Red Auerbach: The Harvard Business Review Interview

Part 11

HBR: You have a reputation as a tough negotiator.

AUERBACH: Not really.

HBR: No?

AUERBACH: OK, I have a reputation for being a tough negotiator. But it's not like that. I just don't like it when a guy comes in with a player who's worth $100,000 and he wants a million, figuring we'll negotiate and he'll walk away with $500,000.

What I'd say is, "Now look, this is what the guy is worth, based on his abilities and his contribution to the ball club. We might give or take a few thousand, but I'm not interested in a million dollars. That's it. And there's nothing you can do to change my mind. So don't come in at one million. Come in at two million. Come in at three million. It won't do you any good." I'd say, "We're fair. Now if the player pays his dues and performs, we'll pay him more. But he's got to earn it first."

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