One Thing All Winning Cultures Have with Toronto Raptors’ Dr. Alex Auerbach

For Alex Auerbach, it’s all about the people. As the director of wellness and development for the Toronto Raptors, Auerbach spends his days building a strong workplace culture and supporting resilience and mental performance among players, coaches, and staff. Being able to make a tangible difference in people’s lives has always been appealing to him, he says. By helping those he works with develop the skills and tools they need to be successful in both sports and life, he’s able to follow his passion daily.

Looking back on the different organizations he’s worked with over the years, the one thing each and every one of the successful teams had in common was that they took a people-centered approach. It’s important to spend time getting to know the people you’re working with, Auerbach says. While it’s natural to enter into professional and personal relationships with goals in mind, it’s critical to set those aside and co-create a relationship that’s beneficial to all.

Key Moments You Don’t Want to Miss:

  1. Unexpected Direction How Alex Auerbach found his passion for connecting with players about their lives and futures outside of sports
  2. Building a Culture Why the successful teams he’s worked with all have good people at the core of their mission
  3. Key Relationships Why taking the time to build authentic connections with people is important to Auerbach
  4. Lingering Questions How he’s learned to deal with uncertainty and why understanding what’s in your power to control is a critical skill

What You’ll Learn:

  • Take a holistic view of situations
  • Collaboration and direction lead to different outcomes
  • Build a people-focused culture
  • Learn to control your controllables
  • Invest in your life priorities


“I think the great cultures I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of are really people-centric and people-first. It’s really naive to think that winning isn’t a priority, but I think immediately after winning, or sometimes next to winning, is taking great care of great people.” -Alex Auerbach

“In all relationships people generally have things that they want out of them. That’s a normal part of relating to people. Sometimes it’s connection and sometimes it’s higher performance and sometimes it’s a combination of things. But it really starts with letting go of that as the goal and instead thinking about building a real, authentic connection with this person.” -Alex Auerbach

“I think for me, it’s about shifting the perspective from everything being about the moment on the court to seeing life almost like a portfolio of investments. And you have to place your effort and your time and your resources into these different areas and domains for you to be the best you can be.”  -Alex Auerbach


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Episode 260