If Bob Paisley managed a CRM team

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Ronald Reagan

People are the most expensive and valuable asset of Microsoft Dynamics CRM re-sellers, a great leader can make the difference between a successful company and an average company.  Great leadership creates a vision of the future and engage and inspire individuals to achieve the vision.

People are to Microsoft Dynamics CRM re-sellers because most sell people not products.  Its the CRM professionals who deliver projects, capture requirements, design solutions, document, interact with user.

People are an important resource for Microsoft Dynamics CRM reseller,  a leader is needed to direct them, motivate them and manage them.

I read a great article on Bob Paisley and like most things it brings my thoughts back to how the lessons and insights show to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and working in IT.

Bob Paisley was one of the most successful managers ever in England, he was assistant manager at Liverpool between 1959-1974 and manager from 1974-1983.  Whilst managing Liverpool winning on average on 2.1 trophies per season, winning 19 major trophies in 9 years.

The article raises many great points about leadership and like most things I read, I apply the information to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM industry.


The article discusses leadership.

Good football teams require direction and leadership. The captain functions as the on-field general, rallying the troops in the heat of competition. The manager is really the captain steering the ship, navigating the crew through football’s tempests save for 90 minute bouts where he must lead from the other side of the chalked white lines.

Every team/organisation needs a leader to create a future, outline the direction of the company.  Leaders create and develop other great leaders in an organisation, these are the captains.  Management set the culture of the company and the values its employees should show.

The skill of simplifying a companies strategy can motivate a team to deliver the strategy, a fuzzy strategy or direction reduces commitment and effort of a team.

A CEO/Head of CRM practice and upper management who steer the ship, below them you are the captains and leaders, such as solution architects, senior consultants.  To deliver multiple projects you need a strong team,  the senior members offer guidance and direction to the junior members, setting standards, avoiding problems, helping them grow and improve and deliver projects on time.

Being listened to not just being heard

“The man exuded class and calm and once spoke of the importance of speaking softly so people actually make the effort to listen. Paisley knew man-management was about being listened to over being heard.”


Listening is a key skill needed by CRM professionals.  A boss once said CRM developers must keep listening until the users stop talking, CRM developers should listen more than they talk. When a CRM developer hears requirements they formulate a solution.  Creating the solution too early means they switch off listening to the rest of the requirements.

The boot room

Liverpool in the time of Paisley used the clubs boot room as a place to discuss strategy, the game, players, everything and anything.

On Sunday mornings we’d go in and talk about the Saturday game. There were differing opinions and disagreements and everyone put their oar in. But it was all done in the right manner. We liked everyone to air their views and you probably got a more wide-ranging discussion in the Boot room than you would in the boardroom. But nothing spilled out of there. What went on was within these four walls. There was a certain mystique about the place, which I also believe there should be about the dressing room. What’s said in there should, by and large, be private too.


Liverpool had the boot room but for many CRM professionals going to work, having a coffee, lunchtime is their virtual boot room.  Talking and sharing ideas on CRM with your colleagues is a great way to learn about CRM and it’s practical implementation.

Experience is valuable with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, many key lessons are learnt from trying, failing and find problems with solutions.  The limitations of functionality is fundamental in the choice of customization, experienced CRM developers/architects choose the right customization for a requirement.

The ideas, thoughts and experiences of your work colleagues is one of the most potent sources of learning available to many CRM professionals, be sure to use it.

Team game

Bob Paisley wasn’t kidding when he said, “It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, its about the right ball.” In football, there’s a phrase good coaches use with young players: ‘make it easy for the other man to play the game’. Liverpool players played for one another through selfless, supporting and fluid football.

When working in any team you need to view your actions in the long term
  • gains for individuals and the team
  • documenting procedures
  • creating best practices
  • sharing information/code/documents.
  • Creating and maintaining relationships with other team members
  • maintaining development environments

Some tasks need to be done

  • Production deployments (often out of hours)
  • help desk duties
  • Time sheets

Supporting each other and the team is required to work, these two articles focus on working as a team.

The articles focus on keeping quality and standards high as individuals and as a team.  The actions of individuals effect the team physically and mentally, individuals working hard and to high standards will influence their peers into doing the same, individuals can inspire their team mates.

 Alan Hansen surmised Paisley insatiable appetite for success by saying: “If there was one word that Paisley hated, it was the ‘C’ word: Complacency’.”

We must improve, look for opportunities, keep learning.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM industry is evolving, adding new version, new related services, the speed of change is highlighted in this article – The rise of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 

continuous improvement is key to a successful career Why CRM Developers should always start with the CRM SDK, I have this quote

My aim each day is to know more about CRM development when I leave work than when I started it.

If you want to learn more about Bob read this book Paisley: Smile On Me And Guide My Hand

I will leave you with some quotes from the great man


I can let the team do the talking for me. Bob Paisley

 I love the city and the people here. I’ve been with them for many years and I fought alongside them. Bob Paisley

“If you’re in the penalty area and don’t know what to do with the ball, put it in the net and we’ll discuss the options later.”

“Mind you, I’ve been here during the bad times too – one year we came second.”

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