ment board resigned, and general elections were held. The
winners were a coalition of 15
young executives who planned
to bring their business knowledge to soccer. They faced
deep skepticism. One of the
newcomers, Ferran Soriano,
says an outgoing executive
warned him, “Don’t come here
expecting to introduce great
management techniques. All
that matters here is whether or
not the ball goes into the net.
It’s all down to luck.”
Nevertheless, the new execu-
tive board plunged right in and
made a quick assessment of the
club’s change readiness. A revo-
lution was necessary, says Marc Ingla, an FC Barcelona
vice president from 2003 through 2008 and one of the
key executives of the transformation program. “The club
needed a big change.”
FC Barcelona’s new roadmap and vision were com-
municated in a simple illustration called the Virtuous
Circle. The circle’s perimeter consists of factors that feed
into each other: More revenues lead to better players,
which in turn lead to better sports results, which lead
to higher brand awareness, which leads to social media
growth, which brings the circle back to more revenues.
In the center of the circle is the organization’s vision
statement, “More Than a Club,” which encompasses the
team’s key historical values: democracy, fair play, humility and team orientation above individual success.
Next it was time to put the vision into action. “We
organized the club’s activity by projects,” Mr. Ingla
says. “Status, hierarchy or egos were all subordinated
to the implementation of the approximately 50 projects that deployed the strategy we had defined through
the Virtuous Circle.”
TEAM—AND PROJECT—COME FIRST
The team appointed a new head coach for the 2003-
04 season and signed superstar player Ronaldinho.
Underperforming players were gradually phased out.
VOICES In the Trenches
A professional soccer team demonstrates
how to successfully manage change.
By Jordi Teixidó, PMP
FC BARCELONA, Spain’s 116-year-old soccer team,
is among the world’s top sports brands and one of
the most successful clubs in the country’s history.
But in 2003, the organization was in trouble, from
both a business and sports perspective: FC Barcelona hadn’t won any championships in four seasons
and had an operating loss of €73 million as well
as poor credit. How the club turned its situation
around offers a change management lesson for organizations in any field.
A SIMPLE AND ENGAGING VISION
By 2003, stakeholders understood that a change was
urgently needed. FC Barcelona’s existing manage- Continued on next page
FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
in 2009, a record-setting
year for the team