Brain Food: Decisions - Karren Brady

Birmingham City Football Club. The woman who, as MD, Steered the Blues to the Premier League.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Karren Brady.

BIRMINGHAM CITY FOOTBALL CLUB.

THE WOMAN WHO, AS MD, STEERED THE BLUES TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE

MY BEST...

was floating the company in 1997. We decided on 15 December 1996 that we would float and that we had to do so by the beginning of February, so we only had a few weeks. The business was going through a lot of changes, so we were putting in full days running the business and full days preparing the company for flotation.

We joined the market when there was still a lot of hope for football clubs and plenty of money in the market. We raised a huge amount, which allowed us to build a new stand, redevelop the facilities, buy more players and move the business on. It was a great way of funding without taking out loans. It also showed that we were a professional business and that we took our responsibilities seriously.

It took me to the next level personally, in terms of my attitude and the way I ran the business - less maverick and more structured, with responsibilities to shareholders. It's good for businesses to have self-checking mechanisms and the market provides that.

MY WORST...

was failing to make a personnel change that obviously needed to be made. When I eventually replaced someone, it made a big difference to the company's performance. The business has changed beyond recognition over 11 years, going from a turnover of £1 million to more than £36 million. Yet it was hard to recognise when certain staff had taken the business as far as they could and that I might have been hanging on to them too long.

A company stagnates if it doesn't make difficult changes. Nobody likes sacking people. They try to find ways to move people around and develop their skills in other areas. But if you've employed the wrong person for a particular job, you have a responsibility to your company to make the change rather than holding on. I think people honestly know when it's time for a change but the emotional side is so difficult to deal with.

Yet I learnt that you can change a key position and the effect on the business can be dramatic.

Karren Brady's book, Playing to Win, is published next month by Capstone, price £9.99.

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