Sir Alex Ferguson: Five lessons in business and leadership from former Manchester United manager's new book "Leading"

Joe Hall
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Sir Alex Ferguson teamed up with billionaire Michael Moritz for new book "Leading" (Source: Getty)

It's safe to say Sir Alex Ferguson knows a thing or two about leadership. At Manchester United he won 38 trophies across 26 years at the club, during which time he helped oversee its evolution into both one of sport's most recognisable brands and most profitable businesses.

Since retirement, Ferguson has been taken up a "long-term teaching position" at Harvard Business School to share some insights from his success and most recently has detailed some of these lessons in a new book, "Leading", co-written with billionaire and former Google director Sir Michael Moritz.

Here's five tips the book contains for leaders in business:

Read more: Key lessons from Sir Alex Ferguson’s epic football reign

1. Stay cool in negotiations

Ferguson: "It’s hard to remain clear-headed during negotiations and not get swept away by the passion of the pursuit or emotion. It’s so easy to get over-stretched...If discipline slips during a negotiation it can have all sorts of ramifications. Not only does it drive the price up for a particular transaction, but it has ripple effects. In football, just as in other businesses, it means that people now expect you to pay top dollar."

2. Look to innovate

Ferguson: "When people used to approach me and suggest that it was essential we adapt some new technique, I was invariably sceptical...However, when it made sense and offered United a way to improve, I was eager to embrace it."

3. Embrace different cultures

Ferguson: "I think too much is made of the difficulties of integrating foreign players. I came to welcome what they brought to the club, and the multiculturalism enriched everything."

Sir Alex Ferguson won trophies using players from all over the globe (Source: Getty)

Read more: Four more business tips from Alex Ferguson

4. Eliminate risk

Ferguson: "It would not surprise me if some observers feel that much of United’s success was due to our willingness to take unnecessary chances...I never thought about it like this because part of a leader’s job is to eliminate as many risks as possible."

5. Show consistency in your decisions

Ferguson: "As a leader you can’t run from one side of the ship to other. As a leader you can’t run from one side of the ship to the other. People need to feel that you have unshakeable confidence in a particular approach. If you can’t show this, you’ll lose the team very quickly."

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