Sir Alex Ferguson gave tech entrepreneurs in London an insight into what it takes to be a good leader today.
Speaking today at TechCrunch Disrupt, the former Manchester United football manager told Sequoia chair Sir Michael Moritz and an audience of startup founders that good leaders should possess a number traits if they are going to succeed.
“It’s really important to be consistent, be who you are, don’t change,” he said at the Olympic Park. “People don’t respond to change. Consistency is very important.”
When asked which players make good leaders, Ferguson praised former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, as well as the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt.
“Gary is the best example,” said Ferguson. “His brother Phil was a far more talented footballer but we took Gary because he was more determined and he had something in him. He worked and practiced and had an incredible determination.”
Ferguson pointed out how Gary gets up at 5am and he’s “always searching for something,” while Giggs is highly intelligent and Scholes is very analytical.
Moritz, whose venture capital firm profited by backing the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook in their early days, also quizzed Ferguson on Chelsea manager José Mourinho’s struggling form in the English Premier League.
Ferguson said: “I’ve been watching Jose recently. Spoken to him a couple of times. It’s the first time he’s been confronted by non-success. It’s a challenge for him.”
“I think all good leaders will eventually find a solution and things will go back to normal. I know the guy, I can’t see it lasting long.”
On retaining talent — an issue that many tech companies struggle with — Ferguson acknowledged that talented individuals will often be poached by bigger outfits, pointing to the likes of Jamie Vardy at Leicester City who will likely be in demand at the end of the season.
Entrepreneurs across the UK and Europe attend the TechCrunch Disrupt in London every year in a bid to hear from successful startup founders, find investors, and seek new customers.
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