Andrew Johnson England Team

Belief – The Unseen Force Behind Winning Teams

6 July 2023 | 3 min read


It’s the unseen force that binds great teams together – in both business and sport. 

When I speak about belief in business, I always like to relate it back to sport – same fundamentals just a different type of workflow. Now the dust has settled on another incredible football season, it’s time to digest why English football have the best leagues in the world. Two teams have really stood out for me this year for the same reasons. Yet they are worlds apart in terms of budgets and quality. But they have the same core qualities – togetherness, respect, humility, and leadership. Take Luton Town a real quintessential rags-to-riches tale. Their secret? Teammates grounded in their belief in each other and their leaders, a belief which has powered them on their incredible journey. An amazing and very visible example of what can happen when the whole club buys into the leader’s methodology, both on and off the field. 

Luton’s rise is very relatable to my last blog regarding my time at Fulham. We didn’t have any real superstar names, there were no big disruptive egos, just a real tight knit group of people who trusted, believed, and fought for each other. This unity is very rare – you may only come across this environment once or twice in your career, and if you do, it may ultimately lead you to memorable significant success, but some may never experience it. Luton’s manager, captain and chief exec have instilled huge self-belief in their players based on the direction they want to take the club. Whilst the current stadium has taken huge criticism on social media, the foundations for their future have been in motion for years. 

It’s the same at Manchester City. Their talent pool is unparalleled and they have enough quality to field two teams of international superstars, yet what stands out above all of this is their humility as individuals and their team spirit. Their respect and trust in their leader and each another is so visible. It’s not about individuals, it’s about the team and this has been very obvious for all to see. Superstars, yes, but grounded and united superstars – and those are the real keys to their success. Being able to instil a fantastic work ethic and togetherness in a team of international superstars, to replicate the great habits and behaviours to consistently perform on a daily, weekly, yearly basis takes real commitment, discipline, and sacrifice. Which is why, in my opinion, Pep will go down as the one of, if not the, greatest leader of all time, alongside Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Money can buy a team on paper, but it doesn’t buy you success. Working tirelessly on culture, integration, work ethic, and unity, that’s what equals a pathway to success. And these are built, layer by layer, with patience and perseverance.

The world of business and sport run parallel. In both, every component must function in harmony for a company or team to succeed. The moment one person resists the methodology – or as soon as negativity or a lack of belief creeps in – the balance is disturbed, and the structure risks crumbling.

At the heart of all winning teams is a combination of preparation, repetition, and a relentless pursuit of unity. And I think that the spirit of self-belief and trust in each other remains paramount, whether on the field or in your workspace. 

Andrew Johnson

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Julian Davies

Julian Davies

Managing Partner at Redfin

Managing partner and Chartered Accountant with 30+ years of experience in marketing, media, and creative industries. He leads the Redfin team, offering expert advice on growth and profitability. Former owner manager of an agency acquired by a listed group; his industry insights are second to none. Off duty, you might find him on the golf or tennis court, determined to master new tricks.
Shelley Watkin

Shelley Watkin

Client Finance Director at Redfin

A qualified Chartered Accountant with 20+ years of experience in the marketing services sector. During her 5+ years at Redfin, she served as Client Finance Director offering invaluable insights into strategic and commercial matters. Shelley has also assumed the role of Finance Director for various creative agencies, guiding them through successful sales processes. If she gets free time after managing her children’s busy schedules, she likes to chill out doing yoga and gardening.