When Liverpool Football Club appointed Jurgen Klopp as their manager in 2015, I remember telling a good friend I was sad he wasn’t a Manchester United manager. Klopp had spent 7 years with Borussia Dortmund and transformed them into a German powerhouse club. He was exactly the kind of long term thinker we needed.
He was appointed in the early part of the season and while Liverpool had shown some signs of improvement by the end, there was plenty left to be desired. They finished 8th in the league.
The next season was his first full season and there were visible signs of improvement. Liverpool were now 4th in the league and qualified for the European Champions League.
In his third season, Liverpool were beginning to do well and look consistently dangerous. They finished 4th again and had an impressive run to the finals of the Champions League. Thanks to a bit of misfortune, they missed out.
Klopp invested in areas they were weak over the summer and Liverpool came out all guns blazing this season. It looks like they’ll narrowly miss winning the league – thanks to an exceptional season by their direct competitor to the title. But, against all odds, they overturned a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona yesterday to win 4-0 and make their way to the finals of the Champions League again. This time, only a fool would bet against them.
All this context underscores the central point – the benefits of good decisions compound over time. Liverpool have been making positive strides every season and have been looking consistently better than their previous versions. That sort of improvement isn’t made overnight. But, viewed over a period of time, it is easy to realize the power of building strong foundations and making small improvements that compound over time.
Seeing the progress he’s made in the past 4 years is a good reminder to make long term decisions. As long as you have the conviction, stay the course and do it with a great attitude (as he does).
It may not seem to pay off for a while.
Until it does.