Archives for posts with tag: Fortune Magazine

 

Working Smarter, Not Harder...Literally

Work smarter, not harder is good advice. This axiom takes into consideration that there might be a better way to accomplish a task. Analytical data present options that may be preferable to the old way.

That is the central premise of a book by Michael Lewis. It is the story about the Oakland Athletics, a Major League Baseball (MLB) team, and it’s General Manager Billy Beane. A film based on the book starred Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game proposes a better way to assemble a competitive team than how baseball insiders have done it in the past. The Athletics, and Beane in particular, believe that the use of computer-generated analysis to acquire new players produces better results than the system used for many years. The conclusion was that rigorous statistical analysis demonstrated better indicators of success. This strategy enabled the A’s to reach the playoffs in 2002 and 2003 in spite of having the third-lowest team payroll in the league.

If you are not a baseball fan, don’t quit reading.

Theo Epstein

In 2004 Theo Epstein became the youngest GM in the history of MLB when the Boston Red Sox hired him at the age of 28. Using the Moneyball approach, he led the team to six playoff appearances and two World Series titles (something they had not accomplished in 86 years) in nine seasons.

In 2011 Epstein resigned from his job in Boston to become President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. His devotion to the data-driven analysis that helped teams identify and accumulate players with little-noticed but crucial strengths had succeeded inestimably in Boston. However, “a few weeks before spring training of 2012, in the ballroom of a budget hotel in Mesa, Ariz., Theo Epstein stood before nearly every person connected with the baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs and told them how the Cubs were going to win the World Series” (Fortune Magazine).

The magazine article was based on The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Baseball Team and Breaking the Curse, a book by Tom Verducci. He reported that “Epstein devoted the first three days of the session to on-field strategy: hitting philosophy, pitching philosophy, defense, and base running. But the entire last day was devoted to character. The Cubs, Epstein insisted, would acquire only players with outstanding makeup.”

Near the end of his tenure at Boston he came to understand that character and chemistry were strengths that could not be captured with a strictly analytic approach and “their absence was painfully clear as the team underwent a late-season collapse. The more the team lost, the more it broke apart from within. Players ­feuded with one another. The egos that had created cracks in the clubhouse while they were winning caused deep fissures as they lost.”

Epstein had put so much faith in numbers when he began as general manager of the Red Sox. “Now character did not just matter. It was essential to Epstein’s blueprint to win the World Series.” He gave his scouts very specific instructions about how to assess not only a player’s skills and abilities but the kind of person he was. How he treated other people. How he responded to adversity. What others- friends and enemies- said about him. His character.

Chicago Cubs 1908 & 2016 World Series Champions Team Photo (Size: 12" x 15") Framed

The brilliance of what the Cubs did was to put their faith not just in numbers, but also in the type of people they acquired. In 2016, five years of applying this new approach, the Cubs won their first World Series championship in 108 years.

Epstein understood that character counts!

Isn’t that what Jesus was implying when he told his disciples “Do not break your promise, but do what you have vowed to the Lord to do.” “Don’t say anything you don’t mean” (Matthew 5:33 CEV, MSG). Repeatedly the Master points his followers to a high standard of morality and instructs them to be genuine in their relationships.

Jesus wants us to know, character counts.

Jamie Jenkins

Advertisements

It was another reminder that no matter how much money you throw at something you are not guaranteed success.

Fox Sports paid $500M to televise  Major League Basebal games including the World Series.In spite of this big outlay of money and the latest technology, Fox faced “a stark and embarrassing broadcast bungle” during the first game of the World Series last week.  Daniel Roberts wrote in Fortune Magazine: “At 9:18 p.m. Eastern Time, with a 1-1 score in the fourth inning, the telecast picture vanished: no visuals, no audio.”

Money 5

$500M and still they were greatly embarrassed. The network quickly posted a sign on screen that they were experiencing “Technical Difficulty.” Both Fox’s primary and backup generators were hit with a “rare electronics failure,” causing the loss of power and the 4 minute blackout that followed.

Money 1

Jordi Alemany, Director General at Solar Rocket in Valencia, Spain, reminds us that, “Money has been with us for more than ten thousand years. It has become a vital element in our lives, to the point where without money, you can literally die.”

In other words, we have come to the place that we think money is the answer to everything- career, marriage, family, winning sports team, and almost anything else. If you have enough money, you can have what you want. Or so it seems.

Money 2

The World Series reminds us that money cannot even guarantee a championship baseball team. It is interesting to note that this year’s combined salaries of the two teams in the World Series- the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals- is less than half of the combined salaries of the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, neither of which made it to the World Series ($492M vs. $214M).

The first hit record for the Motown record label was a song written by Berry Gordon and Janie Bradford. Barrett Strong sang “Money (That’s what I Want)” in 1959. The song was later recorded by many artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Doors. In 1960 the song was listed as #288 on Rolling Stone’s “Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

The lyrics of that hit song recognizes that “money don’t get everything it’s true” but it goes on to claim that “what it don’t get, I can’t use.” Several years later John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a song that the Beatles recorded which asserted “I don’t care too much for money. Money can’t buy me love.”

SONY DSC

There are many things that money can provide but the really important things in life do not have price tags. Health, love, happiness, integrity, peace of mind, intelligence, spiritual enlightenment, self-worth, security, an honest opinion, time, trust- just to mention a few.

Someone has suggested that it is good to have money and the things that money can buy but it is good to check up once in a while to be sure you have not lost the things that money can’t buy.

Jamie Jenkins

What is your list of things that money can’t buy?

I don’t always pay attention to commercials on the radio and television but one caught my attention recently. It was not because of any bargains that were offered or any catchy slogan or tune. Neither was it due to a new product that was being offered. Actually nothing was mentioned about any merchandise for sale.

The announcement was that this giant retailer had donated $4 million to more than 80 Habitat for Humanity affiliates. This donation will build 40 houses and increase support for more than 60 affiliates. A fully stocked pantry would also be provided to each house that will be built by employees of the company providing these funds.

This generous contribution came from Publix Super Markets Charities, a not-for-profit organization that has $400 million worth of assets under management. The organization was founded as the George W. Jenkins Foundation in 1966 to improve the communities served by the supermarket chain. After Jenkins’ death, the foundation’s name became Publix Super Markets Charities.

George W. Jenkins

George Washington Jenkins Jr. was born Sept. 29, 1907, in Warm Springs, Ga. He was one of eight children of a general store owner. He was 12 when he started working in his father’s store. When he was 16, the boll weevil destroyed the area’s cotton crops and caused economic disaster for the general store.

Jenkins moved to Atlanta with his family and began working at a series of odd jobs including a job working for the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain. After his move to Florida the store where he was employed did not do well and eventually was sold. When that happened  he said, “I turned in my apron, took the money I had saved to buy a new car — about $1,300 — and in 1930 opened my own store next to the one I’d left.”

Publix 4

That same year Jenkins formed a corporation, Publix Food Stores Inc., and today the private corporation which is wholly owned by present and past employees is ranked No. 81 on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 2015 and was ranked No. 8 on Forbes 2014 list of America’s Largest Private Companies. The company’s 2014 sales totaled $30.6 billion, with profits of $1.74 billion. Based on 2014 revenue, Publix is the thirteenth largest U.S. retailer and thirty-fifth in the world.

Publix 2

The phenomenal success of the supermarket chain is very impressive and their commitment to customer service is a basic tenet of the company. But what caught my attention in the radio commercial was the closing comment attributed to its founder George W. Jenkins.

Jenkins was once asked, “If you hadn’t given away so much, how much do you think you would be worth today?” Without hesitation, he replied, “Probably nothing.”

Giving 9

I don’t know if that would have been the case but I do believe that all we really have is what we give away.

Jamie  Jenkins