you ever hear about the mysterious success of the Oakland A’s beginning in
2002? The true story was made famous in the book and the 2011 movie
the one sentence version. In 2002, the Oakland A’s, with a payroll 1/3 the
size of other teams, outperformed most other major league baseball
teams. And, they continued to do so for the next several years.1
does this story have to do with your company’s performance? Stay tuned.
how did the Oakland A’s achieve those results? The A’s “discovered”
baseball statistics that were far more predictive of winning baseball games
than batting average and RBI’s.
You might be wondering why “discovered”
is in quotes?
turns out that these “new” stats were not new at all. In fact, they had
been published and available to every major league baseball team every year for
more than 15 years.
Oakland A’s “discovered” these insights while other teams overlooked them. The
A’s then applied these insights to how they selected and managed players. In the process, The Oakland A’s built a
competitive advantage that left other teams in the dust wondering what
What About Your Company? What
overlooked opportunities, like those the Oakland A’s “discovered,” does your
company have to improve organizational performance and achieve record-setting
“We Don’t Have Time”
the economy is performing well, I often hear company leaders say, “Things are
going well and we’re making money. We don’t have time to improve company
get it. I’d probably say the same thing if I were in your shoes…until I
things are going well, the water rises for all boats. When things get
challenging, those companies with competitive advantages (think Oakland A’s)
outperform their competitors, sometimes for many years in a row.
Your Company’s Record-Setting Results?
setting results provide competitive advantages such as premium pricing, lower
costs, market awareness, customer loyalty and the chance to build lasting
are 5 insights your company can apply to achieve record setting results:
The top 10% of sales people in your industry sell twice as much as average sales people in your industry2
What is the make-up of your sales team and how could you hire or build more top performing sales people?
“A” player employees produce 4 times more of a financial return on investment to your company than “C” players.3
How are your “A Players” different than your “C Players?” How can you hire or build more “A Players?”
“C” players look and behave like “A” players during the interview process – making it more likely you’ll hire “C” players.
What questions should you have asked in the interview process in the past that would have revealed a “C player?”
What characteristics do “A Players” have that “C Players” don’t have at your company?
What questions will reveal the differences during future candidate interviews?
While every employee is unique, employee performance issues are not unique to each employee. Human behavior is highly predictable.4,5,6,7,8
How can you leverage this principle to predict and improve your company’s employee, team and organizational performance?
Culture is defined as the way a company habitually operates. Out of all the measures proposed to improve the culture of a company, there are only 5 culture metrics that actually improve company financial performance (4%-17%).9
Do your salespeople habitually call on companies that are not your ideal customers? Why is that?
Are your leaders habitually conflict-avoidant or habitually effective at having the tough conversations that improve employee and team performance?
Which organizational habits improve your company’s performance?
Which organizational habits, if they were more clearly spelled out, would improve every employee’s performance?
if things are going well at your company now, what is the one area of your
company that could be or should be delivering better operational and financial
challenges is that area of your company facing?
Undesired employee turnover
Can’t find right people
Under-performing teams – sales teams, project teams, leadership teams
Individual leader performance issues
Resistance to organizational change efforts (even at the leadership level) that are necessary to move the company forward
Building a culture focused on achieving record-setting and industry-leading results
Now, since I know how the brain works, your brain will soon start to think of all the reasons why “now is not the right time,” such as:
“We’re just too busy right now to work on improving our performance.”
“Those results might be possible, but not for us.”
“We brought in some training to improve results and it didn’t work.”
“We don’t have that in the budget.”
“I don’t have the energy for a huge change effort.”
“I don’t want to screw up “good” in order to take a chance on “great.”
These “reasonable” excuses come from the part
of the brain designed to conserve energy, resist
change and keep us safe. They are reasonable, however…
Cost of Doing Nothing
excuses are reasonable except when stacked up against the costs of doing
What happens when one of your “C” player sales people goes up against a competitor’s “A” player sales person?
What does a hiring mistakes cost your company? Go ahead, Google it. The average cost for a hiring mistake is, on average, 100% of the employee’s total annual compensation – the cost is much higher if you lose an “A” player.
What if a competitor innovates (think Oakland A’s, Amazon, Uber, etc.) and leaves your company behind?
In short, every one of the challenges listed
above costs your company hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars – every
Lasting Competitive Advantage
is your chance to improve competitive advantage and then, eventually, build lasting
Rice said it best; “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can
accomplish what others can’t”
About The Author:
Connolly is Founder & CEO of OrgEx, Inc.
For more than 30 years Jim has been helping companies:
employee/team performance and
by applying specific, proven and overlooked insights
do I do what I do? I help companies achieve record setting results (think
Oakland A’s) because record setting results are possible.
The urgency is that record setting results are achievable for your competitors as well.
The only question is whether it will be your company or your main competitor that gets left behind.
Lewis, M. (2013). Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game. New York: W.W. Norton.
Goleman, D. (2006). Working with emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
O’Boyle, E., Jr., & AGUINIS, H. (2012). The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Performance. Personnel Psychology,65(1), 79-119.
McGregor, D. The Human Side of Enterprise. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill (1960).
Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. New York: Random House.
Sturm, R. R. (2013). Market Efficiency and Technical Analysis Can they Coexist? Research in Applied Economics, 5(3), 1.
Guidotti, R., Coscia, M., Pedreschi, D., & Pennacchioli, D. (2015, October). Behavioral entropy and profitability in retail. InData Science and Advanced Analytics (DSAA), 2015. 36678 2015. IEEE International Conference on(pp. 1-10). IEEE.
Williams, D., Burrell, D. N., & Lu, S. (2013, Spring). Employee Engagement Management Approaches Versus Command and Control Management Approaches for Millennials Employees in Public health and Safety Organizations. Journal of Knowledge & Human Resource Management,5(11), 102-113. Retrieved July 1, 2016
Connecting Organizational Culture to Performance. (2013). Human Capital Institute; research conducted for P.S. Culture Matters