113. It’s Human Nature to Resist Analytical Opportunities

Moneyball and Astroball Lessons

The book Moneyball was published in 2003. At the time, Major League Baseball (MLB) managers despised it, because the book made them look like old-school ignoramuses. A highly-recommended new take published in July 2018 and titled Astroball, summarizes the league’s transition since 2003.

Here are a few key points from the book:

  • Even after Moneyball and the Red Sox’ analytically-powered World Series wins in 2004, 2007 and 2013, MLB’s adoption of analytics was halting.
  • Only three owners (Sox, Cards, Astros) fully embraced analytics, and they were entrepreneurs who had become rich by exploiting analytics in other fields.
  • They’re approach was to transform one operational silo at a time by hiring new, younger talent with statistically-validated skills.
  • Analytics now pervades MLB and all other pro sports.
  • Analytics forced every team to measurably, continuously improve, and a growth mindset became part of the culture, while the value of seniority and doing the same old things was discounted.
  • Human nature, through the form of cognitive biases, strongly resists all statistical-decision thinking.

Analytics-Avoidance Excuses

Another book, Douglas Laney’s excellent book Infonomics, has an appendix of info-avoidance excuses. There are 120 challenges listed under seven categories. These are rationalizations for a few emotional root causes, like:

  • Management or veteran reps’ emotions:
    • Don’t make my past, conventional-wisdom decisions look unprofitable (read: stupid)
    • Don’t reduce my data-free, experiential-wisdom power
    • I don’t readily get (or believe) the new data conclusions (statistical innumeracy education required)
    • I have no ready answers for how to exploit new data insights. (Peter Principle promotion fixes may be needed)
    • I can’t become a new, lead learner, so I’ll fight this. (Lack of we-all-win vision; laziness; entitlement; insecure incompetence)
  • Don’t upset our family (socialistic) values. As in Lake Wobegon, we all are above industry averages with our data-free, wishful thinking. Rankings by measurable reality will upset both the exploited stars and the overpaid coasters. (Ask: Why can’t we hire and keep Stars?)
  • Besides! We have existing plans to try harder at what we have always done.

Are You Missing These Analytical Opportunities?

    • Getting core customer renewal results before competitors steal your most profitable accounts.
    • Monetizing both supplier and customer (un)profitability information. Grocers have been sharing data for triple-wins with customers, stores, and factories for years.
    • Using profitability information to create omnichannel solutions with factories/distributors in preparation for the cloud commerce world of 2021.
  • New value solutions for sales reps, because time-and-territory, routine calls won’t work with demographically-increasing millennial, digital buyers.


Human Nature Cures?

To learn about my suggested cures, request my: Roadmapand “Astroball Discussion Questions” through email: bruce@merrifield.com

Or, attend my one-day seminar. Learn all about it at https://www.merrifieldseminar.com/

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