in League One but later that season won promotion to the Championship. The next season they came second in the Championship and so by the 2012–2013 season they had reached the Premier League. For a while they were third in the Premier League in the 2013–2014 season and finished in eighth place. In 2014–2015 they finished seventh.

We have assembled some fascinating interviews with the a national team manager and experienced club professionals, to hear their own thoughts on what shapes successful teams.

Figure 8 Norwich City's then majority shareholder, celebrity chef, Delia Smith celebrates promotion to the Premier League in 2011

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