Labor’s Moneyball Approach to Boosting Performance
By Seth D Harris
The recent Congressional budget deal is an important, if modest, foundation for economic growth and stability — a far cry from the stopgap spending and shutdowns that have slowed our economy’s recovery since 2011. It assures greater certainty for federal managers struggling to carry out their agencies’ and departments’ missions as they grapple with furloughs, layoffs, and a Congress that provides only a few months of funding at a time. But the budget deal also highlights the fact that federal agencies and departments still must find innovative ways to maximize their performance.
One model for this improvement comes from the sports world — the Moneyball concept popularized by General Manager Billy Beane of baseball’s Oakland A’s in the 2011 film of that name and recently adapted in a campaign to push government agencies towards more evidence-based decision making.
The Moneyball approach could deliver better results for the people agencies serve. This has been a central priority of the Obama Administration from day one. The president proclaimed in his first inaugural that “the question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”