Managerial Moneyball

I really enjoyed reading Moneyball. Its a book about baseball and data and how information should be used to choose baseball players for the Oakland As. It’s an interesting approach, one that has rarely been used in the sport in the past, though it is gaining traction. It does seem that this approach has helped the As to high level of success given the constraint of their limited payroll. There’s even a great movie if you don’t want to read the book, but the book is really much better and goes into more detail on data points and how they are used.

The idea of using data to make decisions has been applied to other areas, with “The Moneyball Effect” being talked about in other industries. Recently I also ran across an opinion piece on bad managers that also referenced Moneyball. The piece notes that most people make poor managers. They lack the skills, and more importantly, they really lack those innate qualities that motivate, inspire, and engage employees. Whether you agree with that last part, I think most of you agree that most managers are poorly chosen, trained, and certainly not qualified.

The idea of using data to identify people that would make good managers, and perhaps even move people out of managerial roles. The premise of the piece is really the bad managers make their teams perform worse, so if you’ve got one of the seven-out-of-ten people ill suited to the work, you should move them out of that position. Then identify, promote, train, and support the others to manage your employees and help them to perform at their best.

Steve Jones

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