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Transitions are hard

Jose Mourinho has been receiving a lot of flak in the recent weeks for the poor start that his Manchester United have had to the season. While some pundits have come out strongly criticizing his tactics and approach by pointing out that none of the big clubs today play the way he likes to and how his tactics are relics of what was successful a decade ago, but not today, some others like Gary Neville have come out in support of him saying that what's wrong is the structure of the club and that he is doing as best as he can with all the constraints and "rot" that is in the club management structure.

And a lot of the talk has been around how he could be sacked if the results and performances continue the way they have started the season.

This is a scenario that is all too common nowadays - at various football clubs as well as at several companies, where CEOs and senior executives churn under similar conditions.

While it is tempting to imagine that a new person can be brought in (to replace Mourinho in this example) who can turn things around and get the team winning titles again in a matter of 12-24 months, it isn't as straight-forward as that.

Change and transition is hard. Bot for teams and organizations, as well as for us as individuals.

It is important to look at the transition period and outline a clear path and timeline to getting to where we want to be. As the saying goes, "What got you here will not get you to the next level."

At every stage where we face the opportunity to level up, we have to re-invent things, re-discover winning strategies and transition from the way we are used to doing things to a different way that reflects the new approach and strategy which in turn reflects the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The transition period is the hardest period, because results during this period will be less than what we are accustomed to and what we would like them to be. The transition period is when results will go down before they go up again to reach new highs.

What makes the transition period hard is that we can see that the results are going down, but we don't have a certainty that they will go back up to new highs. If the new approach and strategy fails, then they will not. But, we might just tip the scales in favour of such a scenario by rocking the boat during the transition by panicking about the current state of the results.

We need to give a gestation period for transitions to work during which we should simply not care about the results. We should understand that they are not going to be good, and not panic when that reality begins to play out. We need to hold out strong and see through the transition period and then come out reaching new highs.

And at the end of the transition period, if we are still not making our way to new highs, then and only then is it time to abandon ship and find a new approach. Doing it too early might simply put us in the same loop of successive abandoning of ships without ever seeing new highs.

I respect Mourinho as a manager and for everything he has done at Chelsea, and hope that he gets the time to usher in the transition at Manchester United and eventually take them to new highs.

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