In the years immediately after England won the World Cup the
then manager Alf Ramsey could do no wrong in the eyes of his players
but as the winning team was replaced by a new generation the manager’s
word was no longer law. At the start of an England training session
Alf brought the new younger members of the squad together and
suggested they get a hair cut. They just sniggered.
Here was a manager so out of touch with the new generation that
rather than accord him the respect due the countries most successful
international manager ever they considered his ideas and methods so
out of date as to be a joke. It might be an extreme example but all
managers no matter how successful will one day be considered to be out
of touch. And as chief executives get younger and changes happen
quicker their time at the top gets even shorter.
I think it happens to us all it’s just more news worthy in those who
were regarded as special. Even the most ardent revolutionary becomes
in time the weary establishment. Years cool the fire of passion.
Colleagues and cabinet start to question the managers judgment .
Senior staff who at one time spoke of their manager in the way follows
of a religious cult speak of their leader can no longer be relied
upon. Now their loyalty can not be taken for granted. Criticism has
come to feel routine.
The astute manager always sought to generate a sense of siege, but
the senior management team used to be inside the walls. The old
methods don’t work but the boss can’t or won’t change. The manager is
no longer able to relate to their team and the team find it
increasingly hard to have faith in the manager.
But having been head hunted as a serial winner the chair is obliged
to back the manager at least for two more rounds of the budget.
The boss is from the age of austerity, pre pandemic. More concerned
with efficiency than creativity, experienced at cutting budgets not
creating jobs, an opportunist rather than a strategist, more
comfortably with competition than cooperation, some one who sees
little value in debate when there is only one way forward.
The boss’s contemporaries are now working in management consultancy,
on the board of some middling charity or commentating from the side
lines. As we prepare for the post pandemic reality it‘s obvious the
world has moved on and the boss has not moved with it. Which is not
so unusual. Only the exceptional have the hunger and capacity to
evolve. Very few managers endure at the very top for more than a decade.
Blair McPherson former Director ,author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk