Management Lessons from Late Red Auerbach

I was surprised and saddened when I read at ESPN that Red Auerbach died last Saturday at the age of 89. He is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history who steered Boston Celtics to 9 NBA championships including 8 consecutive titles. After his coaching stint he moved to the front office where his brilliance gave Boston Celtics 7 more titles.
I was fascinated at his management and leadership style as I read an article over at ESPN looking back at his career. Below are my thoughts:

1. Brilliant in execution and simple in philosophy – I have been guilty of making things too complicated that team members would argue and suggest simpler things that could be accomplished in a fraction of the time required compared to my idea. As the saying goes — Keep it simple stupid (excuse me for that).
2. Cut down on pre-game speeches – motivational speeches do not guarantee success but rather detailed planning, well executed process, solid strategies, etc. are far more important than emotional speeches.
3. Let them adjust to you and not the other way around – I do not completely agree with Red on this because sometimes teams are required to adjust often to meet deadlines. However, sometimes teams should be able to tell clients that they are wrong and should suggest the best approach to yield the most reward.
4. Handle animals and deal with People – People behave differently and managers should be willing to deal with people on a case to case basis. Be human and here them out.
5. Miss practice to rest? Good. – Managers and leaders should allow their people to take a step back and rest. It is also good to encourage your team to take on a vacation as this prevents burnout, energize people and help them become high performing individuals.
6. Bill Russell’s is one dollar higher – The Lakers signed Wilt Chamberlain for a $ 100,000 contract and Red Auerbach responded by signing Bill for $ 100, 001 to make a statement. People are the most valuable assets of an organization and top management should exert the effort to keep their people and make them feel valued in the organization.
[tags]Management, Red Auerbach[/tags]

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