Sir Alex Ferguson, who is retiring, was more than just the manager of a football club.
In the words of friend and football writer Glenn Gibbons, he was 'to Britain’s football community what the Queen is to the population at large'.
During his 27-year career at Manchester United, Ferguson transformed the club from an assortment of dipsomaniac losers to one of the most successful and best known football clubs in the world.
Ferguson’s stature is such that the Harvard Business Review dedicated an entire case study to him last year. Therein, HBR lauded Ferguson as Britain’s 'most successful football manager'.
Banking and football are not dissimilar. Both involve high pay, huge egos, and burnout. Bankers can learn from Sir Alex. If you’re a financier, these are Fergie’s most transferable tactics.
1. Start as a player and move into management
Bankers are notoriously unwilling to give up their client-facing jobs and take a back seat by moving into management. This may be a mistake. Sir Alex demonstrated the wisdom of spending time as a player and learning the ropes before moving into a managerial role later on.
Ferguson’s own football career wasn’t especially illustrious: he started out in second-division Scottish club Queen’s Park aged 16, moved to Dunfermline Athletic and then moved to Rangers. Although Ferguson was a top goal scorer, he didn’t play for any big name teams. His first managerial role began when he was 32, for East Stirlingshire FC, a small club in Falkirk, Scotland.
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image: © marcel sigg