It’s All About Mathematics

It’s All About Mathematics

In business we all have people we admire for a range of different reasons. For some it is a charismatic boss. For others it is the likes of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. Personally, I like to look beyond business and find inspiration and learning from those who approach challenges and solve them in an inspirational and unique way.

For me, one such person is the enigmatic football manager Jose Mourinho. Love him or loathe him there is no doubt that this strategic maestro, who polarises opinion with every word he speaks, has an understanding and clarity of resolve that brings bountiful success for the clubs he manages.

Following Chelsea’s 1-0 victory against Manchester United in the run in to the end of the 2014/5 English Premier League season a simple sentence typified a visionary at work. Whilst all round him are getting carried away in the drama and atmosphere of a stadium packed with 41,000 passionate fans, Mourinho quietly reminds an interviewer that aside from the details of who is marking who, whether a foul was a foul, and the opinions of the opposition manager, that what really counts is simple mathematics.

This moment of clarity, shared with a team who are required to listen to every word that describes his formulaic blueprint for success, highlights just how simple a challenge can be perceived and then with that simplicity comes the specific focus for achieving the goal.

“We have six games and we need eight points”. Mourinho has no apparent interest in how aesthetic his team’s performances will be in these six games. It’s simply mathematics. If he can stifle the competition, allow them possession but then strike back when an error occurs and to use a football adage ‘catch them on the break”, then it’s is statistically likely that he will achieve the goal and Chelsea will be English champions.

In marketing of course it also all about the mathematics. Too often we are swept along in the media frenzy of social networking, the colour of our new brochure, the words in the latest email. To Jose Mourinho these would of course be fundamentally important tactics, woven together to give a seamless, integrated and unbreakable set of tools to take into battle.

But higher than these, very much higher, and so often forgotten in the frenetic modern world we live in, are the mathematics. Sales, revenue, market share, profit. These are the mathematics that we should be living and breathing. Our daily mantra.

If we do this and remember that everything else is just tactics, then perhaps in our own worlds we also will become champions.