Moneyball: The 5 Performance Management Lessons for Managers

Performance Management Lessons Learned

The book and the movie are about the low budget Oakland Athletics and Billy Beane their general manager. By following the conventional approach and with his low budget Billy Beane was not able to compete with the top teams with big budgets which can afford buying the top players. At the same time he didn't like the idea to compete with other teams with similar budgets and forget about competing with the leaders.

Instead the general manager was thinking about using different approaches and he focused on performance measurement.

By evaluating all the players out there within his budget based on the performance and avoiding any typical bias based on perceptions such as personality and status which are not relevant to the performance of the players, he succeeded to build a team of undervalued professional baseball players who can deliver the required performance.

Before joining the team many of the players had been completely rejected from the big league. While other teams looked to buy the top players (the most expensive players in the league) Billy with the second lowest budget in the league focused on the numbers instead.

This is a great example of comparing a business operating and managing with the traditional way of doing business versus a business which understands and focuses on results driven strategy.

In addition this is example of a business strategy which differentiates based on using a performance management system only – there is no new product or service involved! The differentiation comes from the way business is managed – based on and decisions made based on facts.

Are you the typical manager in your industry or are you the results and performance driven manager like Billy Beane? Are you focused on what really drives performance in your business? Are you able to avoid the typical bias in evaluating performance?

Moneyball can teach managers the following 5 lessons:

  1. Always focus on the results you want to achieve regardless of your budget and current position. Low budget doesn't always mean you can't compete against the top players in your industry.
  2. Measure the right things – avoid bias, old habits and the way business has been done for years. Focus on different priorities and what really drives your business results.
  3. Be willing to take the risk based on your numbers. If you measure the right things and you understand your numbers you can build the winning strategy – act on your information and take the risk.
  4. Give the support and training to your team to succeed. Different strategies will require different team building approaches to achieve the highest performance.
  5. Discipline in implementation. Believe in your strategy, live your strategy and stick to it. If you’ve done your homework and made the decisions based on relevant facts stick to your strategy and continuously improve your team performance and the results will come.