As a baseball fan and one who thinks about management processes, I found this book both amusing and informative. Angus uses the track record of the actions of people that have managed baseball teams to comment on how management functions should be performed in business. He describes how baseball managers, specifically Maury Wills, sometimes think that because they could do something when they played, that a player on their team can automatically do it as well. This is used to emphasize the most important point of managing a baseball team, "You manage to the strengths of your current players." If you have fast players that can steal bases and play superb defense, then alter the style to play for a run at a time. However, if you are packed with high average power hitters, then it is foolish to try to steal a base and take the bat out of the hands of the hitter. By far, the best managerial advice I have read in a long time is on page 64 and is expressed in six short lines
Not "out sourcing" Not "off shoring" Not "near shoring" Not "in sourcing" But... "Best sourcing"
In other words, "use the talent that is most appropriate for the upcoming tasks." Since the term "appropriate" covers costs, availability and all other possible consequences, this simple advice can help eliminate foolish "crowd-following." In baseball, to manage a team is to adapt to change, no season and many times no series with another team ever goes as predicted. Teams come together and overachieve and others come apart and dramatically underachieve. There is the focus on the now while there must always be a partial focus on the future. That is what business managers must do, adapt quickly to modifications of your situational view, both by the day as well as over several years. Players must be nurtured and not burned out, yet used enough to realize their full potential. This is what also must be done with product lines; if a product is produced too long without refreshment it becomes stale and a potential disaster. In terms of management, business is now much more like baseball than it was in previous years. In baseball, decisions that can determine the outcome of a game can be made in each inning, in most cases it must be made with incomplete information. Furthermore, a single unnecessary loss can be the difference between making the playoffs and watching them on television. Business is now that way, decision-makers now must make significant decisions on a nearly daily basis where a few decades ago, the slower pace of change allowed for decision-making to be more glacial. Therefore, the comparisons made so well by Angus are quite appropriate and useful.
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