I’ve got to be honest… I’m not a huge baseball fan. However, I love baseball movies. If you’re anything like me, you grew up hoping you’d suffer an injury and become a major league pitcher like “Rookie of the Year” and quoting “The Sandlot” all summer with your friends.
I’m sure those movies had something to do with deciding to watch Moneyball when it released 2011. Since I didn’t remember anything about the story from when I was growing up, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as I was watched, I realized there were a lot of lessons I could learn as a young leader.
3 Leadership Lessons for Millennials from Moneyball
Whether you’re a fan of Moneyball, or the sport of baseball, here are three things we can all learn from Billy Beane and his approach to managing the 2002 Oakland A’s:
1) Adapt or Die
Early in the movie, Billy realizes the fact that the A’s will never be able to compete with teams like the Yankee’s because they can’t afford it. As Billy is talking with one of his head scouts, he makes the statement, “We either adapt or we die.” He realized if they wanted to put together a winning team, they couldn’t keep scouting the way they had always done it.
Right now, we’re going through one of the biggest shifts in business since the industrial revolution. In some ways, it’s beneficial for us to start our careers in such as transitional period. We’re eager to learn and can easily pick up on these new processes where people who’ve been in business for 50 years might struggle. However, we have to remember that we’ll be in their shoes one day and it will be just as important to adapt then as it is now. We must discipline ourselves to never get too comfortable with how we do things at the risk of dying when adaptation is needed.
2) Don’t give up on an idea even when “higher-ups” push back.
Billy recruits the help of a young baseball whiz, Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill. Brand uses an unpopular theory of choosing which players to sign and play based more on mathematics than intuition. After Billy hires him to work for the A’s and they start to put together a team, the other scouts start to voice their disapproval. But, Billy sticks with the game plan of the young Peter Brand to build a team of “no names” and “has-beens” for the A’s.
As young leaders, we’re often in the role of Peter Brand. Coming up with new and innovative ideas some people in leadership roles above us don’t understand or support. While we understand how that feels now, it will be important for us to remember as we move into higher levels of leadership. Just because the idea comes from a lower-level employee doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. In fact, it could change the entire organization or industry. Billy knew to stick with his gut even when higher-level scouts didn’t support the idea. We can’t let one person change our minds simply because they hold a higher level of leadership.
3) Be a sell-out
Once Billy decided to go “all in” with the idea, he gave everything he had to making sure it worked. When the formula wasn’t working, he stuck with it. When players weren’t living up to expectations or causing a disruption, he had the tough conversations. When things we’re working, he stuck with what he knew to be true.
As Millennials, we must become “sell outs” if we’re going to make a real impact in our work, relationships, and lives. If we don’t believe in what we’re doing with 100% of what we have, no one will.
Any lessons from ‘Moneyball’ you can add? What are some other movies you’ve seen with valuable leadership lessons?
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3 Leadership Lessons for Millennials from Moneyball
Jeremy and TD team,
Great article! Actually stumbled across TD via the David and Goliath picture quote. But glad I did. You guys are doing some awesome stuff and as a for-purpose millennial myself I am enthused and inspired about being a shaper of the future. So thank you!
In terms of adding valuable lessons from Moneyball… One that I love is the power of teams. It’s not about the putting the 9 best players on the field, but the best 9! A successful team needs to have everyone buying into something bigger than themselves, dropping ego and just doing their job as a part of something larger. Billy Beane and Moneyball illustrate the power of this. Compile a team of “nobodys” who are all buying into something bigger, but playing their role and you have something significantly greater than the sum of its parts. The awe-inspiring beauty of a winning team!
Thank you, Keith, for finding us, and I am glad you liked Jeremy’s article. You points are essential. Finding the right team member is very critical and, next, rallying and sustaining around purpose keeps everyone motivated and activated.
We are very grateful you found us, and I hope you keep coming back! Thank you! Jon
First, this post absolutely makes me want to watch Moneyball again.
Second, thanks for the reminder about going “all in.” Sure, setbacks & hiccups are inevitable in every situation. But trusting in your plan & seeing it through even when it’s difficult is something that I need to be reminded to do!
Great article, Jeremy! Excited to have you as part of the TD team.
Thanks, Molly! Going “all in” is definitely something I have to remind myself on a daily basis.
Really excited to be part of the team!