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Jose Mourinho's work method: success at what price?


Nobody can question Jose Mourinho's curriculum vitae.  He has lifted numerous trophies with Oporto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid so to dispute his results would be downright ludicrous.  The question should be, however, at what price do these victories come?

There is no denying that he has achieved success with every team that he has managed. Yet if his performances are so outstanding why hasn't he stayed with the same team for a prolonged period of time?  Why has he only ever had two or three year stints at every club he has managed?  Could it be that his success comes at an extremely high expense?

Mourinho has a very clearly defined conduct pattern.  He brands himself as the best coach in football and as such is normally pursued by top European teams in desperate need of a championship.  Once signed and settled he demands absolute control over the institution´s sporting operations in order to apply his short-term, results-driven, winning-at-all-costs methodology.  A methodology that is accepted at first by players and board members alike given the dire situation in which he tends to arrive, despite including disrespect for opponents, media, football governing bodies, and manipulation of his own staff and players. 

And sooner or later he ends up winning. Some attribute his victories to his managerial talent while others tend to credit the top-class players he is given to mold his squads in the first place.  But either way, he achieves the objective which he was hired to obtain.  

But his success comes at a very high price for the club.  Mourinho is hard-nosed and negotiates with no one because he has previous accomplishments to back him up. Soon, however, his intransigent attitude and uncompromising approach begins to wear down those same players and board members he once had onside.  And at this stage he begins to publicly single out his critics as enemies. Those who question him are soon relegated to supporting roles regardless of their hierarchy or experience. The multiple crises tend to erupt and his teams automatically become less competitive. Conflicts arise and his dressing rooms soon become divided between his followers and his opposers. And all throughout he finds scapegoats to justify his lackluster results without ever admiting to part of the blame.

Finally, Mourinho reaches a stage where he has mined so many paths and burned so many bridges along the way that his own approach even begins to take a toll on himself.  It is at this moment where he normally finds a way to ¨eject¨ in search for another team to ¨rescue¨ and leaves his old club to pick up the pieces.
Is this considered success? If so, is it worth giving up on values, fair-play and respect from peers all for the sake of winning?  Or is it perhaps too high a price to pay?

Diego Valdés Rendón
Executive Editor, MotivaGoal
BA, MBA, Master in Sports Management 

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