On May 16 we held our exclusive Speaker Showcase event at Plexal, London’s innovation hub located at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this time featuring change expert and consultant Professor Damian Hughes. The event coincided with the release of Damian’s new book The Barcelona Way, focusing on Barcelona FC’s success. Damian gave insight into the DNA of this amazing winning team, the key principles that have defined FC Barcelona’s success, and how this can be harnessed in a modern corporate environment.
Drawing on interviews with key architects of the culture and his own extensive experience, Damian provided a unique insight into one of the most successful teams in sporting history. Lying at the heart of their success is how they deal with people, and the care and attention given to the environment in which those people are nurtured: practices of which are of equal relevance to all organisations trying to channel the activities of their talented individuals for the corporate good.
Damian explored two main points: Commitment Culture and Cultural Architects.
Damian talked about the importance of demonstrating the correct behaviours, for example, stating that everyone within the organisation is equal but only providing parking spaces for Senior Directors contradicts this commitment and does not portray the commitment behaviours. He suggests practising behaviours so that you don’t have to think too much and those behaviours become habit – in Barcelona FC’s case, they aim to keep hold of the ball 70% of the time. Therefore, daily behaviours are centred around this, they practice and feedback until it becomes automatic. Such practices are then reflected in the game.
What are the non-negotiables in your organisation? You should have a minimum of three that provide the scaffolding when put under pressure.
Develop leaders within who can shape the culture of the organisation. For example, before Ronaldinho left Barcelona FC his behaviour changed and he began to enjoy the lifestyle of being a footballer rather than being focused on the football, and other players began to follow this too. Therefore, four players were chosen to build the culture – those that showed the correct and desirable behaviours for the team, those solely focused on and known for their football and nothing else. Guardiola trusted them to build the culture within the club.
The impact a coach has is no more than 10 percent. They could make it worse, but no more than this. They influence, but they do not make or break. They are not solely responsible. Leaders need to be recruited to create a community of culture. The role of a leader is to model the behaviours and then get out of the way and let the team live it.
Make decisions based on identity – what situation is this? What would someone like me to do? Barcelona FC would ask – who am I?