First Sven, now a Svengali: FA call in Mr Motivator

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The Independent Football

Not content with their on-field Swedish revolution, the Football Association are breaking further new ground by appointing a New-Zealand based professor of strategic management to overhaul their entire structure.

Not content with their on-field Swedish revolution, the Football Association are breaking further new ground by appointing a New-Zealand based professor of strategic management to overhaul their entire structure.

Clive Gilson, one of four authors of a new book on sports management, Peak Performance: Business Lessons From The World's Top Sports Organizations, has been employed by the FA's chief executive, Adam Crozier, to devise a viable strategy to make the FA more successful and dynamic. He will act as a motivational guru and, in time, hopes to turn the FA from its traditional home for semi-retired blazers into what he calls a Peak Performing Organisation (PPO). Much like the "Team England" set-up on the coaching side, Gilson is putting in place "Team FA", which will encompass all sections of theorganisation. The idea is that this will replace the hierarchical and pompous approach of the previous regimes and lead to a more power-sharing and consensus-led FA.

Gilson has been working on the project with another of the book's authors, Kevin Roberts, who is also the chief executive officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide. Crozier was employed by Saatchi before he joined the FA and is a long-standing friend of Roberts, who is introducing the PPO throughout his organisation.

Shortly after his appointment to the FA in January, Crozier attended the book's launch at the Saatchi headquarters in London. It is there he is thought to have approached Gilson to implement the PPO theory to the outdated ruling body of English football.

Gilson, who holds a degree in Business Studies from Middlesex University as well as Masters and Doctoral degrees from Warwick University, was in London last week to press ahead with the implementation of his strategy.

When researching the formula for sustained success, Gilson and his co-authors gained access to the managers and key players of the world's leading sporting organisations. Interviewees included the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan, Bayern Munich's Franz Beckenbauer and the Formula One team owner Sir Frank Williams.

The FA have already made several significant changes. The move to plush new offices in the heart of trendy Soho - and only a short walk from Saatchi's headquarters in Charlotte Street - is just the latest step towards modernisation. Crozier has also employed the former BBC journalist Paul Newman to front a team of six press officers, who will work alongside the executive director, David Davies. Fifa, the world's governing body, employ just four full-time press officers to liaise with the entire world.

But part of the PPO theory is that money must be no object. If organisations want to be successful they have to assemble the best possible team, whatever the cost may be. Alan Sefton, the executive director of Team New Zealand, the country's crack sailing crew who successfully defended the America's Cup earlier this year, believes hiring and firing policies are the key. "You create the future by employing the very best people in the first place," he said. "If you get the best people, you don't need this internally competitive model, which can be destructive." The best do not come cheap, but Crozier is determined to build his dream team.

Gilson, in the book's introduction, says: "Some organisations shine brightly, only to disappear quickly. A few maintain their success for decades. It is these organisations in which we are interested." It is one of thesethe FA intend to become.

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