Getting the Kick out of Mission and Values: ¡Olé Olé Olé, Barça!

How convenient that we have popular sports in the public eye, where – by aid of radio, HDTV, sports reporters and stadium seats – we witness organizational effectiveness, with scrutiny and score-board accountability.

Organizational effectiveness is about being laser-like: aligned, focused, purposeful, targeted, efficient, accountable.  But, today many organizations are more like incandescent light bulbs: indefinite scope, limited vision, shadowy… and, naively presumptuous, until a laser light appears.

Take Futbol Club Barcelona (founded in 1899; popularly called “Barça”), arguably “the best soccer team the world has ever seen.” Ranked number two in Deloitte’s league of the world’s highest-grossing football clubs, it has doubled its revenues over the past four years.

In “The Catalan Kings: The management secrets of Barcelona Football Club” (The Economist, May 19th 2011), you may be pleasantly surprised to learn Barça’s winning strategies:

(1) In a sports world of prima donnas, Barça believes in collaborative teamwork.

(2) Instead of the practice of multinational player rosters, Barça focuses on growing its own talent.

(3) In a world that struggles to rationalize the arrogant pseudo-leadership of TARP-supplemented multi-millionaires, as The Economist points out: “Barça has used the idea that it is ‘more than a club’ to cultivate a two-way relationship with its fans. After a recent win more than a million people turned out to cheer.”

(4) In a time of celebrities, sociopathic leaders and big bucks [euros!], Barça management teaches players the importance of core social values.

Organizational effectiveness involves focusing on the play in every moment – of getting to insight – and acting brilliantly to fulfill the mission successfully.  Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Built to Last and How the Mighty Fall, argues that enduring corporate success depends on core values playing a practical role in the corporate conversation every day.

Last week, I wrote about a remarkable person who – with courage, love and advice – transformed her life from a time of personal darkness, to light the way for women with breast cancer. Tamela Rich’s strategy is about Leaning into Life doubtlessly.

This week, I celebrate the doubtlessness with which the FC Barcelona organization focuses on mission and values, kicking many lesser leadership models in the grass.

Do you lead an organization in a way that promotes fearlessness, mutual respect and mission focus, disproportionately?  What are your leadership strategies for growing concerns?