7.18.2017

Too Short for a Blog Post, Too Long for a Tweet LXXVIII

Here's an excerpt from an article I just read, "Baseball Tackles Workplace Mystery: How to Build Team Chemistry?" in the Wall Street Journal:



Fast forward nearly two decades, and the thinking has changed. In a sweeping shift, many of the industry’s wonkiest stat-heads now acknowledge that how players get along with each other likely can affect how they perform on the field over a six-month season.

“Chemistry is absolutely critical, but very few teams or managers or general managers know how to create it or even have any idea how to create it,” said Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, the leader of perhaps the most data-driven front office in the majors. “You know it’s important, but you don’t know what the levers are to change it.”

But what if they did? Corporate managers and armies of consultants have wrestled with this question for decades, and now baseball is tackling it head-on: Can something as nebulous as “chemistry” be quantified like on-base percentage or ERA, and if so, can it be weaponized?

Increasingly, forward-thinking franchises think it’s possible not only to measure the impact of chemistry, but to cultivate positive chemistry in an intentional and systematic fashion. That belief has sparked an information arms race in an area often discussed but rarely analyzed in a scientific way. 

And whoever solves the riddle first will have earned a competitive advantage over their peers that could come with far-reaching ramifications.
 



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