Football video shows value on playing people in their best positions

26 September 2023 3 min. read
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In the game of football, as in business, putting the right players in the right positions is critical for success. A new short film by ZENITHR – the exclusive distributor of Thomas solutions in the Middle East – has used this parallel to explain the importance of getting staffing right the first time, as a team suffers at the hands of a coach well out of his depth.

Over the years, Spanish football coach Pep Guardiola has masterfully developed players by calling on them to adapt to new positions. Lionel Messi first adopted the ‘false-nine’ position under Guardiola during his time at Barcelona, while Javier Mascherano was moved from midfield to centre-back – a move that gave his career new life.

Versatile attacker David Alaba similarly shifted to centre-back during Guardiola’s spell with Bayern Munich, finally finding his best position in the most unlikely of places. Meanwhile, in his latest Champions League winning season with Manchester City, Guardiola demanded John Stones evolve from a traditional centre-back into a Beckenbauer-style sweeper, seamlessly moving the ball into midfield.

Football video shows value on playing people in their best positions

Despite a wave of managers hoping to emulate his out-of-the-box thinking, however, Guardiola remains the exception, not the rule. More often than not, keeping things simple and playing stars in the position they know best is the recipe for success – in the changing room or the boardroom.

Seeking to illustrate this point, a new video has flagged up the dangers of experimental coaching, in the wrong hands.

The minute-long short film follows a struggling football team, which has just appointed a new manager to push them up the table. Unfortunately, the oafish coach makes a number of outlandish calls that plainly aren’t going to lead to success – including stripping the club’s goalkeeper of his gloves and telling him to play as a striker – while also appearing not to have bothered learning anyone’s names.

The coach’s bemused number-two, and his frustrated assistant, both attempt to warn him of this folly. But they are each dismissed by a bullish assertion that “I am the manager, I make the decisions.” By half-time, the opposition is running up a cricket score, while the coach has resorted to blaming the state of the pitch and a refereeing conspiracy for his own incompetence.

At this point, the psychometric assessments of Thomas (which are distributed exclusively by ZENITHR in the Middle East) interject. Every year, millions of professionals use Thomas’ solutions for onboarding and career development, while recruiters worldwide use the assessment to separate the wheat from the chaff in their candidate pipeline.

The video suggests that a company can not only make the obvious right calls when it comes to deploying ‘star players’ in their best positions within a firm but also avoid hiring a tactless leader for a senior role in the first place. By way of a little movie magic, the assistant manager is suddenly promoted to the head coach role, casting away his predecessor’s necklace and plastic whistle in distaste, before getting on with sorting out the team’s performance.

Since the film’s launch, it has accrued traffic putting it well on the way to viral status. The video has received more than 100,000 engagements across social media.

ZENITHR is a strategic partner of PROCAPITA, a leading human capital consulting firm.