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Sunday, August 27, 2006

When does a winning streak end?

Being a fan of Liverpool Football Club of some 40 years and coming from a family of fanatical Red supporters - the last few years have been interesting - we have won every trophy going bar one - the League and as I write this, I think that if we can be more consistent we stand a good chance of winning the premiership title.

I've been reading a bit of a recent book by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, one of the leading gurus of change management called

Confidence - How winning streaks and losing streaks begin and end.

To Kanter a winning streak is a matter of confidence which are a cocktail of self belief, empowerment motivation and most important to me on knowledge management open communications and strong systems.

However, I am also interested whether she has expanded on the death spiral of organisations and I have to say that she hasn't added too much to her preceding work in this area. But the downward slide into oblivion for firms is where systems become neglected and managers start to retreat to protect their turf and go into a silo mentality and stop sharing knowledge, communication decreases a blame culture becomes pervasive and then talented people start to leave the organisation. Once this occurs all confidence evaporates. If you take a knowledge based firm then this is totally fatal.

It usually takes a new broom to start to instil a new sense of self belief into the organisation and that you start to deliver on the goals set. I believe that initially the bar must be set low so that people can get their confidence back by all being able to step over it and then slowly starting to raise the bar as you start to climb back up the mountain.

Rick Parry the Chief Executive of Liverpool FC talks about Rafael Benitez's half time talk when Liverpool where losing 3-0 to AC Milan in the 2005 European Cup Final:

'I don't think his speech was Churchillian or anything massively inspirational. That's not Rafa's style. He is still a leader for sure, but he's not generally one to shout. He is more tactical. He focuses on people's jobs and things that have to be done, rather than on grand emotional exhortations. He'll say, "Hang on, you are good players, let's change things." He gives people confidence. You don't have to shout to do that.'

A lesson for Managers everywhere when trying to rebuild confidence in people and the organisation - maybe Kanter is a Liverpool fan .....

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