Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the greatest managers and leaders of any sporting association in recorded history. His reign at the football club Manchester United gained the club 38 trophies and his duration at the club lasted for over quarter of a century.
At the time of Ferguson’s arrival in 1986 the club was worth just over £10 million and at the time of his departure in 2013, the club was worth almost £2 billion. Ferguson played a large part in this transformation and the Manchester United brand spread to all parts of the globe and became one of the world’s most valuable clubs.
When asked about what contributed to his success Sir Alex remained true to his values.
‘I am not going to change. I am going to do what I believe in.’ – Sir Alex Ferguson
However in terms of dealing with a club over decades Sir Alex understood what Stanford professor Jim Collins called ‘the genius of the and’ and this simply means that, although times and technology will always change, the one thing that should never change are your core values and purpose.
‘I think the important thing is to accept change. What worked 25 years ago doesn’t necessarily mean that it is gong to work forever more. So we are always moving all the time. Always forwards.’ – Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to Harvard’s Anita Elberse
Interviewer: Anita Elberse
Leader: Sir Alex Ferguson
Institution: Harvard Business School