Winning at Baseball and Business

What do you do when you are short on cash but really need to move your business forward?  Without a solid plan, you could end up wasting that short supply.  What’s a business owner to do? Let’s look at America’s favorite summer pastime…baseball. Now, you may be thinking, “What does baseball have to do with helping me win at business?” Turns out, more than you think. Meet Jeff Luhnow, General Manager for the Houston Astros.  He inherited a team with lackluster performance.  For a few years, they suffered a staggering loss record (one season, 111 losses out of 162 games).  In terms of paying their players, the Astros ranked in the bottom half of the major league teams (18th out of 30).  It took several years to change the thinking of the organization in terms of implementing findings from their data analytics efforts.  The Astros went from low-ranking team to World Series winners in 2017. How did Luhnow turn this organization around? Data analytics.  It took time and convincing.  It took  knowing what data and changes would produce the greatest improvements. As business owners, what can we learn from the data analytics Luhnow and the Astros implemented? 1.	Measure what matters. Pinpoint data/metrics that are key to growing your business.  Look beyond customer service, price, and product lines.  Make a connection with your potential clients.  Use the analytics tools within your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  What plays a role in your future success?  2.	Think long-term. You need to know where you are and then determine where you want to go.  Every decision should be made while keeping the target in mind.  In the case of the Astros’ success, they began to coach younger players into the players of professional teams.  In business, if it means grooming summer interns, invest in it.  3.	Build relationships. As you build analytics into your business, collaborate with your people.  Discuss.  Consider their opinions.  There will always be a human side to data.  There are often extenuating circumstances that account for extreme highs and lows.  Your people involved in the day-to-day of your organization will know those situations and can offer insight.  You have chosen your team, trust them.  Above all, remember these words from Luhnow, “And we’ve proven that when you combine the information from the technology and analytics with the human opinion, you get the best possible result. Either one separately gives you suboptimal results”.  (De Smet) Sources: De Smet, A.  (2018, June). How the Houston Astros are Winning Through Advanced Analytics.  Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/how-the-houston-astros-are-winning-through-advanced-analytics Data analytics, data driven business, social media managementWhat do you do when you are short on cash but really need to move your business forward?  Without a solid plan, you could end up wasting that short supply.  What’s a business owner to do?

Let’s look at America’s favorite summer pastime…baseball.

Now, you may be thinking, “What does baseball have to do with helping me win at business?”

Turns out, more than you think.

Meet Jeff Luhnow, General Manager for the Houston Astros.  He inherited a team with lackluster performance.  For a few years, they suffered a staggering loss record (one season, 111 losses out of 162 games).  In terms of paying their players, the Astros ranked in the bottom half of the major league teams (18th out of 30).  It took several years to change the thinking of the organization in terms of implementing findings from their data analytics efforts.  The Astros went from low-ranking team to World Series winners in 2017.

How did Luhnow turn this organization around? Data analytics.  It took time and convincing.  It took  knowing what data and changes would produce the greatest improvements.

As business owners, what can we learn from the data analytics Luhnow and the Astros implemented?

1.      Measure what matters.

Pinpoint data/metrics that are key to growing your business.  Look beyond customer service, price, and product lines.  Make a connection with your potential clients.  Use the analytics tools within your website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  What plays a role in your future success?

2.      Think long-term.

You need to know where you are and then determine where you want to go.  Every decision should be made while keeping the target in mind.  In the case of the Astros’ success, they began to coach younger players into the players of professional teams.  In business, if it means grooming summer interns, invest in it.

3.      Build relationships.

As you build analytics into your business, collaborate with your people.  Discuss.  Consider their opinions.  There will always be a human side to data.  There are often extenuating circumstances that account for extreme highs and lows.  Your people involved in the day-to-day of your organization will know those situations and can offer insight.  You have chosen your team, trust them.

Above all, remember these words from Luhnow, “And we’ve proven that when you combine the information from the technology and analytics with the human opinion, you get the best possible result. Either one separately gives you suboptimal results”.  (De Smet)

Sources:

De Smet, A.  (2018, June). How the Houston Astros are Winning Through Advanced Analytics.  Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/how-the-houston-astros-are-winning-through-advanced-analytics

Data analytics, data driven business, social media management

Leave a Comment

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