Now that the Premier League season has finished, even those of us who aren’t football fans would have heard about Leicester City’s story, regarded as one of the biggest upsets in sporting history.
It’s an extraordinary underdog tale of how comparative minnows Leicester City beat their much more revered and wealthy rivals to win the Premier League title.
But when you take a closer look behind the scenes at how the club operates, Leicester’s triumphant campaign isn’t as surprising as you might think, and we can all take inspiration and apply some of their principals within our own businesses, to take on your larger and more established competitors.
One of the main factors for Leicester City’s success was the fitness of their players, which can be attributed to the use of technology. Each individual is monitored in training by a device worn at the top of their back, using GPS and Glonass to gather various metrics towards their overall player profile.
This then allows for advanced assessment of player conditioning, giving the coaches the data to tailor training programmes to their specific needs – players then train to their own individual peak fitness level.
The captured data also establishes the risk of a player getting injured at any given time based on benchmark data that automatically shows when they have exceeded their usual workload.
The net result of this was the small number of injuries the club’s players suffered, with Leicester City racking up fewer injuries than every other club in the Premier League.
This enabled Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri to pick the same starting line-up for the majority of the season, keeping his best players on the pitch and allowing them to form an unmatchable team bond and understanding.
Advanced Medical Techniques
For those few players who did get injured, Leicester City weren’t afraid to invest again in ground-breaking techniques to improve rehabilitation of their squad.
A cryogenic chamber was brought in, a technique which uses liquid nitrogen to expose players to extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time, with the principal objective to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. The coldest chamber dips as low as minus 135 degrees Celsius.
Recovery times from soft-tissue injuries have been greatly improved, while the treatment also allowed players to train with greater intensity, has been credited with aiding sleep, and also produces endorphins which help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
Applying the Leicester City Model in our Businesses
It may seem a bit tenuous to compare a sporting club to our businesses, but Leicester City is still a privately run organisation that strives for success in much the same way we all do. We can utilise much of their approach to become better at what we do.
The first thing to do is to use technology where ever you can. We are in the digital age, and if you want to gain an advantage, there is probably already a technology that exists and has been developed to help your business.
Most importantly however is your people; make your people central to your success. It’s not only about the quality of the people you bring in (Leicester brought in no big name stars), it’s how you nurture your people to get the best out of them.
Leicester City made every person an individual, they get to know them and their strengths and weaknesses, assessed their performance through clever technology, and applied individual training programmes to help develop them.
Of course success is down to much more than your sum of your individuals, it’s down to your team environment. Because Leicester City’s overall approach delivered low injuries, it kept the team together, which enveloped an unbeatable team spirit, and a sense of collective responsibility.
The other side of the story was the management of the team. Claudio Ranieri had a very clear but simple philosophy; show unbridled trust in his players, give them belief and a freedom to express themselves.
In a contradiction to the strict dieting and relentless training of a Premier League team, he allowed his players extra days off, and famously admitted if they train hard enough (to their optimal fitness levels), he allows them to eat what they like.
By giving them these little extra things back, look how they repaid the faith. We can all apply a little bit of something back to our staff.
Nick @ Quest