Who could resist a movie with Brad Pitt?
In Moneyball, which is based on the 2003 book of the same name by Michael Lewis, Pitt plays Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Pitt or no Pitt, I normally stay away from sports movies. But Moneyball is no ordinary sports movie. It’s a lesson in hiring to which all small- and large-business owners should pay attention.
Baseball’s Mistake in Identifying Top Talent
The basic premise behind Moneyball is that baseball scouts have recruiting all wrong. For more than a century, they’ve been relying on statistics like batting average and runs batted in (RBI) to assess players’ future performance on Major League teams.
Worse, more often than not they “go with their gut” when making hiring decisions, letting personal feelings about a player, how he looks in a uniform, and the role they picture him having on the team, influence their selections.
Billy Beane’s Lean and Mean Hiring Machine
Once Billy Beane realized that neither the objective nor subjective measures being used correlated with team wins, he turned the whole system on its head. Beane worked with Athletics’ data analysts to reveal the key factor in predicting future player success: the on-base percentage. The more effectively a player can control the strike zone, the better he’ll perform overall.
Fortunately for the Athletics, this quality was cheaper to obtain than traditionally valued attributes, and despite being outspent by $80 million by teams like the New York Yankees, Billy Beane’s Athletics were competitive and strong.
For advice on how you can hire like Billy Beane (and save a bundle), read the full article at the AMEX Open Forum.