Wednesday, October 24, 2007


On the evening of the first game of the World Series, it seems appropriate to talk about Moneyball. For the longest time I didn't agree with the premise of the book, but after reading it again this summer, I feel like the book has some interesting points.

One is that the way small markets beat larger markets is by beating them in the information and development stages. This is definitely true in HR. Being able to analyze potential employees and getting them early in their developmental stages so you can mold them into the future employees you desire (in the case of the Oakland Athletics, OBP machines).

Another is that the statistical matrices of the past always need to be reevaluated and constantly changed to better adapt to the workplace environment of today. This could not be more true in Human Resources where today's constantly changing business world requires different workers with different skill sets and a different set of evaluation statistics.

The mental makeup of someone on a team is a huge factor in determining how well they will gel within your organization. Billy Beane passed over certain college players who may have had a higher talent ceiling but who could not be vouched for. Again, HR professionals need to understand that no matter what the potential an interviewee or recruit may have, they still have to be able to work and function within your company's guidelines...can this person do this?

Lastly, once everything is in place, when you get to the big time, it's all a crapshoot. This was true in Moneyball when they talked about the playoffs...and even making the playoffs have become that way. The Yankees have made the playoffs in 12 straight years---the next largest streak is 1. Since Y2K, seven different teams have won the World Series, and only two (the Yankees and the Cardinals) had been to more than one World Series before the Red Sox joined that group this year.

In the same way, Human Resources becomes that way too. You can put the best looking people in positions and train them the best you can...and in the end it may not produce results. But doing your homework and constantly adapting the guidelines for which you judge potential candidates will certainly increase your chances of winning that proverbial World Series.

In our next post we'll talk a little about Joe Torre....stay tuned....

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