The Red Team
Imagine having a group of people telling you, repeatedly, that your club is not as well-run as you think. That your player recruitment strategy is flawed, that your league status is vulnerable, that your rivals are finding new technologies and approaches to get an edge.
Now imagine that these aren’t your fans; these are people that you’re paying to tell you this. And that you welcome this attack on your business plan.
In industries outside of sport, this is known as a ‘Red Team’.
Red Teams are used extensively in military and security testing; these public and private entities employ groups of individuals to poke holes in their systems. Importantly, they act independently of the day-to-day running of the business, often unbeknownst to most employees. They attempt to hack past defences, or act as enemies would in a battlefield, and can therefore eventually provide insight that wouldn’t necessarily be seen from the inside.
Football clubs are particularly prone to social proofing, with few people willing or responsible for challenging the preconceived ideas that have seeped into everyday processes.
But what if we recruited a Red Team? What if this team was tasked with pointing out every gap in the strategy, and how our opponents are currently outsmarting us in various aspects of the running of the club?
Sometimes we benefit from hearing from an outside view. At critical times in the season, when decisions are often made on instinct alone, perhaps a contrarian group of opinions can help ensure that all blind spots are covered.