When it comes to retail executive recruitment, the success of an individual in previous roles plays an important part of the selection process. However, the success in one position isn’t necessarily replicable in another position. There are many factors that can contribute to success.

How top football clubs are run is similar to executive recruitment, and we can use top clubs as a way to guide your retail executive search. Here are some lessons you can learn.

1. Cultural fit matters

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United, they haven’t performed so well. They’ve had five managers (including interim manager Ryan Giggs) and won very little since his departure. That is despite many of the same players still being on the team and the recruitment of top class, very expensive talent.

It isn’t because of a poor management skills either. Jose Mourinho has won lots of the sport’s top honours and is known for guiding clubs to success. At Manchester United he didn’t win the Premier League, which was expected of him. Yet his replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has lost just one match and is guiding the team up the table. Why? Solskjaer played under Ferguson and knew the culture around the club. Instead of forcing a new style and culture on the team, he returned to a system and philosophy that worked so well before.

This can be seen throughout retail executive leadership. One leader will outperform others who have held the same position despite no other changes. In the majority of cases this is because the executive understands and incorporates the culture of the business into their work ethos. An alignment between leader ethics and organisation culture will focus staff on the tasks at hand and delivering quality output.

2. Past results matter

One of the biggest challenges to get around is that past success, or failure, predicts future results. Gareth Southgate had one poor managerial appointment at Middlesborough, where he led them to relegation in his second season. He was dismissed weeks into the next season, even with the club performing as expected.

However, Southgate took up the England management post with no other top-club experience and in his first major tournament managed the nation’s best result for 28 years. This shows that while past results can show some skills, it is the atmosphere and culture within your organisation that can determine the potential success of an executive.

Business leadership can show the same trend. Evan Williams is one key example. His podcasting company, Odeo, failed but his next venture, Twitter, has been a massive success. Jeff Bezos had several failed companies, including online marketplace zShops, before he created online retail giant Amazon.

3. How they interact with key players in your team is important

What makes some managers successful and others not despite the same players? It’s the interactions they have with the team. Some football managers annoy players and then they don’t perform well. Other managers get their players to perform well and this can lead to out-performing pre-season expectations.

How those in senior positions react with other members of your team is just as important. If they bring out the best in staff, results in the organisation will improve.

What is the big learning point?

When you’re running a retail executive search, you need to look at the candidates with fresh eyes. What they’ve done in the past shows they have experience, but the environment will have been different than what you’re offering. Therefore, you need to see if their values can match your corporate culture and whether they can interact with your team to bring out their best performances.