The Poison Chalice 4/365


Hi, I am Brian and I am a fan of Manchester United Football Club. Often soccer is my release from the education world, but in this case, the correlation was all too clear.

This year my favorite club was tasked with replacing its Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. The man was beyond a legend, more like a myth and an idol in one. Sit Alex retired, change was coming.

Within 10 months the club has gone from an icon of quality and class (rivals will argue, but despite Fergie working the FA they know its true), to a joke. The board, the manager, and everyone in the organization have lost their stigma. The manager was fired today, yesterday it was leaked to the media, further perpetuating the downward spiral in how MUFC does business.

I see the correlation because I have spent the last 2 years studying how to implement effective change, how to integrate into an organization, and how to build successful culture. In the past year, United have failed on every front. While blame falls on the manager, it also falls with the top of the organization.

The one fan quote I found most poignant was, “The biggest mistake Moyes made as Man United manager was accepting the position, it was always a poison chalice.” Hew as never going to succeed, it was the right job, but the wrong situation. As I seek a start in leadership myself, I must be wary of the poison chalice and look for an opportunity to come into a position and be successful!


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