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9 Timeless Leadership Lessons from Baseball | LinkedIn

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I find myself reacting harshly to Dave Kerpen's baseball cliches.

For example, Kerpen writes:

You can't hit a home run unless you swing for the fences:

Leaders must think big, and act big.

True, but the more you swing for the fences, the more you'll strike out.

And one home run does not a career make.

And most baseball leaders cannot hit home runs.

It's consistent team effort that consistently wins games, not home runs.

Kerpen writes:

The best players aren't afraid to get their uniforms dirty:

Leaders must live by example, and that means demonstrating they can get "in the weeds" and handle basic, menial tasks when necessary.

There are no menial tasks. There are only good attitudes and bad attitudes.

Kerpen writes:

Measure everything that matters.

Billy Beane ushered in a new era in baseball with the 2002 Oakland A's. Made famous by the book and movie Moneyball, Beane demonstrated that by measuring statistics such as on-base percentage, he could field a competitive team for less money than the teams who relied on gut instincts alone.

Billy Beane has not won a World Series since 2002.

In fact, Billy Beane has not EVEN BEEN TO a World Series since 2002.

Unclear measuring everything is helpful.

Unclear Moneyball is a winning strategy.

Hmm....I think you're overreading here. He says the 2002 team changed the paradigm in baseball and although I'm no baseball fanatic, it seems clear it made for a substantial paradigm shift as did Nate Silver in politics.

More realistically, it seems clear (at least to a non-baseball fan) that moneyball opened up new arbitrage opportunities for finding undervalued players at cheaper prices. That's not to say it will win all the time. The A's have a miserable amount of funding compared to NYC. That would effect their ability to field a winning team, no?

Fair enough, Moneyball at least made everyone consider that you didn't need to have the most money to assemble a winning team.

Not sure if Nate Silver was influenced by Moneyball but he definitely believes in science and math.

Kerpen writes:

It's more about the team than about any one superstar.

In baseball, more than in any other team sport, individuals make less of a difference than the whole team. Even a dominant pitcher only plays once every five days. The best leaders recognize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and while it's great to have top talent - it's the whole organization which must perform in order to succeed.

A dominant infielder or outfielder plays every single day.

By focusing on the pitcher he's missing out on the teamwork needed for the rest of the team to succeed.

Kerpen writes:

Don't go down looking.

It's important as a hitter to be patient and wait for your pitch- but with two strikes against you, you've got to swing the bat.

Great pitchers know you're going to swing with two strikes against you.

That's why you strike out so much, BRO.

You're swinging at things that not even an All Star could hit.


Bunting is often the right tactic. :)

There was one quote from Kerpin's article I did like:

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." ~Peter Drucker

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