He was welcomed as a hero by City’s supporters, who backed his attempt to gain control of the club. In 1996, Lee appointed his friend Alan Ball as manager, but the appointment proved unsuccessful and the club were relegated. Lee stepped down in 1998, with the club on the brink of relegation to the English Third Division.
Lee had something of a reputation for interfering with team selection. It is understandably difficult for a manager to refuse the chairman, but the club suffered. Lee dominated, the manager was complicit and the results were not produced to forgive the ‘presence of the anti pattern’.
The Anti Pattern Codified
Anti Pattern Name: HIPPO – Highest Paid Person’s Opinion
Type: Cultural, Managerial
Problem: Meddling in decision making and failing to adhere to strategy, principles or governance processes. In certain cultures, organisational hierarchy is strictly obeyed which results in subordinates toeing the line without protestation. Highest Paid Person’s Opinion is a problem when the HIPP (Highest Paid Person) is not suitably qualified.
Context: Bullish management, often preceded by a period of stagnation or indecision, HIPPO intervention may or may not be helpful.
Forces: Stagnation, interventionism, mavericks, control, deferential culture.
Resulting Context: Manchester City nearly ended up in Division Three.
Solution(s): Challenge the HIPPO, test it as rigorously as any other solution hypothesis. Acknowledge the potential danger of deferential behaviour.
Further Reading on Leadership from John C Maxwell
- Developing the Leader Within You (Maxwell, John C.)
- Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others Reach Their Full Potential
- The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization
- Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership
- Becoming a Person of Influence