I Learned Everything I Know About Great Talent Metrics…From Baseball

I Learned Everything I Know About Great Talent Metrics

Many are shocked when I reveal that after 30 years of developing talent metrics, I have concluded that the best place to benchmark talent metrics isn’t a major corporation like Google or IBM, it is Major League Baseball. Ever since the book Moneyball came out, corporate and talent management leaders have been seeking out every opportunity to work with MLB to learn their metrics secrets and how to convert them for use incorporation. Now I realize that many in HR are resistant to “sports analogies”, but avoiding them, in this case, would be a huge mistake. If for no other reason, then because CEO’s love them. In my experience, CEO’s see little difference between the intense competition of the corporate world and competitive sports. In fact, the “manager of the century” Jack Welch has publicly stated that baseball is the perfect model for corporate talent leaders to follow. He reveals that business can learn a lot from sports in this powerful statement:


Business is a game, and as with all games, the team that puts the best people on the field and gets them playing together wins… You would never know it, though, to look at the companies today where the CFO reigns supreme and HR is relegated to the background… If you owned the Boston Red Sox, for instance, would you hang around with the team accountant or the director of player personnel? … The director of player personnel knows what it takes to win: how good each player is and where to find strong recruits to fill talent gaps.


The former CEO of GE is equally famous for revealing that according to his calculations “If the Human Resources department is functioning correctly and used in the correct manner, it’s the most important department in the entire company. Well “functioning correctly” requires the extensive use of metrics in a way that similar to how baseball uses them.


Dr. John Sullivan will be speaking about this and more at BPI’s TalentBall with the Texas Rangers in April. Joining Rangers’ top executives including GM Jon Daniels, their CFO, Head of Analytics, VP of HR and others, Dr. Sullivan will be bridging the gap between the successful Moneyball tactics and corporate talent and business results. Click here to register today for TalentBall.

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Dr. John Sullivan
Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions. He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of Talent Management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations / organizations in 30 countries on all 6 continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column and the LinkedIn Talent blog. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the “Michael Jordan of Hiring”, Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics” and SHRM called him “One of the industries most respected strategists”. He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked #8 among the top 25 online influencers in Talent Management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present).