- The career of 26-year-old Paul Pogba presents a bouquet of timeless lessons for business owners.
- Pogba’s story reminds us that consistency in value creation is the soul of every business.
- The strength of a business lies in its ability to deliver a specific, unique consumer experience every time across all its touch-points.
Let me offer a quick caveat. What you are about to read is not so much about football. It’s a story about the rise and fall of a mist; of why our stories are never a linear plot and that success can be failure encased in a shiny wrap.
Let me explain.
You may not find any sense sitting in front of the TV watching football or popping into a stadium to cheer a local team on a weekend. You could find it a waste of your time debating on Twitter whether Unai Emery is the worst thing to happen to Arsenal. But if you believe in dreams and the latent power of the human spirit, the career of 26-year-old Paul Pogba presents a bouquet of timeless lessons for business owners.
Just over eight or so years ago, the Frenchman was deemed surplus to requirement at Old Trafford under the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson. Perhaps, the scot just couldn’t figure out why the chap should be selected way ahead of the many midfielders that dotted the club at the time. Remember the likes of J.S. Park, Anderson, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, Paul Scholes and the then phenomenal Macheda?
No doubt, for a manager of Fergie’s pedigree, you needed to be an Ohan Cruyff to point fingers at his selection style. Or, in Jose Mourinho’s fashion, you will have to be as successful as Ferguson first before mustering the moral authority to question his selection.
Perhaps, there were personal issues in the dressing room – even though Pogba himself dismissed that in one of his press conferences prior to his return to Old Trafford in 2016. Perhaps, the 20-time EPL title winning manager just couldn’t trust the ability of the youngster.
And to confirm that distrust, Ferguson opted to use then right-back Rafael Da Silva in a midfield role when the Red Devils faced Blackburn in December 2011, leaving Pogba to bite his lips on the bench.
That was the height – at least – for anyone who has the slightest grasp of a football team formation. And the situation got no better.
To end a long story, in 2012, the youngster was shipped out to Serie A side Juventus, and there and then, a new story was afoot. But it was not a fairytale either, considering that his first season with the Italian giants saw him grab 37 appearances with just five goals to show for it. And the story went on.
Then, enter 2016. The eyes of United’s scouts wandered all the way down to Turin in Italy, and Pogba was the cynosure of their eyes. For a club in need of reinforcement in the middle of the pack, Pogba was expected to rekindle the memories of a Paul Scholes spraying pinging passes or a Roy Keane dictating the tempo of the game. By the time the young Frenchman featured in the first two games for the Red Devils, he had offered glimpses of his energy, presence and composure in United’s midfield – even though this was later to be followed by a run of drab spells.
For now, Pogba is far from being the smash hit most people anticipated when he left Turin for England in 2016. Often a subject of attack in the court of public opinion, from his crazy hairstyles to his inconsistencies on the pitch, there are interesting lessons to be gleaned from his narrative.
First, Pogba’s story reminds us that consistency in value creation is the soul of every business. Otherwise, you are most unlikely to command a seat at the table. As someone succinctly puts it, you are only as good as your last performance – good or bad.
Secondly, the strength of a business lies in its ability to deliver a specific, unique consumer experience every time across all its touch-points. Every unit, channel or product group within the organisation must speak the same language – consistency in delivering a memorable experience for the customer. Inconsistent service experience hampers customer retention and loyalty.
Interestingly, to achieve these, you need to build systems that empower your staff and operating dynamics to create this experience with consistency. Not only will this boost your profitability in the long run, it promotes efficiency within the organisation, reduces waste and allows for manpower optimization.
Olakunle Lawore is the Principal Consultant at OL Consulting based in Lagos. He can be reached on Twitter via @OlakunleLawore.
PS: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the organisation.