The week@work – leadership lessons from Leicester City, #TonysSoDiverse, exit strategies & the April jobs report

This week@work we visit Leicester, England (think Wichita,KS) to uncover a story of unlikely success, celebrate the diversity of the Tony Award nominees, grasp the value of a positive employee exit process, and review the April jobs report.

At the beginning of the English Premier League season, Ladbrokes, the world leader in gaming and betting set 5000/1 odds that Leicester City would win the title. On Monday, the team beat the odds to hoist the trophy and celebrate their marvelous win.

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There were hundreds of news articles published over the past week, covering the story from every possible angle. Here are a few, examining the business applications and social impact.

‘What do the foxes say?’, The Economist’s take on the champions suggests a future in business school and corporate conference engagements for club manager, Claudio Ranieri.

“In footballing terms, Claudio Ranieri, an affable Italian, has found a way to turn water into wine. Mr Ranieri manages a club in England, Leicester City, which historically has not been very good. On May 2nd his team were crowned champions of the English Premier League, a competition more watched than any other on the planet, and reliably won—including in every one of the preceding 20 years—by one of four much bigger clubs.

…Leicester’s triumph will also spark inordinate interest in the world of business, which has long looked to sport for lessons on management and leadership.

The BBC’s Robert Plummer shared six of ‘Leicester City’s business secrets’. “You don’t need to throw money at the problem. Get the right people around you. Create the right culture. Do the maths. Create the right incentives. Don’t forget your mum’s birthday!”

For a literary, fan perspective, Booker winning author, Julian Barnes wrote ‘My Stupid Leicester City Love’.

“I haven’t always been a Leicester City supporter: there was a time before I could read, or knew how to tune the Bakelite wireless to the voice of Raymond Glendenning on Sports Report. But from the moment I became sportingly sentient – say, the age of five or six – I have been (as they didn’t much say then) a Fox. So, six and a half decades and counting.

To be a lifelong supporter of Leicester is to have spent decades poised between mild hopefulness and draining disappointment. You learn to cultivate a shrugging ruefulness, to become familiar with the patronising nods of London cabbies, and to cling to an assortment of memories, of pluses and minuses, some comic, some less so. Yes, we have won promotion to the top division every so often; but the fact of promotion logically implies an earlier relegation. Yes, we did win the League Cup; but what burns the soul are the four times we reached the FA Cup final and the four times we lost.”

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ESPN’s Wright Thompson introduced readers to the diverse “salad bowl” that is Leicester, England, in ‘We’ve come to win the league’.

“This is the first city in the United Kingdom with less than 50 percent of the population identifying as “white British,” which some people see as the inevitable destiny of an island nation that tried to conquer the world, while others see it as a sign of the apocalypse. People here of different faiths and races seem to get along; Narborough Road, one of the main avenues into the city, was named the most diverse street in Britain by researchers. Shopkeepers and small business owners from 23 nations work there.

John Williams lives on a park near the local university where he teaches…He studies the sociology of football and has written many books on the subject. Whenever someone wants to understand the subtext of life on the pitches and terraces of Leicester, he’s often the first call.

“It was a very white space,” Williams said. “It had a sense of foreboding and exclusion about it. The new stadium has none of those memories. Everyone starts with a clean state at the new stadium because you have to make the history. This is a new history being written.”

Janan Ganesh shared ‘Lessons for everyone from the rise of Leicester City’.  “There is more of the Enlightenment than of romance about this story.

Foreign owners, a foreign coach, a polyglot squad, a laboratory of a training ground: far from mounting a stand against the modern world, Leicester is the modern world. Do not hold out against change, this season teaches us, absorb and master it. The lesson is not just for other clubs but also for modest cities adapting to globalisation and for individuals navigating an insecure world.”

And while we are on the topic of diversity, the Tony Awards were announced last week, recognizing the best of the American theater over the past year. Katherine Brooks sent a message to the left coast, ‘Dear Hollywood, Let Broadway Show You What Diversity Looks Like’.

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“The nominations for “Hamilton,” along with other plays and musicals like “The Color Purple,” “Eclipsed,” “On Your Feet!,” and “Shuffle Along,” reveal a picture of Broadway far more diverse than seasons before it. These shows feature actors of color in lead roles, highlight the experiences of women and minorities in the U.S. and beyond, and empower writers and directors breaking barriers in their categories. They prove, along with a litany of shows that weren’t nominated, that this year was a different kind of year for the Great White Way.

…critics across the Internet are using a different kind of hashtag ahead of the theater world’s version of the Academy Awards: #TonysSoDiverse.”

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Heather Huhman addressed the importance of ‘last impressions’ in an article for Entrepreneur. Building and maintaining a positive reputation is key to recruiting talent. How an employer treats people throughout their ‘on the job life cycle’ is often chronicled in social media. Thinking strategically about the exit process can reap long term benefits.

“…the process for offboarding employees should be just as important as the onboarding one, and that companies neglecting the former, integral process may experience negative impacts. Here are a few things to consider, to ensure your formal offboarding program is successful: make saying goodbye positive, go beyond the exit interview, turn exiting employees into brand ambassadors and use past employees in your referral program.

Go beyond the exit interview to establish and continually improve the offboarding process to include exit surveys, strong communication throughout an organization and a plan to stay connected to departing employees.”

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Eric Morath analyzed the recent jobs report for the Wall Street Journal.

“U.S. companies slowed the pace of hiring in April while paying workers only slightly more, signaling a softening of the labor market…

…an increase in wage growth and a pickup in the number of hours worked across the economy could signal solid underlying income growth for workers that would support stronger consumer spending in coming months.

…the easing of job gains could also suggest the economy reached a level where firms will provide workers better pay increases and more hours, rather than hiring new employees.”

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