It’s almost summer, which means baseball is in full swing. The game that many of us grew up on has recently gone through a major shift; one that small business owners can replicate to help their organizations. It came about through the use of data and today we’ll discuss how the national pastime has changed and how you can use the same strategies to help make your business better.
Baseball’s Data Revolution
Baseball is one of America’s longest standing institutions and has been evolving along with American society for over 140 years. That’s why it is not that surprising that the increase in data collection would coincide with a major shift in the sport. You have to go back about 30 years to see where this all starts. For a long time, baseball statistics were viewed at face value. You had your home runs, your runs batted in, your win-loss record. Along came some baseball fans that were also looking to measure players differently. Known as SABRmetrics (named after the Society of Baseball Research), new statistics were created that helped fans, and more importantly, a set of innovative front office executives measure every part of the game. This information then started to be used to construct baseball teams. If you’ve read the book (or have seen the movie) Moneyball, this is essentially what it was about.
As data collection got better and better, more statistics were created to start judging player performance. The result in this not only changed the way teams put together their rosters, it led to players changing their approach entirely. A few years back, hitters would get paid more if they hit home runs and pitchers would get more money for striking out a lot of hitters. This led to one of the biggest changes in modern baseball, the increase of strikeouts across the board. Batters, trying to increase home run output, changed their swing approaches to try to get the ball in the air. Sure there were more home runs hit, but the whole game has been changed as a result of the increase in actionable data.
Data Can Change Your Business, Too
By collecting and utilizing data to make business decisions, you are doing so with much more knowledge than you would if you just made decisions off the cuff. For example, you may have had success in the past with the way that you measure employee performance. If you have workers that are reliable and have been working for you for a while, it stands to reason that you’ve done a good job measuring their performance. Through the use of data, you may actually discover that you have significant bias that is costing your business greatly. There is a place for the “gut feeling”, but it’s probably not on the bottom line of your business.
The truth is that many managers like to cherry-pick the numbers that support their opinions. This is doing nothing but hurting your endeavor. With the ability to take in and measure data, customize metrics, and all the other parts of business intelligence and business analytics, you could just find out that your business’ lack of growth could be because of manager bias.