2011’s Moneyball was a film that follows Oakland Athletic’s General Manager Billy Beane. Beane had an uncanny ability to build a team that could compete with a unique approach. His new way of thinking changed baseball forever. The film was most popular with a sports audience, but the film holds many important business lessons applicable to almost any industry. Read on to find out what can be learned from a viewing!
The Moneyball Approach
Early on in the film, Beane (Brad Pitt) sits at a table with other baseball recruiters for the Oakland A’s. The recruiters get caught up in personalities and profiles. Beane finds this incredibly frustrating and responds, “You’ve got to think differently”. In Moneyball, what this means is focusing on numbers and statistics vs contract price to find the most efficient baseball team. However this theory is highly applicable. Apple’s ‘Think Different’ is a similar mantra. It’s incredibly important to always be on the forefront of innovation. Staying ahead of the curve will give you an advantage.
Sitting down and thinking about a different way to look at something can do a surprising amount for an employee in almost any position. While employees may not realize it, there is almost always a smarter and faster way of accomplishing a task. Finding ways to be more efficient will not only lighten your workload and let you focus elsewhere, but it will also make you popular with your boss.
The movie also provides some great insight on dealing with competition. Every industry has it’s competitors, and it’s very easy to want to simply mirror your most successful competition. In the film Beane stresses they not rely on other team’s strategies, “If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there”. What this means is they can’t pretend to be someone else, because they are inherently different.
Setting Yourself Apart
If you begin to behave as your competition does, you lose everything unique to your company that is advantageous. Just because a recipe for success is working elsewhere doesn’t mean it will work for you; you just might not have the right ingredients. Knowing how your competitors operate is great knowledge to have, but trying to imitate them will not lead to success.
Since Beane is dealing with a small budget comparative to other Major League Baseball teams, he has to go to different sources for talent. A large part of this means seeking out young players fresh out of school. Beane is able to pick out undervalued baseball players who perform extremely well when given a chance. He learns all this simply from looking over statistics.
The same philosophy can be applied to hiring. Finding undervalued talent, or giving someone without a lot of experience a chance can go a long way. While there is the chance that they aren’t hard-working, getting a sense of someone’s drive and ambition may help you find the right candidate. Given the correct opportunity, someone in this position may develop and become extremely successful, and paying their salary will be a bargain.
Ultimately, the end lesson of Moneyball is that there is always a different way of thinking, and it may be right for your organization. Never stop innovating and trying to look at things from a different angle. You may just hit it out of the park.