Galatasaray and Education of a Nation

“Winning is not everything, but the will to win is everthing.”
Vince Lombardi

Education of a nation is not conducted class-rooms, but through sensational events that attract public attention. A Turkish football team’s first time European championship is creating a widespread excitement and happiness. It is very important to examine the management philosophy underlying this success and to take a lesson from it, in order to reach similar achievements in other fields and to make them lasting.

First and foremost, we have to understand that success, especially the sustainable one, cannot be reached by chance. Besides all the national cups it has won, Galatasaray’s UEFA Championship is a result of a management philosophy adopted for several years. This understanding of management is based on mutual trust. The mutual trust that the Board, the coach, the team members, and professional have for each other.

Recently, Faruk Süren, Chairman of GS Board, adamantly objected to the criticisms that Fatih Terim has recently become too high-profile. He defines the duty of the Board as chosing the manager most appropriate for the institutional goals and monitoring the results. He emphasizes that Board’s duty is to support to the managing director rather than getting jeaolous of him and interfering with his management. This definition does not only emphasize the need of trust in people, but also the need of trust in organizational structure. “Corporate governance”, which has began to be a popular concept in business management, is basically defined as having a corporate structure that wins the trust of all stakeholders, rather than basing this trust to the qualities of the individuals. In that sense, the relationship between the shareholders, Board of Directors, and top management requires independence and transparency as well as clear control principles. This is the kind of modern management GS is putting into practice, ensuring continuity and unity of understanding.

Fatih Terim is practising some important principles of Total Quality Management in GS: he isn’t satisfied with the achievements and is after continious improvement; by forming a strong team with reserve players he displays the ability of managing resources in such a way as to be consistent with his targets; he benchmarks his team’s performance against those reaching international success by watching closely every aspect of their management structures; he is building up original strategies against GS’ rivals by monitoring their performance in the long term; he is interested in his players and all other employees not only in terms of their football performance but also in terms of the various aspects of their lives, thus have specific focus on their satisfaction; he displays a good example of a successful leader, making whole GS society work together in a team spririt, committed to a common goal.

Success can be only be achieved if there is a sound infrastructure and a well-structured preparation period. GS prepares itself for succes using scientic methods in the selection of players, in the training, and even in the briefings given after the match. In setting the objectives and in benchmarking global, not local, criteria are used. Perhaps most important of all, knowledge is combined with faith. GS team puts its heart as well as mind and skills to the game.

If we are not content with merely rejoicing over the success of GS, and instead, make every effort to promote the management understanding of GS throughout all organisations Turkey, including private and public sector enterprises and non-governmental organisations, we may create the opportunity of rejoicing many more international successes.

Dr. Argüden

May 23, 2000
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