You remember very random things from business school, nearly two decades on. Usually none of this is academic – the lessons are only “internalised”, not “learnt”. A lot of it is from outside the classroom, silly things someone said or did or posted on the internal bulletin board. Most of the stuff you remember are rather arbitrary things that professors said, and made it seem like something profound.
“Management is like making music”, one professor lectured to us in the first week of classes at IIMB, back in 2004. “First you make music with what you have, and when you don’t have that, you make music with what you have left”. It was rather random, but random enough to stick in my head 18 years on.
It has been another disappointing season beginning for Liverpool. I didn’t watch the Crystal Palace game last night, but I clearly remember feeling at multiple points during the draw at Fulham that this was “like 2020-21 all over again”. The sort of mistakes that Virgil Van Dijk made. The length of the injury list. More players (Thiago) going off injured midway through the game. Nat Phillips starting. And add some new issues – like having your shiny new striker getting himself sent off and suspended for 3 games for a stupid show of anger.
I see the list of substitutes.
- 2Joe Gomez (s 63′)
- 8Naby Keita
- 13del Castillo Adrian
- 14Jordan Henderson (s 63′)
- 21Konstantinos Tsimikas (s 63′)
- 28Fabio Carvalho (s 79′)
- 43Stefan Bajcetic
- 72Sepp van den Berg
- 42Bobby Clark
Yes, there are youngsters (unlike 2021-22) but that is fully understandable. What I don’t understand is seeing youngsters I’ve never heard of. Two games in, I’m already getting the feeling that this will be a really hard league campaign.
I wonder if Klopp is more of a “luxury manager” than a “frugal manager”. These are two very different management styles, requiring very different skillsets. The names are fairly descriptive.
Luxury managers need luxury. They need resources for “option value”. In the corporate context, they need large budgets and space and little control over how they operate. And given all of this, a lot of the time, they deliver big. Yes – there are cases where they spectacularly fail (in which case they don’t stay on in their management jobs), but when they do deliver they deliver big.
Frugal managers don’t need any of this luxury. They are experts at making the most of whatever they have been given. In Ramnath’s words, they are adept at “making music with what they have left”. Any kind of luxury, any kind of optionality, seems like a waste to them. Why pay the option premium when you can get the same payoff through a complicated basket of one deltas?
And just like any other dichotomies (think of studs vs fighters, for example), luxury and frugal managers struggle in the opposite settings. Without the luxury, luxury managers are simply out of their depth. They are necessarily wasteful (a bit like Salah) and cannot produce if they are not able to waste some. However, they win big when they do.
Frugal managers are good at eking out solutions in terms of adversity, but abundant resources can overwhelm them. They won’t know what to do with it. More importantly, they are unable to deal with the expectations of delivering big (which come with the luxury) – they have been experts at delivering small against nonexistent expectations.
What about teams though? If you’ve been used to working for a luxury manager, what happens when you get a frugal manager? And the other way round? I don’t have immediate answers for this but I suppose you will struggle as well?