What I Learned About Business from “Moneyball”

By Davies Hood, Induron Executive Vice President

Thank goodness baseball season is here. I absolutely love looking at baseball box scores first thing in the morning. I like following my team (The San Francisco Giants) through the inevitable ups and downs of a long season. I appreciate the intricacies of the game, like bunting a runner into scoring position, the hit ‘n’ run and the subtle shift in fielders’ positioning based on a certain hitter’s tendencies, as well as what and where the pitcher intends to pitch to him.

I was expecting the recent box office hit “Moneyball” to delve into these parts of my passion. However, what I got was an entertaining (thank you, Brad Pitt) business lesson. This article in QP (Quality Progress, which unfortunately requires site login) really digs into the statistical part of the movie and fleshes out some of the real lessons that Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics learned over the years.

These valuable lessons are:

Focus on measurements to create a culture of success. Quite simply, measure what’s important, because people focus on what it is that’s being measured. In “Moneyball,” Beane focused almost exclusively on “On-base percentage,” instead of batting average and the beauty of a player’s “swing.” This leads to the second lesson…

Don’t be afraid of going against the grain or doing something different. Just because “We’ve always done it this way around here,” doesn’t mean that is the BEST way to do it. Because the other Oakland A’s employees did not immediately embrace Beane’s “new” way, Beane was forced to trade away players and simply override his scouts when they wouldn’t go along with him. Anyone who has ever been a new manager or replaced a well-liked retiree knows this feeling intimately.  When both of these challenges are met and you experience success…

Know that your competitors can and will use your methods against you. I am learning this about social media. So instead of getting angry that you’re being copied, accept it, move on and continue to innovate. It’s better to be the leader than a follower.

Each of these lessons played themselves out in the movie and can either work for you or against you in your daily grind, regardless of your chosen profession. If you haven’t seen “Moneyball,” I recommend it as a baseball fan AND as a business man!

Founded in 1947, Induron manufactures high performance coatings that serve a range of industrial applications, including the wastewater, transmission and distribution and groundwater storage industries. Learn more about us at www.Induron.com.  

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