Building A Strong Business Culture, Staring Pep PT 1 – Réncái Group


Can we adapt and develop the approach that sports teams take to building high performing teams and apply this to our own organisations?

I’ve just returned from a week away in Malta which provided me the opportunity to kick off my new year’s  resolution – to absorb more content, particularly from books.

As I browsed through the different options within the airport, I narrowed it down to two. The Wolf of Wall Street’s Sales Tips, or The Barcelona Way which was put together by a chap called Damian Hughes. The Barcelona Way goes behind the scenes at the most successful football team in the world, if not greatest sporting organisation to ever exist. It particularly focuses on the culture that was formed by the likes of Johan Cruyff and then continued by his apprentice, Pep Guardiola.

In the days that followed I began to read and read and read… its over 300 pages long! None the less, it had me hooked. It combined my two passions in life – business and football.

What became really interesting was the direct link that could be made to culture in business and culture in sport.

A lot of us talk about culture, but do we really know what it means? As its not tangible, culture can often be hard to describe and also difficult to identity when you have a low performing or negative one.

Over the coming weeks I will be putting together a short series of blogs that break The Barcelona Way down and will hopefully give you some hands on, practical advice that you can take away and implement into your business.

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My Top 3 Tips From The Book…

#1 Strategy and direction is key

This point will certainly not come as a surprise, yet it still amazes me how many businesses have a lack of strategy.

Barcelona Were More Than Just A Club – relating to the ongoing political distress with Catalonia. However this went on to form the clubs WHY/Purpose.

Johan and Pep were both focused on the vision and values of Barcelona – which they influenced. Their list of behaviours (do’s and don’ts) didn’t go down too well with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Do you have a purpose? When was the last time you reviewed your vision? What are your core values? Most of us will have touched on all of the above areas however, do they influence the behaviour of those within your team? How do you measure the impact?


#2 The role of leadership

Think of your previous managers. What 3 traits did your favourite manager have and what 3 traits did your worst manager have? In my personal opinion all people managers should provide clarity and direction, recognise their team members and also lead by example.

Within The Barcelona Way we learn more about Pep Guardiola beyond the cameras. Pep is known for his communication, passion and approach to people development. The book taught me that leaders are there to facilitate, whilst also build and develop the strategy. Partnering with team members to create an culture that engages and offers opportunities for employees is key.


#3 Models and types of culture

In the blogs that follow as part of this series, it will become clear what is meant by this however, the book identifies 4 different types of culture that exist…

Star Model – this is approach to building a culture that has the best talent in the market. Those that studied at the best schools, universities and typically come from middle-higher class areas.

Commitment – this refers to the model used by Barcelona. Its guided by daily behaviours and ensures that everyone is equal, it also typically results in high performers being retained on a long term basis.

Engineering – a model familiar in manufacturing organisations or German markets. This type of culture is heavily led by processes and systems, that aim to automate and reduce errors.

Bureaucratic – the book uses an example of Jose Mourinho and it probably represents most leaders over the last 50 years. This is more of a MANAGER than a LEADER.

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What to expect within this series of blogs?

Over the coming weeks I plan to go into more detail around my findings from the book. We will explore the four different types of culture that are discussed above, along with understanding how you can begin to develop your own Commitment culture.

I’ll also discuss the difference between a winning model and business model. Define the 6 different types of purpose, how to form a brand identity, the 5 minute meeting rule and also look at story telling.

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Harry Wright

Rencai Group

Employee Engagement Consultant


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