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Was Jurgen Klopp Talking About Your Business?


Friday 9 October 2015 saw the unveiling of Jurgen Klopp as the new manager for Liverpool Football Club. For those that watched the interview, it exuded confidence (time to “change from doubters to believers”), modesty (“I am a totally normal guy, I am the normal one maybe”) and some home British truths (“..people told me so much about the British press and it’s up to you to show me they’re all liars!”).

Stepping away from the football side, a number of his quotes are applicable in the business world. Here we (sometimes light-heartedly) explore the business context of his (now) infamous quotes:


“It’s not allowed to only think about offensive things [sic]. I know up until now we don’t have enough goals. But we have to work on the other side too and have stability” 


“Winning is important but so is how you win and how you play the game.” 


“In this moment we are not the best in the world, but who cares? We want to be the best team in the world in the future.” 

Directors of businesses and charities will have formulated a strategy for survival, growth and potentially even for exit. But to get to the strategy they will have reviewed their core values, vision, strengths, weaknesses, products, services, the market place, competition, existing customer portfolios, legal, social, technological, political and environmental influences.

They will have also identified opportunities and in doing so conducted analysis of customers’ expectations, suppliers’ capabilities, strategic partners, the skills, attributes and aspirations of the individuals within the business – including themselves and the management team.


“It is better to have 11 players do the same thing wrong than everybody doing what they want.”.


“My experience is listen, see, feel – and then think about what you change” 

Having formalised a strategy it will need to be communicated and executed by the people within the business. Some key clients, suppliers and stakeholders will need to understand and buy-in to the strategy. 

For some businesses the market place, critics and analysts also need to be informed. How the communication happens and how feedback is captured is an important aspect of building trust and confidence in the strategy and the business leader.  

Listening to stakeholders – customers, employees, market place, advisors – is a key attribute to developing the culture of the business also in fine-tuning the strategy. 


“I am not a genius. I don’t know more than the rest of the world. I need other people to get perfect information.”


“The most important moment for development and we have to develop of course, not because of the situation now but because of the situation in the last year.” 

The Directors will need to ensure that the right people are available to deliver and monitor the strategy. That may mean individuals acquiring new skills to fulfill different roles, or training to bolster their current capabilities. There may be a need to look to the skills market place and employ seasoned talent as well as plan for the future by bringing in young blood.

Coaching and training will be a key enabler to business growth, but it will also develop a culture aware of the business vision and sustain motivation. 

Accepting that management cannot do it all, they will develop a culture of delegation and feedback to help shape decision making fo the short, medium and long term. 


“I want to build a great relationship with these fans and give them memories to cherish”

Building and maintaining good customer relations is fundamental to the business.

Yes good products and services will help, but customer interaction will be transactional unless the business culture is to nurture the customer and fulfill their expectancies.

Great businesses recognise that the customers are engaging a journey with the business. A good experience will be remembered and talked about to potential customers – just as a bad experience would be too.


“Stop thinking about money”


“Now is not the time to change many things. We only have too turn the screws a little bit”.

Money is important, but as any Director will tell you, it is not the only solution to all problems. Quality products and services can be delivered through quality internal processes.

Robust but simple, efficient processes supported by use of the right tools (software, machines, measures) need to be developed or procured and deployed. These will be end to end, touching business functions including management, HR, finance, marketing, sales, operations, IT, customer service, supply chain management and distribution to name a few.

Continuously monitoring performance of the business, its functions and people against the strategy and being prepared to fine tune is essential. Ignoring to review progress through key indicators can be damaging to the business.

So whilst Mr Klopp’s goal (no pun intended) is to win the title, how he takes the team and the organisation to that title is not dissimilar to how businesses function on a daily basis. He may just well have been talking about your business as well as Liverpool FC.