Leicester City Triumph Shows That Winning is Possible for Anyone

Congratulations to Leicester City, who in winning the English Premiership football title have pulled off the biggest sporting shock of our lifetimes. A team of rejects from bigger clubs and players who were seen previously as ordinary performers won the toughest league in the world through organisation, tactics, determination and no little talent.

As well as the inherent romance of the story (and let's not forget the discovery of King Richard the Third's body under a Leicester car park - his reburial in the cathedral coincided with the team's recovery last year), this has one brilliant longer-term effect. For people like me, a Sunderland supporter, or good friends who follow teams such as Newcastle and West Ham, winning the Premiership has seemed simply impossible. It was only the big clubs with their billionaire owners and huge salaries that could possibly come out on top. Since the last outsiders – Blackburn Rovers – won in 1995, only four clubs have won the title (Chelsea, Manchester United and City, and Arsenal) and only those four plus Liverpool have even been runners-up (Editor's late note - see comments below!!)

But now, anything seems possible. It could be Sunderland next year (if we don’t get relegated this month). It could be Spurs, who came close this time around. Or Southampton. Or West Ham. Or … well, that’s the point. If Leicester can go from bottom of the Premiership just over a year ago to this achievement today, then anything can happen.

So let’s also do our usual exercise and see if there is anything else we can learn from Leicester’s success from a business point of view. We wrote here about the people side of this and procurement talent, but we can extend that point about opening up the possibility of success. For any procurement leader sitting outside the largest firms, with the best procurement reputations, it is easy to think that being “world class” (our equivalent perhaps of winning the Premiership) is just impossible, due to lack of money, lack of Board interest or “big name” (highly paid) category managers.

But maybe it isn’t. With a combination of smart strategies and clear prioritisation, using the appropriate tactics, effective management to get the most out of your people, determination and a strong work ethic ... maybe with those, any organisation can win the procurement Premiership! There is no excuse now for football teams to give up on the dream, and there is no excuse for any procurement function that says “we just can’t be one of the best, it’s impossible”. Because it’s not.

Voices (2)

  1. David Atkinson:

    Peter,

    How DARE you?!

    The once-mighty Newcastle United finished runner’s up in 1995-96 and 1996-97!

    “The Entertainers” indeed.

    1. Peter Smith:

      You are correct – don’t know how I missed that, I was looking at a list on some website and must be that my brain just blanks out all mention of .. what were they called again???

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