Baseball and Business

As you know, I love baseball.  Baseball is a sport that is managed by the numbers.  The cool thing is that the numbers are available to everyone.  For example, if you tried, you could find out that in a game on April 30, 1977, Carlton Fisk of the Boston Red Sox batted 3 for 4 with a double and a stolen base (he stole home!), scored 3 runs and the Red Sox (Luis Tiant) beat the Oakland A’s (Mike Norris) 8-4 in an afternoon game on a 72 degree day.

Some baseball players, like Alfonso Soriano go for the fences every time they go to the plate.  Sometimes they are successful, other times, not so much, but overall they are recognized for the ability to go long ball. Not the first guy you would pick to move a guy from first to second in a close game. Good to have on the team for power, an expert in a certain discipline.

Other players, like Barry Bonds or Manny Ramirez go outside the rules of the game to get the extra oomph to make their careers. Their numbers are great, but they will always have that thorny asterisk besides their name signifying that their accomplishments might not be on a level playing field. Think of the bankers who changed the rules of the game to make more money.

Then there are the less remembered players, like the shortstop for the Red Sox in that game, Rick Burleson.  Rick played 13 years in the majors, hit .273, fielded .972, got into a couple of All Star games, was honored with a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award.  The unusual fact about Rick was that he once hit an inside the park home run. He was methodical and steady. Not a Hall of Fame candidate, but a good solid player that you would want on your team.

We know these facts because they are measured.  The great advantage is that everyone has access to the numbers.  When the managers of the teams build a plan for a game, they use these statistics to choose strategies to win. Does it always work?  No, of course not.  That is the fun of the game.   But it can tip the balance in your favor.

What if your whole business life, every decision, every program, every customer interaction was available to everyone for viewing?  How would that change the way that you operate?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *