Preparation Is Everything- Help Others

Most of us know that being physically fit and healthy is essential if we’re to keep pace with what is a very challenging career. But many of us still underestimate the impact that our mental and emotional state of mind can have on our performance.

In management of football most of your time will be spent focusing on other people – their physical and mental wellbeing, their performance and motivation – often at the expense of your own health and happiness. But while this selflessness might seem a necessary evil in order to succeed and survive, it is unsustainable.

We know from research that taking insufficient time to recharge and recuperate, mentally and physically, can have a negative effect on the memory, on concentration, judgements and decision making. Managers therefore need to ensure that the physical and emotional energy they expend each day is balanced with enough time to recover and regain focus. In short, a little me time goes a long way to avoiding burnout, ill health and breakdown.

While that can mean simply taking time away from work to reconnect with friends and family, it can also be very valuable to have an interest outside of your sphere of work. Engaging in something you enjoy and that you can totally lose yourself in is a key part of being balanced and looking after your mental and emotional health. Lichfield Academy players the same process needs to be followed.

Preparation Is Everything- Help Others


Don’t get phased by what first appears to be a barrier to progress. While a problem might slow you down temporarily, it can also be a real opportunity to change things for the better and ultimately can present you with a faster route to success. Problems often allow us to take different perspectives and to find the courage to innovate and try out new ideas. This new focus can help to re-energise and motivate the whole team.


What skills does the expert problem-solver have in his or her toolkit? They are likely to include analytical ability, initiative, logical reasoning, persistence and lateral or creative thinking. People with lateral thinking or who can ‘think outside the box’ are able and unafraid to go against the grain and look at problems from unconventional and unexpected perspectives. Encouraging a culture of creative thinking in your team can pay dividends when problems arise.


The ‘clash of ideas’ approach to problem solving was introduced in the 1970s. The concept is based around certain fundamental assumptions, the first being that we adopt an initial perspective of a problem based on our personal experiences and perceptions. When we try to persuade others to agree with us it strengthens our belief in our rationale, but when confronted with alternative viewpoints we begin to have doubts. Because we want to feel confident in our decisions, these doubts cause us to seek more information and so build a better case. In other words, when looking for the best solution to a problem it can help to seek opinions and perspectives that clash with our own.


It’s all well and good saying, “we should have known that would happen” after the event, but hindsight is far less useful than foresight. If you consider everything that could possibly go wrong at the planning stages, any problem solving later on tends to be quicker and simpler than if it hits you out of the blue.


When you’re under pressure and a problem raises its ugly head, it’s natural to want a quick fix so you can turn your attention back to business. Unfortunately, solutions that are rushed or ill thought-through often only scratch the surface or tackle the wrong issue altogether. Acting in haste can also prevent you from seeing any opportunities that may present themselves.


Effective problem solvers understand that any problem can and will be solved, just not necessarily in the time-frame you have set out. Persistence, patience and a genuine belief that a solution will be found, if not now then later, are essential.


A problem is like a weed; if you only address the visible parts it will keep on reappearing, time and again. Consider whether there may be deeper, underlying issues that need to be addressed for the problem to go away permanently. Root Cause Analysis is about identifying the origin of a problem by tracing back to the source and figuring out how the sequence of events resulted in the problem you have today. Only then can you fix things for good.


It’s difficult to get to grips with the real nature of a problem – its root causes, effects on the team and the potential impacts of any possible solutions – without good communication with everyone concerned. Great leaders will have laid the groundwork by creating a culture of transparency, honesty and open dialogue.

Good luck to our Lichfield City Academy students.