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Culture & Religion

Don’t Get Too Carried Away Trying to Run Your Business on Moneyball Principles

Data matters. It’s important to harness data to find more efficient ways to operate. But making data a higher priority than your workforce is extremely unwise.

Data matters. It’s vitally important for a business to harness it to find more efficient ways of operating. But making data a higher priority than your workforce is an extremely unwise leadership decision, says Forbes’ Meghan M. Biro:

“Regardless of data, regardless of technology, you simply can’t have an optimally performing organization without a genuine, people-centric relationship between leadership and workforce.”

How exactly does Biro’s opinion relate to Moneyball? Ever since Michael Lewis’ bestseller was adapted to the big screen, there’s been no shortage of articles like this from The Week offering bits of advice on how you can run your company like the 2002 Oakland A’s. Many of those articles have offered novel and well-reasoned advice (the linked one above included). It’s very true that much can be gained from an analysis of how the characters in Moneyball looked to market inefficiencies in informing their talent acquisition practices. That’s the sort of thing that’s relevant to a lot of businesses.

Conversely, there exists a school of thought that naively suggests a blanket approach to “Moneyballing” that incorrectly assumes an apples-to-apples comparison between your typical workforce and the capricious 40-man baseball roster. Because the Oakland A’s dealt with the latter, the ballclub could focus more on data and less on how their third baseman felt about things like HR (unless, of course, it stood for home run and not Human Resources). Billy Beane had (and still has) no real incentive to invest in his players as people. That’s not the case with leaders in other industries.

The gist of Biro’s argument is that workplace leaders who maintain an authentic relationship with their workforce reap positive results because of it. This Labor Day weekend, think about what you can do for your workers so that they can, in turn, do well for you.

Read more at Forbes

Photo credit: Phil Stafford / Shutterstock

For more on Moneyball, watch this clip from Michael Lewis’ Big Think interview:


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