Five Lessons Startups Can Learn From Leicester City’s Big Win

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Five Lessons Startups Can Learn From Leicester City’s Big Win

This seems like a Walt Disney movie script. If you don’t follow football there are still slight chances you might have read it on newspaper, television or your twitter feed . If you follow English Premier League you know how incredible this is.

For starters, the Leicester City team was valued at $78 million. This is almost equivalent to what big teams like Manchester United or Arsenal pay to their individual players. Last season, the team was almost relegated and this year they were the favorites for relegation.  So what can startups learn from this?

Here are five things that Leicester City did to win that your startup should take note of:

Disrupt or somebody else will

Since its inception twenty years ago, only five teams – Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea have won the coveted title. In industry parlance,  Leicester City just disrupted the league. If you fail to innovate, others will steal your position. The past decade has been an example of this. Amazon for retail, Uber with taxis, Cable television with Netflix or Airbnb with hotels. Status quo doesn’t work and incumbency isn’t a secure idea either.

Hire good talent and use funds wisely

Leicester City was selective. They didn’t run after star players. They bought talented undervalued players and fitted them together as a team. As Ed Catmull, President of Pixar writes in his book Creativity Inc, “If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”  So hire the right people, give them freedom, empower them to grow and let them be brilliant.

Create a culture of openness

Candor and authenticity don’t sound like business goals but these values make businesses successful. Leicester City did not go into the league thinking they were Manchester United. They went into the league as themselves with goal of staying in the game as long as possible. Just accepting the reality of their size, they worked on pure survival. Soon, their survival instinct turned into winning streak.

Believe in yourself

At the beginning of the season, the bookmakers gave odds of 5,000 to 1 on a Leicester winning the title. To add some perspective, the odds of Kim Kardashian winning the US Presidential elections were 2,000 to 1.  Motivated by the fear of being relegated, Leicester City just did one thing – kept winning. Now, all these players will now shine individually and demand better rewards. This is almost like a startup without the desired funding. But if you keep doing what you are supposed to be doing with perseverance and passion, things will turn around when you least expect it.

Enjoy the successes and have fun

The 64-year-old manager Claudio Ranieri is known for his infectious enthusiasm and wonderful sense of humor. The players loved him and that in turn led them to respect him. In several press conferences, Ranieri stressed on how it was important to take breaks in between games. The same goes for startups. If hard work leads to a fabulous product, then having fun means productive teams.

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