Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mike Forde - Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Mike is the Performance Consultant of the Bolton Wanderers Football Club. Bolton is a homespun local club that has for the last five years consistently outperformed its potential. Amongst the big spending premiership elite of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal, little Bolton has consistently challenged and finished near the top of the Premier League.

All this has been down to four inspirational players. Phil Gartside, the Chairman, Sam Allardyce, the iconic manager, midfielder Gary Speed (who’s just bought a house about 200 yards from me in St. Tropez - so that should help our Sunday morning kick about), and the glue who holds it together, a young lad in his early 30’s, Mike Forde. Mike has been working for five years with Clive Gilson, one of my Inspiros partners on a Peak Performance program. Sam is the inspirational leader and the whole club and team are run on Peak Performance lines. A few weeks ago when the captain was carried off injured, the cry from the field was “Who’s got the R?” This was a reference to the RASCI system of project management which we practice here at Saatchi, (Responsible, Accountable, Support, Consult, Inform) but hasn’t been heard too often in times of crisis on the soccer field.

Mike is a special young guy with classic integrator skills. He deals with the on-going pressures of small budget, big competitors, and weekly moments of truth through combining passion and harmony. That’s why the Bolton Wanderers are always in flow, off the field, as well as on the field. Mike is a classic example of the servant leadership style practiced by Bob McDonald, in particular, at Procter & Gamble.

As for Sam, he was a candidate for the English job, and we helped put together a presentation for him which showed how he would take the English team forward. It was full of BTI’s (big transformational ideas), as well as a lot of attention to the last detail. It went completely over the head of the Football Association who, after the Sven-Göran Eriksson debacle, then chose Steve McClaren (Eriksson's non-successful assistant). My only hope now is that one day Mike and Sam will go to work for my team, Manchester City.