Forcing Others to Do What They Don’t Want

Nov 14, 2008
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Everyone who watches any sport would have seen or heard stories about players who wanted to move to a new team/club. Players who didn’t want to be on their team anymore, and wanted to leave. This season, in soccer, it was Dimitar Berbatov.

Berbatov’s is actually a great example, because it really demonstrates my point. Before he was sold to Manchester United, he was a negative influence on the Tottenham team. He didn’t want to be there anymore, and it was clear for all to see. It was damaging for the atmosphere of the team, and ultimately very disruptive.

In the end, even though he was arguably one of their most gifted players, it was better to just let him go. Because forcing him to stay where he didn’t want to be would have been even worse – the discontent could spread more easily, it could cause problems with the atmosphere of the team.

And there’s a great lesson in there. More often than not, it’s not worth it to force people to do something they don’t want to do, even if you can. The effects of having discontented, unmotivated people could be worse than not having people at all. It’s better to have a small, focused, motivated group who love what they’re doing, as compared to a large, unmotivated group that doesn’t want to be there.

Forcing people to do what they don’t want to do doesn’t work anymore (if it ever did).

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Who are you asking?

Feb 17, 2008

There’s been a lot of controversy lately about the English Premier League and the proposed 39th round of matches. They’re thinking of having an extra round of matches played overseas, to further the global brand, and allow fans worldwide easier access to at least one of the games. It’s an interesting proposal, in my opinion, but it’s not the proposal itself that I want to focus on.

The most interesting thing so far has been who’s been talking about it. The policy makers are the ones making the most noise about it (the leaders of the different associations – FIFA, UEFA, the FA, etc). The managers have said a bit. But I haven’t read much about the players’ thoughts on it. And while the fans have naturally had their say on forums and the like, I haven’t seen anything about fans being approached by officials.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely find it ironic. The ones that are (arguably) the most affected (the players), and the ones to whom the proposal is geared (the fans) haven’t been approached. And the policy makers and the people at the top are arguing so much over it.

For once, I think David Beckham said it really well, that they should “ask the fans, ask the players and go from there”.

Asking your customers (the people most affected by the policy) would seem to me to be the most logical thing to do, in any business decision or proposal. What do you think?