It is the organ grinder, the Football Association (FA) and not the monkey, manager Fabio Capello, that we should be looking to, to take responsibility.
Why are we surprised that Fabio Capello did not inform Beckham personally, that his long service with the England football team might be over? After all, this was the third example, in one week, of Capello’s failure to communicate.
Everything that there was to know about the England football team’s current manager was already known at the point he was hired by the FA. He had several, significant weaknesses when he came into the job.
He couldn’t speak English at all well, he had never managed a national team; He has a strict, authoritarian style.
So why did the FA think that he was the right person for the job? The FA is never held accountable for their consistently poor hiring choices and the fact that they are equally slow to fire people.
Few things are more critical to the success of any organization than the attraction and retention of remarkable talent. Unfortunately, leaders often get frustrated during the recruitment process and end up hiring B and C players just to complete the task and have someone in place. It’s the ’slot-filled syndrome’. The people in charge want to take the pressure off themselves, so hire someone, anyone, even if there are obvious weaknesses in their candidate.
However, managing is 80% about hiring well. Hiring a B or C quality individual inevitably leads to more time invested in managing, it results in lower outputs, slower growth rates, less profit and more morale problems. The FA is faced with all of these issues now – poor headlines; poor results and the British nation’s growing cynicism and lack of confidence.
If that weren’t enough, at some point, the leader will probably need to fire that person.
Most leaders put off firing too long, which creates additional problems that could have been avoided if they had hired more skilfully in the first place or had released the employee when it became obvious that his/her competencies had been exceeded.
It was a poor decision on the part of english football’s governing body, the FA, to extend Capello’s contract, at a higher salary, just before the World Cup – with no break-clause, if England’s performance failed to meet expectation.
If it is becoming obvious that Capello’s style is not good enough, the FA should have the courage to let him go – now – and face the consequences.
Eventually, if the FA has to negotiate some kind of termination, it’ll be infinitely more complicated and more expensive than if they had let him go when they knew it was time.
Hire Slow, Fire Fast. Learn this lesson or you’ll regret it later.
Geraldine Kilbride, is a Business Psychologist and owner of CrucialSkills4Leaders; the company works with managers and leaders to realise their potential as responsible and effective executives. For a free book, “Why Managers Fail to Make it to the Top”, visit www.crucialskills4leaders.com. For a free executive coaching assessment, contact [email protected]