TLA Book Club: The Barcelona Way. Unlocking the DNA of a Winning Culture.

What can businesses learn from football clubs? Or, more specifically, from FC Barcelona?

The latest contribution to the TLA Book Club comes from head of culture and brand Keith Price. What can we expect from Damian Hughes’ 2018 book The Barcelona Way: Unlocking the DNA of a Winning Culture?

The Barcelona WayIn less than 100 words, what was the book about?

An in-depth look at Pep Guardiola’s tenure as FC Barcelona’s head coach (2008-2012) and the role that culture in the club’s success. The book identifies the five overarching principles of culture development led by Guardiola and draws parallels with the business world, offering practical steps for establishing a high-performance environment.

What were the key takeaways for you?

The book is packed with great takeaways – concepts that are applicable to organisations in any industry. From putting guiding principles in priority order to offer clarity to those expected to follow them. To identifying “cultural architects” within your company that can help make cultural changes take hold.

Arguably most important takeaway is that football clubs, like brands, need a clear sense of identity (or as Hughes’ describes it, “big picture”) to connect and inspire everyone associated to the organisation. For Barcelona, the big picture is encapsulated by the line ‘More than just a football club’. It implies that to play for Barcelona is to play for all of Catalonia; to play for freedom.

This provided the foundations for everything that followed. From Dutch legend Johan Cruyff’s philosophy for how the game should be played, which shaped how players are coached at every level, to Guardiola’s guiding principles that set the tone for behaviours expected of everyone involved.

This clarity and consistency took the club on a cultural journey that led to the most successful period in its history, winning fourteen of a possible nineteen titles.

Who do you think would enjoy reading it?

The book is an inspiring read for anyone in business who wants to foster a winning culture. Or anyone curious about what contributes to a football club’s success.