How Lumina Spark can help you see where your managers may be going wrong

The ‘Lumina Spark’ psychometric model provides a useful perspective on why Fabio ‘de-railed’ so badly in South Africa. Despite the great start to the Euro 2012 campaign, it begs the question: “could the stubborn side of his personality cause him to overextend himself (again) and England to fail when the heat is on”?

Fabio is known as an authoritarian who sticks to his guns. He has certainly nailed his colours to the mast and recently stated that post Poland/Ukraine, win or lose, penalties or no penalties, he will be gone, trading in his three lions tracksuit for a pensioner’s bus pass. When asked if he would resign after 2012 he said “Absolutely. Yes, we have to qualify first of course but after that I will be too old…I want to enjoy my life as a pensioner”.

However, declaring your exit ahead of time can be a good omen! In Italia 1990 we all knew Bobby Robson was going and we at least reached the semis for that fatal penalty shoot-out. In Euro 96 when Venables was known to be going we again made the semis for another fatal penalty shoot-out. These epic failures start to look good compared to our South African belly flop.

So we know Fabio will go, and we also have had enough time to take a good look at his personality. Assessing him against the twenty four ‘Lumina Spark Qualities’ I have come to some key conclusions. When things are going well he is purposeful and structured, with a high attention to detail. His players know he is ‘outcome focused’ and as South Africa showed, he has little interest in the players’ feelings or views. The clamour for Joe Cole in South Africa fell on deaf ears and he rigidly stuck to his unpopular 4-4-2 formation.

Being almost ‘feedback immune’ in Lumina Spark is picked up in the ‘overextended persona’ measures that look at ‘detached and aloof’, ‘serious and withdrawn’ and ‘change resistant’. These are all features of Fabio under pressure. Why else would he have stuck with Emile Heskey, who I am pleased to say has retired from international football and so saved us from Fabio sticking to his principals and playing him again.

It might look like we are off to a good start in Euro 2012 and we could be deluded into thinking Fabio’s change of tactics show his flexibility. But don’t be deceived! Its only Frank Lampard’s injury that forced some changes. With the exception of Rob Green, who may well be Fabio’s scapegoat for South Africa, he is sticking with his preferred squad.

In an interesting piece of projection, he recently suggested it was the players that are inflexible and have a “mental block” due to the pressure of playing for England. He may need to take a good hard look at himself on that one! Our hope for Euro 2012 lies in Fabio’s stated belief that psychology will be as big a factor as tactics or technique. I couldn’t agree more, but some self-reflection on this might not go amiss!