His case and his winning mentality are studied in business schools, there are even books that gloss over his exploits as a coach, where he has achieved great achievements and where he has never lacked a team. Unai Emery (Hondarribia, Guipúzcoa, 1971) has always been admired for his working method, but the last decision he has made – to leave Villarreal, with whom he won the Europa League and who he put in the semifinals of the Champions League, in the middle of the season to sign for the Premier League and train Aston Villa–, it is not well understoodn from the business point of view.
Behind the signing there are seven million euros – the yellow team will take six million for the termination clause –, for each of the four seasons for which they have agreed to spend in Birmingham (United Kingdom), compared to 2.5 million euros that he had been earning for two and a half years in which team chaired by Fernando Roigwhich stopped another attempt to hire the coach last year at the stroke of a checkbook, on that occasion, it was Newcastle, owned by a Saudi Arabian fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF). If someone takes a look at Emery’s resume, the number of teams he has managed as a coach since 2004 is surprising: Lorca Deportiva, Almería, Valencia, Spartak Moscow, Seville, Paris Saint Germain, Arsenal, Villarreal and now Aston Villa .
This is what is known in the business world as restless people, mercenaries, people who leave a project unfinished because another opportunity arises, says the professor of people development and change management at Deusto Business School, Jon Segovia. These are professionals who are moved by extrinsic reasons, that is, the remuneration received, to change projects, “and leave the entire team in the middle of the season.” And it happens not only in football but in the business world, something that is beginning to be seen normally, “and should not be seen with such good eyes”, because it shows a lack of commitment and that only material things generate happiness.
“That kind of extrinsic motivations they motivate in the short term, since once you achieve it, you always want more. This is the opposite of intrinsic motivations, those that arise from within and seek to achieve the best version of oneself, or transcendental ones, which pursue the good for third parties”, adds the teacher, who qualifies using only the first motivation as dangerous. “You always have the feeling that you are paid little for what you do, and they always want to have more, although it is honorable to want to earn more.”
If a few years ago having a curriculum full of experiences was recognized and highly valued by companies –in the midst of a technological explosion, this was synonymous with restlessness and a hunger for knowledge–, right now it is no longer so considered.
“It is something that is beginning to normalize and it is not good. In addition to the salary, there must be another motivation and that is the value that can be contributed, and that the projects must be seen in the medium and long term. It is not good to leave projects lying around, that is what some curricula say”, says Segovia.
IESE professor Santiago Álvarez de Mon also expresses himself in this regard, who believes that many times people allow themselves to be more blinded by a blank check than for a professional project. “The mercenaries make jumps every three or four years, they are more aware of their armor than the project, they are passing through, and that is worrying.” For this teacher, the reason for abandonment can always be the lack of professional growth or that the project is not in line with expectations, but we must not ignore the fact that “there are people who are moved by power and money, and They are not aware of it.”
The managerial world is no stranger to these movements. “It seems that the one who moves from company to company every two or three years is the one who makes a career, but the fact that he moves so much is not good either, because he hasn’t given him time to make a career in an institution, he doesn’t know what it’s like to wear the shirt of that organization”, adds Álvarez de Mon, who believes that the one who jumps from one side to the other is more aware of the map than of the territory. “It is not that they are nomads by profession, it is that they are mercenaries,” concludes the teacher.