Never give up

The English Premier League season came to a dramatic close yesterday, with Manchester City claiming the championship with a last-minute goal. Needless to say, as a Manchester United supporter it was hard to take!

But having followed Manchester United for over 20 years I’ve seen my fair share of late winners from the Red Devils. And one thing’s for certain, good luck has nothing to do with it.

Perseverance

What Manchester City showed all of us yesterday was the virtue of perseverance. To keep on going no matter what you’re up against.

When things aren’t going to plan (as it did for City after 66 minutes yesterday afternoon) it’s often tempting to panic and deviate from the strategy and tactics in place.

The key is to have belief in those around you and to stick to the script.

Good teams include individuals who have an understanding and respect for their colleagues and this confidence allows everyone to do their job properly and stay focused on the goal in hand.

It didn’t matter how much time was left in the game, the Manchester City players kept working, kept passing and kept playing their game.

The best team (usually) wins in the end

Like all good teams, Manchester City navigated the bad times throughout the season and remained focused on the goals and objectives they had set themselves.

They made adjustments, changed tactics when needed and continued to win one game at a time, knowing that by doing so they’d eventually accomplish their main objective.

Over the course of the season, Manchester City were the better team and they are, as a result, deserved champions. Just as it’s the case in business, the best companies (the ones that employ the best people, train well and work hard) eventually rise to the top.

However…

All good teams, clubs and companies bounce back from disappointment. They use the pain of disappointment to galvanise the group and focus on what must be improved to succeed next time.

The England cricket team overcame humiliation in the 2006/07 Ashes series to reclaim the urn from Australia in successive series in 2009 and 2010/11.

Apple came back from the dark days of the 1980s and early 90s to become one of the most respected and most valuable companies on the planet.

Likewise, I expect Manchester United to use this year’s league defeat to learn the lessons needed to improve for next season. They’ll look at the areas of the team that need strengthening, prepare well in the close season and the individual players will use the disappointment of failure to concentrate their minds on winning next time.

It’s been a topsy turvy season but despite my personal disappointment at the end result I’m hoping that this time next year I’ll be writing about how Manchester United are champions again and the lessons we can learn from their inspiring return to glory!