Daum fired at FC Bruges? On Strategy, Leadership and Branding.

Leadership Daum Style at FC Bruges

Leadership Daum Style at FC Bruges

I am sorry if I just tricked you into a fake news item. Cristoph Daum is still the coach of FC Bruges. The headline is reasonable though, looking at the latest results of historically one of Belgium’s best football clubs. Added to that is the “culture of coach swapping”. The logic it dictates is somewhat of the following: if we don’t perform well, fire the coach and bring in a new leader. And it’s exactly from that swop culture that we can learn a thing or two about strategy, leadership and branding. The main message for today:

FC Bruges’ Coach Swap Story demonstrates how Strategy and Leadership drastically impact Branding.

There are many ways to develop a strategy to obtain goals. Within this process, the vision of the leader is rather critical. After all, his or her vision guides the decision for a specific strategy.
I believe this choice instantly impacts the “style”, “soul”, “positioning” or “brand”.

Let’s try to make this more clear by visualizing the case of football.

Strategy, leadership and branding. Learnings from football

Strategy, leadership and branding. Learnings from football

FC Bruges Coach Swap Story

Looking at the above scheme, something is remarkably striking in the FC Bruges Story. Let me just do the telling, meanwhile you do the scheme-mapping exercise, ok?

Adrie Koster, formal coach of FC Bruges. Dutch guy.

Adrie Koster, formal coach of FC Bruges. Dutch guy.

As from 2009, the Dutchman Adrie Koster, coached the team. As a leader he defined the strategy to obtain goals from an “always win perspective”. As a result FC Bruges played attacking, creative football and scored a lot. Neutral spectators loved the team. It had style, soul. It was a good brand. But the team didn’t always win. And after four successive defeats, the club fired the coach. He did not reach the objectives. The “always win strategy” was left. It didn’t work. A new strategy and leader was sought for.

At the end of 2011 FC Bruges appointed a new leader: Cristoph Daum. A German coach with a solid track-record. His goals were the same as those from Koster. But in order to fulfill them, the leader envisioned another approach to realize the objectives. He took the “win more than others do perspective”. Consequently, the same group of people were no longer recognizable. The team played uninspired and relied on proven tactics like dropping high balls in the penalty zone, free kicks and corners. It resulted in a lot of “1-0 wins” for the team however. And in fact, 1-0 quickly got labeled a “Daum Score”. But the longer this leader is in charge and brings the strategy to live through not really sexy tactics, the less the team is liked be outsiders and fans because of its style. The brand isn’t perceived as something “good” anymore. The soul is gone. This story from the world of sports clearly shows that strategy and leadership influence branding.

What if Daum really got fired?

Well, let’s answer the question by applying the theoretical scheme applied above.

FC Bruges Coach Swap Story. On Strategy, Leadership and Branding.

FC Bruges Coach Swap Story. On Strategy, Leadership and Branding.

Can businesses learn something from this story on Strategy, Leadership and Branding?
Or is sports just sports?

Whispering Web – The Book.

I’ve made your life easier.

Well, I made it easier if you were to read everything ever posted on this blog. Consider how many clicks that’d take. At least a thousand, right?

Below is a book that collects all articles written in the first year of this blog. Reading all articles in this manner will take you about 70 clicks. I saved you just about 930 clicks. And I might argue that 930 clicks require at least 2 doctor visits because of a painful wrist. I’m not a doctor price specialist but I believe two visits quickly will cost you about 50 EUR or Dollars.

Hope you enjoy slide-reading through it.

Cyclo-cross's disruptive innovation that made competition irrelevant.

This weekend several national championships cyclo-cross were organized. We looked at Belgium’s cyclocross championship held in Antwerp. This national championship almost equals a world championship as Belgium has delivered the best athletes within this sport for decades.

What’s even more interesting, a few years ago a Belgian rider – Sven Nys – started dominating the sport by introducing a disruptive innovation that made competition irrelevant. Sounds like a story that relates to the concept of the Blue Ocean (BOS) as developed by authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Let’s dig a little deeper into the story and try to derive relevant lessons for business practices.

Disruptive innovation: Sven Nys leaps over objects while driving

Red Ocean Strategy in Cyclocross - jump while running

Red Ocean Strategy in Cyclocross - jump while running

When talking about innovation, we often think of technical/technological innovations. These are rather important of course but are often incremental by nature. The innovation Sven Nys introduced years ago that disrupted the sport was not a technical one. It was e.g. not about an improved tire or a lighter bike frame – as those technical innovations were incremental and simultaneously available for all competing riders.

The true disruption happened when Nys introduced a skill: the ability to leap over objects while riding a bike. Other riders overcame the objects by jumping of the biking, lifting the bike by hand while jumping over the object. Speaks for itself that the manner deployed by Nys was faster. This often allowed him to make competition irrelevant during races. Nys created a Blue Ocean. Others were to follow his example soon of course and today one can see many riders leaping while riding. Is the Blue Ocean red again?

Relevance for Business?

We believe this case shows that innovation doesn’t have to come from technology – as you often read in the literature and cases, especially in the areas of BMI (Business Model Innovation). Additionally, the case clearly shows that you should never stop looking for new innovative practices or tools – since others will follow and might even excel the original innovator. Today there might be another rider who can leap over higher objects than Nys can.

Nuance: notes on Sven Nys

The above story is oversimplified. Sven Nys is a phenomenon, he’s way more than “the one able to jump over the obstacles”. During his career he also expanded into mountain biking and is quite good at it. To get an overview of his impressive career, have a look at the Wikipedia page.


Possibly related articles (not automated – suggested by author):
  • Basketball’s Disruptive Innovation
  • Clap skate in speed ice skating – this is in fact a technical innovation but nonetheless quite compelling. Something we just know about in one way or another. Not investigated thoroughly by us.
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