Principles versus Expediency

9th April 2019

No-one challenges the success of Sir Alex Ferguson.  The manager of Manchester United from 1985-2013, he won 38 trophies.  So acclaimed is he that Sir Alex has lectured at one of the world’s top business schools, Harvard.

In his book “Leading” he talks about the importance of “principles” being more important than “expediency” when making decisions.

When he refers to “principles” he is not talking about “morals”.  He is talking about behaving in a consistent manner.

He cites a time in 1995 when he suspended a top player and it cost him ten premiership points.  He recalled how this decision cost him the title.  However, by suspending the player, he maintained the message he wished to inculcate into the club.  Had he acted expediently, the famous discipline would never have prevailed at the club, and many of those 38 trophies may never have been won.

The lesson is it is important to set and define your governing principles of how to lead and manage; and then stick to these principles rather than swerving around them when the facts become inconvenient.

Abraham Goldberg

Suresh Vagjiani
Suresh Vagjiani
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