How to Use PPM Moneyball to Get Better Performance
What will business management look like in the coming years? Well, luckily, a great example will be shown on CBS, February 3rd at 6:30pm ET. Yes, the Super Bowl, NFL, sports teams. As the value of business becomes increasingly the direct result of people’s creativity and teamwork, the sports analogy becomes much more accurate as a guide for business management. No sport embodies more modern management thought than the NFL. The old days of brutes knocking each other around has evolved into extremely intelligent, sophisticated teams of specialists showing the amazing prowess of a collective, well trained, motivated, and led. So, what can we learn from the NFL?
Roles in the NFL are well defined, and coaches exist for every role. Each employee is aware of their performance goals, and they receive continuous feedback on performance. Each employee is trained for their role, and also receives training and insight into the goals of sub-teams and the overall organization. Benchmarks–derived from big data within the team as well as marketplace wide–ensure that performance goals are reasonable and attainable. Most remarkably, each employee is provided with guidance for their weekly actions, for which each employee expects, and is expected to be creative and use their unique skills to succeed. Support and freedom! Failures are expected, and the organization is in a constant mindset of improvement and team success. Individual success is recognized, but organizational success is paramount. Leaders are elected via meritocracy.
2. Process Documentation
Every NFL team has copiously documented process. Process = play. Further, each process has standard sabermetrics that allow for process improvement at the play level, but also at the role and sub team level. The sabermetrics even track process success at the process chain level (Play A followed by Play B followed by Play C…), as well as by situation (3rd and five). Each employee is trained in the process for their role, but also for other roles for back-up as needed. Each process has a range of intended outcomes, and once again, employees are expected to exit the process based on their read of the current situation to ensure the desired outcome. There are no TPS Reports in the NFL. Success is the only expected outcome. Any other outcome must be fixed.
3. Measured Lexicon
Each employee is expected to learn the team’s standardized lexicon, and communicate using the lexicon. Additions to the lexicon are vetted and well thought out before inclusion. Further, the lexicon itself is measured, becoming the base for all organizational sabermetrics. The words used to communicate process and role assignments are also used to evaluate and improve. As words are the building blocks for process; the measurement of the lexicon provides detailed views into process performance, while allowing for word and process performance forecasts.
The Y route is used for short yardage situations, and is preferred over the tight end Z route for red zone formations. It is successful 60% of the time and averages four yards. The route also has high run after catch yardage percentages.
Wow, wouldn’t it be great to understand your organization’s performance to this level of detail. A standard lexicon is the entry point for this knowledge. Measuring the lexicon is the game changer for your business management process.
4. People Focused
The NFL understands that they are in the people business. NFL teams spend a great deal of time optimizing the performance of their employees and understanding their customers. While data-driven for decision support, they also employ the latest in human factors research to provide the optimum product for their customers. The workplace is constantly analyzed to provide the optimum product for customers, while acknowledging how the workplace affects employees. NFL teams are great story tellers. Humans respond to stories of achievement, success against the odds, and teams finding success. In telling stories, numbers are part of the tale. The NFL has successfully changed the paradigm of statistics being big brotherish, to statistics being a key part of a better work environment and product.
This Super Bowl, look at the game from a business perspective. You might learn a thing our two.