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It’s this simplicity of approach that might earn Klopp some critics. Here’s football writer Jonathan Wilson Here’s Virgil van Dijk after the Champions League final when asked about the impact of the manager. When Frank was forced to step down in 2001 the club struggled to find anyone who understood the gegenpress, and reluctantly asked Klopp to manage them until the end of the season. He was under clear instructions that he couldn’t do the role as a player manager so he retired from his playing.

We’re going to look at 4 secrets of Jurgen Klopp’s style of cultural management. While it can look like a culture built on love and adrenalin, it’s far more than that. The pillars of Liverpool’s success are 1) Using the Data, 2) Having a clear Plan, 3) Being Relentlessly Inclusive and 4) Creating Psychological safety. This psychological safety is reliant on honesty and candid discussion. One Dortmund player who Klopp was trying to woo reported that unlike other managers Klopp didn’t over promise. He didn’t make empty promises. Asking what a player expected from Dortmund the player said ‘to play as much as possible’, the manager replied ‘That’s not possible. I can’t promise you’ll play that often, but you’ll learn an incredible amount’. In a wonderful article in the New York Times this May, the writer Bruce Schoenfeld went behind the scenes meeting the Liverpool FC’s director of research, Ian Graham. There can’t be many premiership clubs who employ a doctor of theoretical physics to run their mathematical modelling but Liverpool are far more data driven than other clubs. Wolfgang Frank had an idea of football which was something like a revolution in Germany based on a style of pressing and defending. Damien Hughes works with teams across the premiership, international rugby and more. He explains what the absence of safety might look like.Said “There are coaches that are world class in terms of tactics, but on the human side of things aren’t that good,Pep Guardiola doesn’t talk with the players so you never know what is going on.” By Klopp extrovertly expressing interest in employees is he dragging up their engagement and connection to the cause? So now after 3 years at Liverpool Klopp has moved the club on to winning the Champions League and creating the foundations for more success to come. Let’s look now at the cultural secrets of Jurgen Klopp. Work culture Klopp has previously described this combination as heavy metal football. He was quoted as saying that the tika taka possession of football wasn’t for him. He said “It is not my sport. I don’t like winning with 80% [possession]. Sorry that is not enough for me. Fighting football, not serenity football, that is what I like.

Former Bayern player Medhi Benatia described Guardiola as distant from the players he manages. Alexander Hleb went one further, saying “I don’t think Guardiola was the best coach in the world; he trained the best team with the best players,” When Klopp was approached to be Liverpool manager he was on a year’s break. He famously won people over by contrasting his own style to the last decade’s bombast of Mourinho’s Special One as being far more humble. One of his classmates at school Harmut Rath reported that “Jurgen was a genius in telling jokes he made everyone in class laugh… the life and soul of the classroom”. Of course the allure of the story of football managers is that somehow here’s someone who’s able to get a 10 out of 10 result from a 6 out of 10 team.

One of the ways that this safety is reinforced is the way that mistakes are dealt with. Aside from this year’s Champions League final Liverpool of course were the defeated finalists in 2018 – a 3-1 loss to Madrid in Kiev. The story of that game was of the two goal deficit being down to two calamitous goal keeping errors by loris karius. The first where karius absent mindedly rolled the ball into the path of the right foot of Karim Benzema. Repeated viewing doesn’t overcome the sense of WTF. But here is Klopp minutes after that defeat unwilling to blame the keeper. He would say: ‘I don’t watch you shooting all week [in training] to try to be (Andres) Iniesta and thread a pass.’ Watching Klopp’s interactions with his team it would be easy to say the secret is his charisma. But it’s not that. As we’ve said before he values entertainment and is no fan of hierarchy. He’s certainly entertaining but he uses that skill to make people feel closer to him. And it certainly works. Here he’s giving a press conference after a win.

Discretionary effort is bang in the middle of the big debate about worker engagement. Are workers – or players – who feel more connected to the boss and the team’s purpose more likely to do more and work harder? At Mainz he built on Wolfgang Frank’s blueprint taking the team first to promotion and then scoring 11th place finishes. For his first season in the Bundesliga Mainz had the smallest budget and the smallest stadium in the league. But after two 11th slots he weathered relegation in his third season. He took it well, Klopp was quoted as saying “People and the club have reacted in a classy manner. Here people will never be idiots for losing a game”.To try to change this leaving mentality after one game Klopp took the team out to take a bow and salute the Kop at the end of a 2-2 draw with West Brom. It was intended as a thank you to those who stayed. Some saw it as revelling in taking a point from the Baggies. It was at Dortmund that Klopp started fine tuning his approach. He instructed his players to foster their geil – a word that approximately translates as being horny. Explaining this Klopp told a magazine:”The language I use is important, I need to get through to my players. But I don’t use geil to come across as young or cool. I simply don’t have a better word to describe something I happen to find exorbitantly beautiful”.

Goodhart’s law is an adage named after British economist Charles Goodhart. Goodhart’s law says that “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” A boss decides that when his team makes more calls they generate more revenue. So he sets the goal to double the number of calls. Sure enough the number of calls double but business falls, why? Because low quality easy calls are prioritised rather than the lengthier calls that end in business. Targeting engagement doesn’t always achieve the right result. A few of Liverpool’s longest-serving employees have commented that the culture of closeness and excellence fostered under Klopp in West Derby has never been stronger during the modern era. Of course after the drama Karius saw the data of Ian Graham suggest he should be displaced by a record signing of the Brazilian Allison and then sent on a 2 year loan to a team in Turkey.Bayern player Frank Ribery made what many regarded as a public dig at Guardiola after the Catalan left the club. Referring to the new manager Carlo Ancelotti he said the italina “knows how to treat his player” and well on to say Ancelotti was “QUOTE a gift for Bayern and with him I feel confident again,” An article by the journalist Melissa Reddy in October 2018 reports that the culture of closeness had never felt better. This brings us on to our final part of the Klopp formula. We’ve looked at Data, a clear plan, inclusivity and finally psychological safety. PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY Gallup makes it clear that they think employee engagement can be shifted and largely reflects the actions of managers. Yes, like Klopp. And there’s why a fascination with this data is never easy. We get lost in a mess of anecdote, exceptions and narrative fallacy.

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