Red Auerbach: The Harvard Business Review Interview

Part I

For 36 years, Arnold "Red" Auerbach has inspired and led the Boston Celtics basketball team - the most successful franchise in American sports. As coach, general manager, and now president of the Celtics, Auerbach has followed his own management philosophy based on loyalty, pride, teamwork, and discipline. The lessons he discusses in this interview are applicable to managers everywhere: statistics can't measure the real contribution players make, as there are too many factors that can't be measured; loyalty is a two-way street - managers who expect loyalty should give it; trusting employees is the best way to encourage them to take risks and come up with new ideas; a good manager pays the dues needed to gain a full knowledge of the product

The manager of a sports franchise encounters the same problems as any manager running an organization. Unions, uncooperative owners, and the difficulties of keeping players disciplined and motivated all play a part in Red Auerbach's job. He has learned to deal with these problems and win; here he tells how. Interviewer: Alan Webber.

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