Management secrets of Barcelona Football Club

Barca puts more emphasis than any other major team on growing its own players. Other football teams often resemble the United Nations—the Arsenal first eleven, for example, frequently includes just two native-born Britons. Barca, by contrast, is still dominated by local players, and Catalan is often spoken in the dressing room. Eight of the team’s leading players are products of its football school, La Masia. That includes Mr Messi, an Argentine who moved to Barcelona as a boy, and the team’s coach, Josep (“Pep”) Guardiola. La Masia is unique among football schools. It is a boarding school that puts as much emphasis on character-training as on footballing skills. The students are relentlessly instructed in the importance of team spirit, self-sacrifice and perseverance. They are also taught that Barca is “more than a club”: it is the embodiment of Catalan pride that kept the region’s spirit alive during the years when Spain groaned under the fascist Franco regime. Fans regularly sport banners proclaiming that “Catalonia is not Spain”.

Barca has used the idea that it is “more than a club” to cultivate a two-way relationship with its fans. It is owned by its members (socis in Catalan), who now number 150,000, rather than by shareholders or foreign tycoons. The management is answerable to an assembly that consists of 2,500 randomly chosen socis and the 600 most senior members. The club supports many sports other than football and runs a popular museum in Barcelona. After a recent win more than a million people turned out to cheer.

Barca’s management style chimes in with the thinking of two admired theorists. Boris Groysberg, of Harvard Business School, has warned that companies are too obsessed with hiring stars rather than developing teams. He conducted a fascinating study of successful Wall Street analysts who moved from one firm to another. He discovered that company-switching analysts saw an immediate decline in their performance. For all their swagger, it seems that their success depended as much on their co-workers as their innate talents. Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great”, argues that the secret of long-term corporate success lies in cultivating a distinctive set of values. For all the talk of diversity and globalisation, this usually means promoting from within and putting down deep local roots.


Skilled Veterans Corps

A group of more than 200 Japanese pensioners are volunteering to tackle the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power station.

The Skilled Veterans Corps, as they call themselves, is made up of retired engineers and other professionals, all over the age of 60.

They say they should be facing the dangers of radiation, not the young.


Porter’s Five Forces

Those starting or evaluating going into a business should read and understand Michael E Porter’s Porter’s Five Forces. It is a good model for strategic planning of a new or existing business.

The five forces
– The threat of the entry of new competitors
– The threat of substitute products or services
– The bargaining power of customers (buyers)
– The bargaining power of suppliers
– The intensity of competitive rivalry

Shui Hu Zhuan – All Men are Brothers

梁山好汉, 行侠仗义、除暴安良, 替天行道.

This is the latest 2010 remake of 水浒传. I highly recommend it. There are endless good martial arts fighting scenes like those you see between Jet Li and Donnie Yen in other movies throughout the story. There are also plenty of large scale battle scenes like those in Three Kingdoms. The battles start after many of the 好汉上梁山. The fighting and battle scenes are the best I have seen in China-made historic series. Character development is in depth, full of 英雄情怀. All 108 好汉 are introduced. They are all gallant, brotherly and highly skilled in their own ways. 忠义 is the theme. If Song Jiang, Lin Chong, Wu Song, Wu Yong, Li Kui, Lu Zhishen etc rings a bell, I believe you will like it.

The actor for Song Jiang is Zhang Hanyu 张涵予

Con Air Garland Greene

Sane words from an insane man. This is one of Steve Buscemi’s most memorable role.

What if I told you ‘insane’ was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldn’t you consider that to be insane? ~ Steve Buscemi (Con Air, Paramount Pictures, 2003)

discounting the obvious

“Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is make by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected.” – George Soros

remember the rifle

“A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he’s finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son’s diaper; his hands remember the rifle.” – Jarhead

Let them be little

Let them be little

Cause they’re only that way for a while.

Give them hope, give them praise, give them love everyday.

Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle.

Oh but let them be little

~ Billy Dean

via First Day Of School | Tammy And Mummy.

Spiritual training is not about…

Spiritual training is not about raising your head and looking up, it is about lowering your head and learning humility and honesty.

Which life is a past life; and which life is present life? What is an illusion, and what is real?

Only you can find the answer you need.