Matrix Management

Wake up football, its time for matrix management

Two of my favourite subjects today, matrix management and football (the proper English kind).

There is a lot of debate in the UK about the role of the manager/coach and the director of football, specifically who should be in charge of specific topics like choosing and transferring new players.

High profile managers, like Benitez at Liverpool, are reported (so it may or may not be true) as wanting complete control over the decision. In others the director of football appears to have purchased players without the knowledge or agreement of the manager.

What on earth are they going on about? If they looked outside the insular and old fashioned world of football management they would realize that these one dimensional, hierarchical power and control games have been obsolete since businesses became more complex.

Managing a modern football club has become too complex for an individual to do everything for themselves so specialists are essential. All you need is a bit of clarity and some understanding that you need to cooperate to get the best out of the system.

Here are the realities as I see them

No owner gives a blank cheque to a manager, whether funds are available is a commercial decision – owner or their representative CEO decides.

Manager/coach is the best person to ic the team and identify any gaps or imbalances – they should decide what kind of player is needed.

Director of football needs to understand the market, player availability etc… (which the manager probably does not have time to do alone) They go out and identify players that fit the need. In this case they act as the HR manager would in a business team.

At the selection everyone can be involved in the process but the manager should have the final say – if they don’t want the player they simply will not pick them.

Director of Football carries out any negotiations to close the deal.

In business it would be considered ridiculous for any one individual to act alone without using the expertise and getting the input of the others.

In general a search for more control is a symptom of an underlying lack of trust – in some cases this may be the problem that needs solving first.

Recruitment is one of the most critical factors in business and football success. Get it sorted.

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