Jurgen Klopp: The Steps of Success and His 5-Year Plan

It’s July 2020. Liverpool are the Premier League Champions, the European Champions and the World Champions! To get there, Liverpool's Head Coach, Jurgen Klopp, had prepared a 5-Year Plan. Here are our thoughts on the 5 STEPS you need to have at the core of your personal 5-year plan and what it meant for Mr. Klopp!

Richard Edge
July 23, 2020

It’s July 2020. Liverpool are the Premier League Champions, the European Champions and the World Champions!


It’s July 2015. Jurgen Klopp is in Germany as Head Coach of Borussia Dortmund. Having achieved great success in recent years it was a tough season. His side slumped to 7th in the league, barely scrapping through to entry in the Europa league qualifiers and his side was thumped 3-1 in the Cup by VFL Wolfsburg including a goal from a certain Kevin De Bruyne. In April 2015 he had already decided his time was up and he would be leaving that summer saying, “It's not that I'm tired, I've not had contact with another club but I don't plan to take a sabbatical”. He knew he wanted more than he could achieve by staying in Germany, he needed a change to fulfill his real objectives!


Over in the English Premier League, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea were dominant. Manchester City were lacking that cutting edge and the Giants of the last decade Arsenal and Manchester United were struggling. Liverpool themselves were down in 6th and rumours were circulating that their manager Brendon Rodgers may be “sacked by Christmas”. It was here when Jurgen started to construct his 5-year plan.


Here are our thoughts on the 5 STEPS you need to have at the core of your personal 5-year plan and what it meant for Mr. Klopp!


Understand what SUCCESS looks like for you and how to work towards it!

Klopp knew he wanted to be a champion in the best league in the world and also conquer Europe. For this he needed the right club to match his ambition that would support him with his long-term objectives. In Liverpool, they had ambitious relatively new owners that wanted someone to drive forward their own vision.


In his first 12 months his signings are mostly people who were not successful, but he knew they were stop gaps as he focused on his long-term vision. They included Grujic, Grabara, Mane, Karius, Matip, Millar,Klavan, Manninger and Wijnaldrum. It was an evolutionary process and in every 5-year plan there should be realistic targets that improve year on year with built-in tolerance and flexibility.

In year 2 he added Salah and Robertson, in year 3 came Van Dijk and Fabinho, and year 4 came the final piece in the jigsaw in goalkeeper Alisson.  By committing to the long-term evolution of the 5-year plan, these milestones created the ideal team that would go on to dominate the Premier League and lead them to be domestic champions, European champions and World champions.


Know how to make the TOUGH decisions!

A huge moment for Klopp was selling his star player to Barcelona. Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho left for Barcelona on 6thJanuary 2018 for a potential fee of £142 million as he cited wanting to play for a “bigger club”. This was a huge gamble for Klopp, but he understood the vision would be achieved by entrusting the terrific trio that would be left behind of Sane, Salah and Firmino. Often there will be people you work with or have business relationships with that may be longstanding but actually are getting in the way of progress. Perhaps it’s time for a change.


Know your ENEMY!

When Klopp considered Liverpool, he could see that all the rivals were either in declines or in transitions of their own. The stable team was Chelsea and their manager has a reputation for only staying in one place for 3 years. The shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson over the Premiership was no more, and the timing was NOW! When the competition is struggling there is often opportunity and it’s important to seize those opportunities when they arise.


Empower, trust, and invest in PEOPLE!

Jordan Henderson. The much-maligned captain of Liverpool was already at the club before Klopp arrived but he was often criticised. Klopp kept faith with his captain and built the team around him.This year he won the BBC Sports Player of the Year award! He trusted his individuals to evolve as a group, gave them guidance and motivated them along the way. He brought in on the pitch leaders and creatives like Van Dijk and Mo Salah and created a mentality that allowed them to express themselves whilst trusting the consistency and stability that Henderson provided in the middle of the group. By giving them space to evolve as a unit, they formed their own style of play and achieved goals that they would previously have felt impossible as individuals.


Be a little SELFISH!

One of the key elements of this team that Klopp has built that is the envy of all football fans is the style of play and the culture that emanates from the team. Klopp has built this in his own vision in his own style. There is a feeling of fun and adventure that emits throughout the entire club that is obvious to all that engage them. Klopp knew that in order to be successful, it wasn’t just about winning things, but to reach real life fulfillment, it was to win things in style in an environment where people are genuinely enjoying and loving what they do! The consideration here is, what are your fulfillment non-negotiables and how can you find them if they don’t exist in your current role? Is it time for a change or will you get stuck?


So there we have it, the STEPS considerations for your 5-year objectives.


Who are you now and who are you going to be?

For more career tips and advice, follow us on social media: @Careerships on Instagram and LinkedIn.

All the best,

Richard Edge

CEO & Career Coach | Careerships

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