Photography: Sean Pollack Some call him the best coach in history. Before retiring in May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson invested 26 seasons as the manager of Manchester United, the English football (soccer) club that ranks among the most effective and valuable franchises in sports. During Check For Updates won 13 English league titles in addition to 25 other domestic and international trophiesgiving him a general haul nearly double that of the next-most-successful English club manager.
He played a central role in the United organization, managing not simply the first string however the whole club. "Steve Jobs was Apple; Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United," says the club's previous primary executive David Gill. In 2012 Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had a distinct opportunity to examine Ferguson's management technique and established an HBS case study around it.
Success and remaining power like Sir Alex Ferguson's need studyand not just by football fans. How did he do it? Can one identify routines that allowed his success and concepts that assisted it? Throughout what turned out to be his last season in charge, my previous trainee Tom Dye and I carried out a series of thorough interviews with Ferguson about his leadership approaches and saw him in action at United's training school and at its famed stadium, Old Trafford, where a nine-foot bronze statue of the former supervisor now looms outdoors.
And we observed Ferguson during numerous short meetings and discussions with players and employee in the hallways, in the cafeteria, on the training pitch, and any place else the chance occurred. Ferguson later pertained to HBS to see the ensuing case study taught, provide his views, and answer students' questions, leading to standing-room-only conditions in my classroom and a highly captivating exchange.
Although I've attempted not to press the angle too hard, a lot of them can definitely be used more broadly, to company and to life. In the post that follows, I explain each lesson as I observed it, and after that offer Ferguson his say. 1. Start with the Structure Upon his arrival at Manchester, in 1986, Ferguson commenced creating a structure for the long term by improving United's youth program.