What can Jose Mourinho teach us about business

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. (Soccer is called football in some countries.) You probably knew that already. But can you name the most successful soccer/football club of the 20th century? The answer is: Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (Royal Madrid Football Club), commonly known as Real Madrid (and in Spain’s soccer/football circles simply as el Madrid or el Real). Real Madrid was voted by FIFA (the official site of the international governing body of football with news, national associations, competitions, results, etc.) as the most successful club of the 20th century. I didn’t want to list all of their records here for two reasons: 1. This post is really not about Real Madrid (you can visit their website for details); 2. It’s a long list :-).

Now, let me begin the first part of what I hope will eventually become a short story about José Mário dos Santos Félix Mourinho. Who is Jose Mourinho, or as he is in soccer/football circles known simply as Mourinho, and why am I writing about him? Let me first answer the second question: The driving force of sneezr.ca is “The Law of Remarkability,” which states that remarkable people and/or remarkable things get remarked about. What’s remarkable about Mourinho? How much time do you have? Not much? OK, then for now here is just this:

1. As of early June 2010, Mourinho is the head coach of the most remarkable soccer/football organization in the world – Real Madrid Club de Fútbo; 2. On May 22 2010, as the head coach of Inter Milan, Mourinho won the most important soccer trophy in Europe – the Champions League and became the third coach in history of the sport to win the title with two different clubs (in 2004 he won it with Portugal’s FC Porto); 3. Mourinho is on top of the world – for the last several years he has been the best known and most talked about soccer coach in the world (go ahead if you have to, google him); 4. Mouringo comes from humble beginnings and is a self-made man.

Let me now go back to the first question in the second paragraph of this post: Who is Jose Mourinho? The short answer to that question is: I don’t know. Sure, I googled him and I can tell you that was born in 1963 in Setúbal, Portugal; that his father played football professionally for Belenenses and Vitória de Setúbal; that Mourinho wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father by becoming a footballer but soon found that he would not excel as a professional, etc.; that in spite of his shortcomings, he wanted to have a career in the game of soccer and therefore he chose to pursue the dream of becoming a professional soccer coach instead.

I can also tell you that Mourinho got his first professional management and his first coaching job in the game of soccer in his hometown, where he became youth team coach at Vitória de Setúbal in the early 1990s. But he wanted more; he yearned for greater challenges (as the best ones often do). Then suddenly in 1992 an opportunity arose to work as a translator for a top foreign coach in Portugal, Bobby Robson, who had been appointed as the new manager of one of the biggest soccer clubs in Portugal Sporting Clube de Portugal. Robson required a local coach with a good command of English to work as his interpreter; Mourinho applied for the position and got the job.

This is where the story gets interesting: While the move was a step away from management, the partnership, it can be argued, in a way admitted Mourinho to the highest echelon of soccer pros in Europe. In my opinion this was perhaps the most important break for Mourinho and his subsequent career in the game of soccer. For now, my story about Mourinho stops right here. I may or may not continue writing about him. (Ideally I’d like to, but I’d first need to invest a lot more time into researching Mourinho’s professional background.) So what can Jose Mourinho teach us about business? Let me leave you with this:

Lesson #1: In life and in business you often don’t need more genius. You need less resistance. (Seth Godin writes about this topic in detail in his new book the “Linchpin” – I highly recommend it.)

Lesson #2: Become competent. Know your stuff. If you can not become an expert, find a way to team up with one.

Lesson #3: Ask yourselfdo I need more resources or do I need to be more resourceful?