Posted: 20 / 06 / 2022

For high-performing cultures, you don’t need to look much further than Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Everyone within that organisation is geared towards bringing success to that football club, from the club owners to the coaches to the kitchen staff.

The Man City manager doesn’t need to think about what his players are eating, how they are sleeping or if they’ll have the best equipment – it all happens by default.

A direct comparison can be made to the red side of Manchester, where the high-performing culture has been less evident in the decade since Sir Alex Fergusen retired. United have struggled in many areas of the organisation, and there is an apparent lack of synergy between owners, manager, players, fans and wider staff. Despite a whole host of talent as individuals, the culture does not cultivate that into high performance.

Someone who knows all about what it takes to create a winning culture
is Tracey Neville. The former England netball international and Commonwealth Games gold medalist explained how she built an environment geared towards high performance in series ten, episode three of the Taking Care of Business podcast.

Tracey explained,


“It was hard for me as a leader because you felt that you were constantly watching your back. You felt there was no trust there, and you couldn’t be honest. In those environments, when you’re under pressure, I need to be able to turn around and say, ‘just get me a bottle of water.’ and that person not be offended.”



As Manchester Thunder Head Coach, Neville won the Netball Superleague twice and, when in charge of England, won Commonwealth gold and a bronze medal in World Cups twice. Turning her initial experiences within the sport into a culture that operated on success by default, she was able to generate the results they achieved.

The recent improvements in national tournaments by England football national teams, including the UEFA European Championship trophy for the women’s team, have illustrated the difference a high-performance culture yields. Whereas previous teams had a dysfunctional management structure and interference from the media, both organisations have been able to get a handle on it. Both have developed a more positive mindset and channel their focus–we are witnessing the benefits and hopefully resulting in a trophy double in the Qatar World Cup.


Listen to the episode…