Archives For change

Innovate like Moneyball

September 28, 2011 — 9 Comments

Confession:

I have a romantic love affair with Baseball.  It may be weird to you but it isn’t to me.

I left my baseball love, St. Louis, seven years ago to move down and be with wife Brooke. I have quite enjoyed Nashville but the physical distance from St. Louis baseball only grew my love for the game.  Nashville unfortunately isn’t known as a baseball town but when I meet another “real” fan of the game, we immediately are friends regardless our favorite team.  These days, I follow box scores like it is my balance sheet.

Brooke and I just watched Moneyball (2011) starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  This is based on MIchael Lewis’ bestselling 2003 book.  Hands down, this is the finest baseball movie since Bull Durham/Field of Dreams.  Critics call Moneyball the baseball movie for nerds but I think it is made for all of us.  It has inspired me to act and here is why.

If you have not see the movie, here is a summary.  Faced with putting together a baseball roster 1/4 the budget of the NY Yankees, General Manager of the Oakland A’s Billy Beane had enough.  Year after year, he would develop amazing players only to be robbed by them in free agency by rich teams like the Yankees or Red Sox.  Instead of drafting players solely by basic stats like batting average, home runs, and RBIs, with assistance,  he employed computer-generated analysis and found a better way to rate players. This idea stressed the greater importance of “on base percentage” (hits plus walks and being hit by pitches), which gives their team a statistical advantage over time.  And it worked albeit with heavy opposition of the idea for his first season in 2002.

Was it easy?  No.

Did the “establishment” scouts cry foul and think he was crazy?  Yes

Moneyball should awaken the “innovative spirit” within all of us.  Whether in business, school, personal life, church, or your little league team, we must pay attention to the dragon that needs to be woken in us.

I lead a marketing team in publishing and there isn’t a day that goes by when I just wish there was a standard to go by.  Marketing Plans I wrote only 6 months ago can seem archaic compared to what is needed in today’s complex publishing environment.  I think in “context” so it is particularly harder for me to stretch to innovate and think through better ways of doing things.  But the past is the past and we can still learn from it.  But…

The world is changing faster than I’m writing these words.

So here is where we go.  Here is where I need to go with you.

When someone says “that’s just the way it it is” or “that’s how it worked before”…

Pause.

Question the status quo.

Focus on the outcome and that will tell you how to play in today’s world. 

If it didn’t work today; research, try, fail, try again, and keep learning.  You will get there.  But you can’t just keep pulling out the “driver” when you need what you really need is to hit a cut 3 iron. (I apologize for the golf lingo, I can’t help myself)

Innovate and swing away.

Any military commander who has stepped foot on a battlefield will probably attest that whatever plan they originally had didn’t exactly go as expected.

As in the case of some brave Navy Seals in Pakistan, their Black Hawk helicopter had mechanical problems when landing at their target.  Did they stop and complain about it?  I don’t think so but I bet there was a four letter word or two thrown out to describe how they felt. They had a window of opportunity and needed to move forward. They ultimately adapted to the situation, achieved their goal, and destroyed what was left of their damaged Black Hawk. They moved forward.

In the miniseries Band of Brothers (2001) (Episode 7), Easy Company is assaults a town of Foy. The company got caught in mortar fire because they stopped moving. Bullets were flying. They were incapacitated. It wasn’t until they started moving again that they were able to achieve their goal and take the town. It wasn’t easy though and it took brave people willing to step out to move the company forward.

Life is not that much different.

  • You didn’t get that job you wanted.
  • You got cut in a layoff.
  • You got that B instead of an A in a class that kept you from making honor roll.
  • You suffered an injury losing out on that sports dream.
  • You got cut from the basketball team. (yes, I did)
  • You lost a loved one.
  • You are a parent and your child’s makes a poor choice.
  • Your business didn’t perform well this year.
Many of these things above have happened to me throughout my journey. I felt like anyone would feel; loss, failure, frustration, etc. You may have some amazing dreams out there and they have felt shattered at points in time. I can promise you that whatever plan you have in your head it is not going to happen exactly as you expect. I am still learning from my own life experience. Life is full of surprises and this is why lessons are meant to be learned in the process.  If you want to remember a handful of bible verses, never forget Jeremiah 29:11,
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord….”
 Pick up the Bible and read the rest.  There is a promise for us when these bullets start flying. And don’t think they won’t.
What do you do next?
You keep moving. You learn. You adapt. Trust. You will overcome with God’s help.
Be adaptable
Be open to change
Be open what God wants for you when the bullets start flying.