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As a young girl living in New York, I was always fascinated by baseball. I wasn’t interested in baseball, but I was interested in managing the baseball team.
My love for baseball came from attending games at Yankee Stadium. From the hot dog stands to the cotton candy to the screaming fans, it was always an exciting time. The game showed me that anything is possible if you believe in your dreams. I didn’t know that to believe in your dreams you also have to develop the right team, support the right management and analyze the right data. Decades later, I think managing a baseball team is very similar to managing a team for a small business. It takes more than hitting the ball to win the World Series. It takes a group of dedicated players.
The game of baseball has an extensive list of performance data that helps determine the best strategy to play to win. Most successful baseball managers today keep statistics for every baseball player. Still, I’ve seen many small businesses forgo capturing or analyzing data to see the negative impact of poor readings. The simplest rule to follow in baseball and business is: what is measured is improved.
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Baseball is a business statistics game that focuses on measuring a team’s best performance. In baseball, fans can see the leaderboards and participate in the moment-by-moment review of real-time data points. The leaderboards show each team member’s name and how many runs, hits and errors were completed in each inning.
The business of baseball includes similar Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track their progress against their operational goals. Think about it. Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is one of many stats used to measure how often a player hits the ball during play.
Likewise, small businesses follow sales boards that measure each salesperson’s day-to-day performance. Sales boards track each employee, the number of leads received, the number of leads closed, and they give a score to each employee to determine overall performance. In business, the return on sale helps to assess business efficiency based on the amount of profit earned from a sales transaction. Even if you see things as a game of life, you still need to test and measure for optimal results.
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So how would I prepare if I had the chance to lead the Yankees, even if it’s just for a short time? Easy.
I would focus first on analyzing the operational data of each herd.
I would surround myself with experts and build a strong team of performance analysts who can guide my decision making process.
While I’m not an expert baseball manager, I believe that if someone from the outside looks at your team’s performance, companies will see things differently and can lead to better decisions. The goal is to see all angles of a situation and not one particular data point or metric.
The reality is that business and baseball decisions often rely on multiple data points, so studying patterns from different perspectives reduces tunnel vision that can arise from being too close to the scenario. I doubt I’ll ever lead the Yankees, but I still use the lessons of baseball to hit better home runs in my business career. You should too.