10 Lesson’s From Moneyball That Have Nothing to Do with Data

We recently came across this great article we wanted to share with you via [Paul Hebert](http://fistfuloftalent.com/2013/03/10-lessons-from-moneyball-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-data.html ) (March 08, 2013 at 10:20AM).
Hope you enjoy it:

The HR and management world had a datagasm when the movie Moneyball hit the theaters in 2011.  Although the book (which is much, much better IMHO) had been out for 8 years it took the writing of Aaron Sorkin and the looks of Brad Pitt to really crank up HR folks and the business blogosphere to 11.  Heck – I think I may have posted on Moneyball myself (post from December 2006 here.)

Most of the posts focused on changing the game – looking for new ways to compete that shake up the status quo.  That was my take on it back in 2006.

But I’m older now.  I’m wiser now (maybe – some would disagree) and I think there were many more lessons to be learned in the movie/book than the most obvious one.

So to revisit Moneyball.  One.  More.  Time.

Lessons From Moneyball

  1.  Pay attention.  In the movie Billy Beane noticed in the meeting with Cleveland that the real “brains” of the outfit was Peter Brand – not the “traditional” leadership.  Billy was watching the dynamic play out and identified what others may have overlooked due to title and position.  The lesson?  Pay attention to who/what is really driving the decisions in an organization.  It’s not always the person at the top of the org chart.
  2. Know when someone still has value to the organization – but maybe in a new role.  When Billy Beane talks to Hatteberg about joining Oakland as a First Basemen he knew that Hatteberg had value to the team but not in his historic role.  Leaders see potential – leaders see opportunities.  Leaders aren’t blinded by historical points of view.
  3. Break the connection.  Billy Beane, frustrated with his head scout pops his head into a room as asks one of his staff if they had ever played baseball.  When the staffer says no Billy appoints him the new head scout.  While most people would cringe at the thought of putting someone without experience into an important leadership role, Beane saw the change as a way to break the scouting staff’s reliance on history and “the way we’ve always done it” mentality.  When have you taken a risk like that?  Could you?
  4.  Treat people like professionals.  When talking with Peter Brand about letting a player go he tells him to treat the player like a grownup – like a professional.  How often do we really do this in business?  Do we try to sugar-coat news in order to make it more palatable?  Does that create more communications problems than it solves?  Treat your employees like professionals.  Be straight with them.
  5. Management is about removing roadblocks – not micromanaging.  When Billy meets with the owner about the team and how Billy plans on being successful the owner doesn’t start second-guessing Billy.  He asks a question more leaders should.  He asks… “What will stop you from achieving your objective?”  In other words what are the roadblocks?  The movie doesn’t take it any further from there but in the real world a good leader listens then removes those issues.  Allow your people to succeed.  Don’t do it for them – remove the things that stop them from being successful on their own.
  6. Don’t pull rank too early.  During the movie there is a long-running disagreement between Beane and the team manager played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Beane tells the manager to play Hatteberg.  The manager doesn’t.  Then Beane meets with him and says – “maybe it was my fault and I wasn’t clear – play Hatteberg – that’s not a request.”  Howe (the manager) still doesn’t play Hatteberg so Beane trades Pena and removes the problem.  What I found interesting is that Beane initially took responsibility for the problem (ie:  communication), then escalated it to an “order” and then – rather than getting rid of the manager – got rid of the problem by removing Pena from the choices the manager had.  I’m guessing that Beane thought the manager had more to offer across the board than Pena did so keeping the manager was a better choice.
  7. Explain the why behind the how.  While it seemed to me to be a bit late in the process, Beane and Brand met with the players and showed them how the statistics they were using actually equated to better performance – getting the players to see the method behind the madness.  I think they could have done it earlier but the message is the same – explain don’t dictate.  Use success to show how change will equate to more success.
  8. Enlist your elder statesmen/stateswomen.  Beane has a frank conversation with David Justice a 37 years old player who most thought was on his way out of the majors.  Beane explains his situation honestly (like a grown up) and asks him to take on the role of influencer – as the “leader” in the clubhouse.  Who within your organization can be that influencer?  Who can you tap to help move your message through the organization?  Don’t ignore those that have been around awhile and have subtle influence in the company.
  9. Leaders let others shine.  When the media starts talking about the Oakland A’s success they attribute it to Art Howe, the team manger.  Noah Hill’s character gets a bit upset about not getting credit but Billy Beane ignores it and focuses on the results.  Beane didn’t care who got credit – he cared about the team’s record and whether they were advancing toward the ultimate goal for the organization.  Can you say the same thing?  Can you stomach it when someone else gets credit for your work?
  10. Leaders set higher bars.  When the rest of the world was singing praises about Oakland winning 20 games in a row and moving on to the playoffs, Billy Beane said they would need to win series to really have achieved his goal of changing the game.  Most people would be happy with 3/4th of a goal as big as the one Beane set out to achieve – real leaders have higher expectations.  Real leaders push harder and further.  I think real leadership understands that in order to have any success you have to set your sights just a bit further down the road than the rest of the world.  Beane did that.

So there ya go… 10 lessons from Moneyball that had nothing to do with big data, statistics or breaking a business model.  It’s all about great management.

Now the question is – how much of Oakland’s success was due to Sabermetrics or just the result of being better managers?

To quote another movie – “I think it is a little of both.”

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Put Your Employees First

Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, Ltd., explains how inverting the management pyramid leads to superior organizational performance.

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Create a Life with Purpose

Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and best-selling author, discusses his new book and explains why it’s essential to follow your commitments 100% of the time.

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6 Steps For More Effective Delegation

We recently came across this great article we wanted to share with you via [Michelle Randall](http://www.fastcompany.com/3006643/6-steps-more-effective-delegation ) (March 06, 2013 at 06:02AM).
Hope you enjoy it:

DIY should not be the MO of the CEO.

Delegating is a great way to ensure that more tasks get done in less time, and it also builds team capacity. Unfortunately, a lot of managers don’t pay enough attention to the delegation process, and thus fail to reap the benefits. Are you a successful delegator?

There are six steps to successfully delegating tasks. The problem is that most managers only do one or two of them, and then, when a task isn’t completed to their satisfaction, complain that their employees aren’t good enough to get the job done.

As a coach, I’ve seen scores of executives from myriad companies do this. Getting outstanding results from delegating demands following a formula. Only once this formula is mastered is it fair to evaluate whether you really have the right people for the job. The good news is that employees are rarely the problem. It’s a lot easier and much less expensive for a manager to learn a new approach than to replace staff.

Here are the six steps you should work through when delegating:

1. Prepare

Employees can’t deliver quality results if the task delegated to them isn’t fully thought out, or if expectations keep changing. Take the time and develop the discipline to map out exactly what you’re asking for. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2. Assign

Once you’ve taken the time to map out exactly what you’re looking for, you need to convey that information to your employees. Be sure to include clear information on timing, budget, and context, and set expectations for communication and updates, including frequency, content, and format.

3. Confirm understanding

One of the most common mistakes made in delegating is assuming that employees understand what you want, rather than making sure that they do. Confirming understanding only takes about 60 seconds, but is the most important determinant of success or failure.

The best way to confirm understanding is to ask your employees to paraphrase the request or assignment in their own words. If you’re not comfortable doing that (many managers feel–often correctly–that it makes them sound like a kindergarten teacher), you should, at the very least, ask questions to make sure employees understand all aspects of what’s required.

4. Confirm commitment

This is another part of the delegation process that most managers skip. They often just assume that employees have accepted the tasks they’ve been given. The most important part of a relay race is the handing of the baton to the next runner. Runners spend a huge amount of time learning this skill. It should be no different in the workplace. Commitment means making sure you’ve successfully handed over the baton.

Confirm that employees are committed to the expected results, and to the process that’s been set out (including the schedule, budget, and tools), and that their overall goals for the task are aligned with yours. Make sure they’re aware of any consequences (for the company and for themselves) that may result if they fail to deliver on the desired outcomes.

5. Avoid “reverse delegating”

Many managers are extremely overworked. Sometimes, this is because their employees are better at delegating than they are: Managers often end up completing tasks they had delegated to others, because those tasks somehow end up back on their plate. I call this “reverse delegating.”

It’s rarely, if ever, necessary for a manager to take back a task that he or she had delegated to someone else. (If this is necessary, it likely means that not enough time was spent on the preparation stage, and that time, resource, or other constraints have led to problems that you did not foresee.)

If an employee reaches an impasse, treat it as a learning opportunity. Coach the employee through it, making sure he or she has the resources and knowledge needed to complete the task. That way, you’ll still be free to focus on other things, and the employee will be better equipped to carry out similar tasks in the future. The bottom line? Don’t take tasks back.

6. Ensure Accountability

Two-way communication is a key part of delegating. Finding out at the completion date that a deliverable hasn’t been completed or has been done unsatisfactorily is the nightmare scenario of delegating. That’s why you need to make sure your employees are accountable for the task.

Accountability is key to the process of delegation: It means employees are regularly communicating with you about the status of the deliverable and the timing of delivery so that there are no surprises at the eleventh hour.
The delegation process becomes faster and more fluid the more you do it. Once you’ve mastered it, it will become a part of your managerial DNA, and you’ll consistently reap outstanding results.

–Michelle Randall is an executive coach and management consultant. Throughout the past decade, her clients have included Fortune 500 executives and breakout entrepreneurs along with their teams. Author of several books, Michelle’s newest: Life Worth Living: A Practical Guide to Extreme Executive Effectiveness comes out later this month. Follow her @enrichingleader or subscribe to her newsletter, Relentless Results.

[Image: Flickr user Lou.Hadley]

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Finance: What Managers Need to Know

Joe Knight, coauthor of the Financial Intelligence series, gives you a crash course in reading the numbers.

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Learn About the Ivy Exec CrunchBase Profile

This is a review of the Ivy Exec CrunchBase company profile. The company page has a lot of information concerning the development of Ivy Exec as well as major milestones videos, people information, and general information about the company. The most prominent part of the website page is the Milestones section. There are many milestones that the company has put up ranging from its very beginnings when it was just launching all the way to the latest updates which are talking about how they’ve grown past 200,000 members. The milestones section is extensive and it also has many press releases where people can find out more about the company.
Ivy Exec CrunchBase Snapshot

The people on the Ivy Exec CrunchBase page

To the left side of the page General Information section and the People section are most notable. It definitely helps to have the contact information about the company plainly visible. That includes its website, blog, Twitter username, and phone number. That way people can get in touch with the company very easily through many channels. Below this part of the page is the People section and it offers a lot of information about who are the people at the company at the upper levels of management. Of course you have the CEO, Elena Bajic, but you also have the vice presidents and board members listed. This overview of the company probably does not include everybody; however, it gives a good snapshot of the more experienced people in the company.

Information about Ivy Exec developments and products

The nice thing about the Ivy Exec CrunchBase page is that when you scroll down you will see the videos from YouTube about the company and how it grew. Currently there are three videos of the founder talking about the company at different times during its development. This includes raising money, being interviewed on Reuters, and then also doing a segment on CNBC. That exposure must have definitely been great for the company. Watching the videos you can see the passion of the founder and how much hard work the company has done over the years.

If you keep scrolling down you will see the screenshots and products sections of the Ivy Exec CrunchBase profile. Those are really helpful to see how the company products look and also what they are. There you will see the screenshots of the homepage, the Ivy Exec Mentor Network, as well as the page of the website for companies hiring top talent. All of these have been uploaded to CrunchBase either in 2012 or 2013. So it might depend on when you’re reading this article as those pages probably have changed or have been redesigned. If you go to the bottom you will also see the products that are listed that Ivy Exec offers. Probably there could be more products the company has but for now there are three that are put up. The most notable ones are the Ivy Exec Mentor Network, Ivy Suite for Employers, and the Ivy Select Job Posting. There are also descriptions about the products and screenshots of how those pages look. In my opinion the website design has been very well done and is very consistent across all products.

Hopefully this overview of the Ivy Exec CrunchBase company page has been helpful and will let you understand more about the company and all its different components. Of course CrunchBase is constantly being edited and new developments at the company might prompt new edits. However, it still helps to have some idea about what the company does and where to find out more about it. Speaking of which, you can also see on the very top right of the page there are more than 10 external links leading to the various social media profiles of Ivy Exec but also other pages like the BusinessWeek profile on them or even the company YouTube channel that the company has. Those are probably good follow up posts to learn more about the company and what it does. Thank you and till the next time. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments section.

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REPOST: MBA Internships: How to Avoid Job Search Disaster

In this Businessweek article, Francesca Di Meglio lists down the common pitfalls MBA students should be aware of as they spend the next couple of months searching for the perfect internship.

Image source: Businessweek

If you’re a first-year MBA, chances are you’ll be spending the next few months trying to land the perfect internship. This much you already know: It has to help you acquire experience for your résumé, contacts for your network, and satisfaction for your soul. What you may not realize is that there are common pitfalls you should avoid like the plague. These are five biggies:

Trying Too Hard

Let’s face it. MBA students tend to be overachievers. When they see their classmates clamoring for positions at the start of on-campus recruiting in the winter, which often includes only a select group of industries and companies, they feel as though they must throw their hat in the ring. That’s fine if you want a job in banking or consulting. But it may not be right for those aiming to work for a startup or a nontraditional company that might not firm up its hiring plans until well into the spring, says Jonathan Masland, director of the Career Development Office at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

Overcoming this mistake is as simple as waiting for the right internship. That doesn’t mean doing nothing during the winter, Masland says. Instead, you should be putting out feelers and networking with people now, so that come springtime, you’re top of mind with those who make hiring decisions. And pay no attention to what your classmates are doing. Patience is a virtue, even for MBAs.

Being a Bad Networker

“Networking is not a to-do list,” says Nancy T. Nguyen, author of The Networking Diary (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, April 2012) and a 2009 MBA graduate of DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. “It’s a lifestyle.” What many MBAs do is attend networking events without really getting to know anyone. “You can do tons of company research, refine your résumé like crazy, do endless mock interviews,” says Stacy Blackman of the admissions firm Stacy Blackman Consulting. “But ultimately you are being hired by human beings, and you have to be able to connect with them.”

This is an easy fix. Get out in the world, talk to people, ask them questions, and make sure they know who you are. Nguyen says she made a list of people with jobs she wanted in human resources, interviewed them, and learned from them. She ultimately decided she hated human resources, but without those connections, she might not have realized it was the wrong path for her until much later.

Knowing Nothing About Yourself

Before you can do anything right, you have to know where you’re headed. Failing to know yourself, your interests, and strengths can put you behind in the internship search. Self-reflection and analysis are the keys to avoid this mistake, says Masland. Then you can prepare properly, network with the appropriate people, and pursue your actual interests.

Entering the Black Hole

Today’s MBA students are used to pushing through applications and résumés from the comfort of their home computers. Sometimes, they are tempted to click on “send” for every job they see because it’s so simple, says Nguyen. Applying to everything usually results in getting no job at all. Instead, customize your résumé and network and look for openings that appeal to you and for which you are a strong candidate. “What they need to be doing,” Nguyen says of MBA job seekers, “is getting out and knocking on doors.”

Becoming a Nervous Ninny

Many MBAs lack the relaxing gene. They get stressed, and then they make silly etiquette mistakes with those who could help their careers. “Don’t be afraid to approach folks from your target companies and chat with them,” Blackman advises. “Research has shown that employers are more likely to hire the people they like and trust than those who are most supremely qualified.”

Ivy Exec puts a new spin on online job search by combining advanced job search technology with a personalized touch, giving its members an effective way to advance their career. This website  provides more information on how to become a member.

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Avoiding a crappy holiday at the work party

Office holiday parties are a tightrope between successfully boosting relationships with coworkers in a more casual setting and doing a catastrophic faux pas that would end one’s career in its tracks. Therefore, these parties are seen with a mix of anticipation and regret, but mostly the latter.

Image credit: tecca.com

There are many ways to make the holiday party more enjoyable while reducing the risks it poses on one’s professional development. The most important consideration is, of course, attendance. The party must be seen as a mandatory event. One must attend the party early and, should it not be to one’s liking, make a quick and discreet exit at least an hour after one’s arrival. One must dress for the occasion conservatively; the bold and the daring should be saved for another time.

Image credit: resumark.com

Self-control should be top priority. One mustn’t drink too much, eat too much, or cut too much rug in the dance floor. Especially important is avoiding romantic liaisons with the person one fancies in these work-related conditions. After all, who wants to end up with embarrassing pictures and statuses all over Facebook?

Image credit avenuecalgary.com

Finally, one must be physically and mentally present throughout the party. To be truly immersed in the party, the employee must be willing to socialize with those in the office, giving casual company full attention for at least one to two hours. This means being off the phone for that time—daunting for some, but survivable.

Catch more employment and career advancement tips and updates from Ivy Exec’s blog.

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How Different Generations of Americans Try to Find Work

The following article from TIME discusses how Americans have changed in the job market.


Do millenials approach the job hunt differently than their older counterparts in Gen X or the Baby Boom generation? It turns out that they do, sometimes in surprising ways. For one thing, despite the fact that millennials are highly likely to be underemployed or just plain unemployed, they are more optimistic than older generations about their prospects for finding work. Nearly 9 in 10 millennial job seekers (88%) describes themselves as optimistic about finding a new job, compared to 81% of Gen X and 73% of Boomers.

That’s just one of the differences among generations we found in a new study called “The Multi-Generational Job Search,” by my company and Beyond.com. We surveyed 5,268 American job seekers, including 742 members of Gen Y (18- to 29-year-olds), 1,676 Gen Xers (30-47) and 2,850 Baby Boomers (48-67) to see how the various generations went about job hunting differently.

In many ways, the job hunt is the same no matter what your age. All generations spend an average of between 5 and 20 hours per week searching for jobs. The study shows that all generations largely focus their job search energy online instead of offline, which is a big difference from a decade ago when people couldn’t rely on social networks to connect with recruiters. Despite the rise of social networking, the vast majority of all generations relies on job boards as a primary resource — Baby Boomers especially (87 percent), but a high percentage of younger job seekers as well (77 percent of Gen Y). People still value job boards because they raise awareness for open positions and because it’s easy to submit a resume through them.

Similarities aside, there are several notable differences in how Americans in varying age demographics approach a job search. Here is what we found:

Generation Y. Relative to older generations, Gen Y is the most optimistic about the future and is willing to do whatever it takes to build a career, including going back to school, starting a business or moving back in with their parents. Despite a tough jobs market and the strong likelihood that they have student loan debt, 88 percent of millennial job seekers say they are optimistic about finding a new job. After all, they do have their whole working lives ahead of them. The fact that, overall, members of Gen Y are finding work faster than older generations surveyed may also have something to do with their optimism. The jobs millennials are getting may not be ideal — lots in retail and categories that don’t require a college degree — but at least the job hunt isn’t being dragged out forever.

Nearly half of Gen Y has considered going back to school instead of continuing their job search (35% of Gen X and 23% of Boomers), and nearly one-third are being forced to move back in with their parents (31% of Gen Y, 24% of Gen X and 13% of Boomers). One more difference about millennials is that, naturally enough for a generation that came of age with Twitter and Facebook, they’re more likely to use social media in the course of the job hunt. Before interviewing, Gen Y members are more likely to follow and interact with the company’s social media profiles over older generations (24% of Gen Y, vs. 19% of Gen X and 16% of Boomers).

Generation X. Workers raised on Nirvana and John Hughes movies are likely to be parents with kids in the house today, and they value job security and have suffered more stress and frustration due to unemployment relative to other generations. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Gen Xers say they are stressed due to unemployment, compared to only 61 percent of millennials who feel the same way. Many in Gen X have families they have to feed and provide for, as well as mortgages and other responsibilities, so unemployment has a major impact on their daily emotional state. For this reason, as well as others, Gen X is more focused on job security over a higher salary and workplace flexibility.

Baby Boomers. Interestingly enough, the children of the ’60s are using social networks, especially LinkedIn, more than other generations for their job search — 29 percent, compared to 23 percent of Gen Y and 27 percent of Gen X. Also somewhat surprising, the Boomers are the most likely to conduct an online job search, though the vast majority of all job seekers do so — 96 percent of Boomers, compared to 92 percent and 95 percent of Gen Y and Gen X, respectively. Boomers, it seems, may be slightly more likely to search online for jobs because they’ve been unemployed longer, and the kinds of jobs they tend to seek (corporate, well-paid) are found at job boards and other online sources. Baby Boomers also take more pains to prepare for job interviews than the younger generations: 85 percent of Boomers take the time to view the company’s website before interviewing, and 64 percent search for news related to the company beforehand, compared to 78% and 58% for Gen X and 71% and 53% for Gen Y. Again, the need for better preparation may be related to the kinds of jobs Boomers are applying for, in which a solid understanding and interest in the business is required before being hired.

Much, much less surprising survey results point out that Boomers are less likely to consider going back to school as an alternative to finding a job (they’re too old to bother), and that Boomers are more likely to say they’ve suffered from age discrimination.

Dan Schawbel is a Gen Y career expert and the founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting company. He is also the #1 international bestselling author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future and was named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 list in 2010. He speaks on topics such as Gen Y workforce management to companies such as IBM, CitiGroup and NBC Universal. 

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A resume in the eyes of a recruiter

Image Credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com

Search professionals lead the charge when it comes to recruiting new talent. Chances are, your first conversation with a new employer begins with a recruiter. You speak either with an external search professional or an internal representative of the firm. In either case, the recruiter’s basic job is to screen you based on:

  1. The logic of your career progression
  2. Your project work, and
  3. Your motivations for seeking a new position.

Your objective should be to address any questions about your career progression and relevant work, and move to a discussion about motivation. A conversation about motivation allows you to build a strong initial relationship with the recruiter, and provides opportunities for you to ask questions about the firm and evaluate the position. In order to have this discussion, the recruiter first needs to know that you are a basic fit for the job.

Image Credit: fastweb.com

A good resume gives you a head start in addressing a recruiter’s initial concerns. No one wants to risk his or her reputation by presenting a candidate outside the basic job spec.

One excellent way to provide basic information is to create a two-part resume. The first part, a CV, provides a basic outline of your career progression. The second part, the project portfolio, highlights your most relevant work. Stick to the basics and avoid exaggerated sales language.

Image Credit: theglasshammer.com

Jason Sanders is Vice President of Executive Search at Ivy Exec, a web-based recruiting company that combines next generation technology with human power to deliver customized hiring solutions targeting high caliber professionals to help place them in executive jobs. Ivy Exec can help you hire great talent, to learn more check out Ivy Exec.

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