Sitting at home watching Messi and Co. lift another European Cup, I began to reflect on yet another fairly comfortable victory for Barcelona.  What is it about FC Barcelona that makes them so formidable and what underpins their success? Are there any common lessons we can learn?

The success of the club can be attributed to their culture, which I think can be broken down under 4 key themes:

  • Great coaching

Coaching at Barcelona stems from experienced mentors and leaders who have a clear plan and can communicate this in a way that the players easily execute. Much of Barcelona success is attributed to great coaching over the years. From Johan Cruyff (1988 – 1996) in the early 90s, to Pep Guardiola’s tenure (2007 – 2012) and more recently (2014 – present) with Louis Enrique. All coaches had a clear idea of how their team should play. From my experience of working with both globally renowned recruitment firms and smaller regional companies, great leaders have to communicate their vision in a clear and engaging way.

  • Training and development academy

It is no coincidence that Barcelona’s rich vein of form can also be attributed to trust, comradery and telemetry between the squad players. Their famed training academy “La Masia” (The Farmhouse in English) has helped instil this. Continuous professional development is at the heart of companies serious about team performance and developing their staff as best in class. For me personally a feeling of fulfillment, empowerment and confidence enabled me to exceed expectations.

  • Highly adaptable and open to change

Big players move on, as do integral members of teams in large companies, but good coaches also recognise when a change is required and aren’t scared to make it. Barcelona have often not been afraid to replace “big” players such as Ibrahimovic who it seems believes he is often bigger than any team or club he represents. Preparing teams with new recruits, be it a company or a football club like Barcelona, is a delicate task and one that requires tremendous calculation and planning in order to avoid disruption, but maintain cohesion and continuity within the team. Having the courage to move players along and make way for more dominant figures is all part of the plan to achieve greater results and success. No one individual player is bigger than any club – the same applies in business.

  • Embrace internal values

In the past I have noticed certain values instilled amongst top performing staff, building blocks set out by an organisation for their employees to be guided and help them reach their goals. Similarly Barcelona use the values of Respect, Effort, Ambition, Teamwork and Humility as their key ingredients. Their energy and work effort to succeed has no limits. They somehow maintain a supreme level of drive, determination and resilience to achieve that is consistently maintained year in year out.

It is clear that several important factors are fundamental to Barcelona’s success. Companies too must ensure they follow basic principles or have building blocks in place to achieve their goals. Sadly though for most companies, they don’t have a genius like Messi.