Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5 Lessons You Should Learn From Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone thrown in the air as Atletico Madrid celebrate first La Liga title in 18 years.

Atletico Madrid on Saturday won their first La Liga title in 18 years with a 1-1 draw at fellow title contenders Barcelona.

This victory is put into proper context by the fact that it broke a 10-year duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the 2 great football clubs in Spain winning the league title. So, how did relatively unfancied Atletico achieve this great feat? I have a few suggestions that I want you to consider and probably learn from. They are:

1. Positive Experience Matters

Atletico's manager, Diego Someone was a player the last time Atletico won the Spanish league in 1996. In fact, that team won the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) as well getting the domestic double. This provided the foundation for his success because he had done it before as a player with the same club and knew how it could be done. Perhaps more importantly, his players also knew it could be done because their manager had done it before as a player. Hence, they had a precedence to attempt to follow and replicate. This was very important to Atletico Madrid's success his season.

2. Having the Right People Matters More than Money

To win this title, Atletico Madrid's team had to compete with the squads of superstars that Real Madrid and Barcelona have with the likes Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, Xavi, Iniesta and so on. Atletico could not afford such great individual players but they have built a great team of competent and professional players with a simple but effective style of playing built on a strong defence. Real Madrid has the highest wage bill in Spain for this season at €220 million, Barcelona had €195 million and Atletico Madrid were a distant third with €72 million, less than half of what their 2 big rivals spend on their players. This is a clear indication that you do not need to have the most money to be successful in competition, you just need to get the right people that are best suited for your business, organisation or institution.

3. Do not Succumb to your Mistakes

Human beings are not perfect, we make mistakes no matter how disciplined and dedicated we are. Atletico had 2 previous chances to seal the title but they failed to get the required results which meant they had to do the job in their final game with Barcelona who  knew a win at their home, Camp Neu would give them the La Liga title. They led at halftime but Atletico came back in the 2nd half to equalise and get the draw they needed to secure victory. The team could have easily settled for less because they were never expected to win the league, 2nd place would have been a remarkable albeit disappointing achievement (on the final day), Liverpool comes to mind at this point.

4.Build on Your Successes

Atletico Madrid have in the last 5 years won 2 Europa Cups and beat city rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Copa Del Rey (King's Cup) in 2013. The team had been making steady progress, improving over time. It is an excellent example of continuous improvement especially if we consider the fact that it is playing Real Madrid in the final of the UEFA Champions League this Saturday.

5.Be Bold in Challenging Your Bigger Rivals
Atletico Madrid have had a decent run against Barcelona in particular this season, not losing to the Catalans in 6 games whilst being competitive against Real Madrid except in the King's Cup where Real Madrid outclassed them.

These are lessons we can learn from Atletico Madrid in managing our organisations, businesses and other institutions so that we too can achieve exceedingly good results with relatively small resources.

Kindly let me know what you think of this post and my analysis by dropping a comment and share this if you find it worthwhile.

Thanks for reading.
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