Chelsea FC Women manager, Emma Hayes, provides an insight into developing a club culture, understanding individuals and why success means more than winning and losing.
For me, culture is something we try to embed collectively.
In all aspects of our work we have collective responsibility and accountability. Rather than blaming others or passing on responsibility, we want the coaching and playing staff to consult on a regular basis through checks and balances. As coaching staff it is important to ask the players “What do you think? How much more work do we need this week? Do we need more information tactically? Are we prepared at the level you need?”.
Therefore, if you do lose games you don’t have players saying: “I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what my role was.” The culture we are trying to develop includes a lot of reaffirming through communication and question and answer.
Culture is about developing the right habits.
Whether that is how we approach our work on the training pitch or the key training messages centred on our playing style. We tend to talk about developing a culture more than a philosophy.
The culture we have tried to create is based on striving for professionalism in every way, shape and form. The culture involves the players understanding the importance of adopting the right emotional daily approach. We want an understanding that playing football is a profession with certain professional expectations.
We are blessed in our profession. Many people are getting up at six in the morning and not getting home until 8pm. It is important for the players to understand that they come into work and train well, eat well and then there might be analysis and additional work. Rather than viewing it as something that is a lot of effort, they must realise we are in a privileged position.
Embedding ideas is all about getting the structure right with your staff.
It is crucial. You have to build relationships with all of your staff, and that is developed over countless hours of talking about how you want to develop your club or your team. Once that trust, understanding and relationship is clear, only then can you really start to articulate it clearly with your players. But it takes time.
I always say to my staff that one thing that is important is that we stand side by side, nothing gets between us and to always remember that we are working for the bigger picture and that is bigger than ourselves.