John is an executive recruiter & speaker sharing his thoughts on healthcare, recruiting, digital technology, career management & leadership. 

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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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28 April, 2016 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare, Leadership
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Moneyball Is Coming to Healthcare

Posted April 28th, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

Moneyball is coming to healthcare.  At last.

It is no secret — at least among those who are willing to be honest about our industry’s failings — that healthcare is Moneyball Book Photodecades behind other business sectors, especially when it comes to using analytics to predict future needs and estimate costs.

This was the theme of Karyn Hede’s fine article in HHN Magazine earlier this month.

“Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game” is Michael Lewis’ wonderful read on baseball’s use of analytics in the remaking of a small market team with limited financial resources that lost it star players to expensive free agent contracts. 

We are talking about the Oakland Athletics in 2002.  They went from being a formidable team to the doormat of the American League West.  Enter Wilson Lamar Beane, aka Billy Beane.  Beane, a former player who never lived up to his star billing as a General Manager charged with fielding a competitive team, and with little money to land big-name talent, was forced to look for a different (read: low cost) way to build a viable team. 

Billy_Beane_1989When he started his Moneyball journey, Beane faced a resistant baseball organization that was trapped in the old way of scouting, selecting, and developing players. His management team was filled with scouts and player development personnel who were locked in to a “this is the way it has always been” mentality.  During a meeting in Detroit with the Detroit Tigers GM/President Dave Dombrowski to work a trade, Beane noticed there was a frumpy looking “college kid” who had an amazing lock on players and their performance statistics.  Dombrowski seemed to listen to him.  Later, when Beane made the trade, he told Dombrowski that he had to throw in the Harvard educated analytics kid with the deal.  Done.

That brought the college kid statistician, Paul DePodesta , to Oakland where, with his mastery of stats and algorithms, Paul DePodestathey put together an exciting winning season that took them deep into the playoffs.  Here are a couple of things that you need to know:

  • This new Oakland team had few big name stars.  Many baseball know-it-alls thought they were the laughing-stock of the American League West
  • The Manager, Art Howe, was not a believer in this analytical approach
  • This new team actually won more games in the regular season than the previous Athletics team that was loaded with talent and high-dollar contracts
  • This Sabermetrics team set a Major League Baseball record for the number of consecutive wins, 20
  • It was a magical year for Oakland, baseball, and the idea that data-based decisions could  outperform baseball’s old, established ways

To say that Beane initially experienced pushback from the traditionalists on his staff, including his field manager, would be an understatement.  He had to get rid of some of the conservative believers who were unwilling to give a new way of thinking a chance.

Bill James, considered the father of analytics in baseball —  Sabermetrics — once said, “if you challenge the conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done.”  For the record, Sabermetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity. The term, coined by James,  is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research.

Baseball then, and healthcare now, have something in common.  We have a lot of people in decision-making roles who cling to the traditional way of looking at problems and are reluctant to change their approach, leaders of this is the way it has always been.

Well, all ye traditionalists, please note this surprising development:  Eric Topal, MD, director of San Diego Scripps Translational Science Institute,  recently hired the aforementioned SABR guru, Mr. DePodesta, to apply his mastery of data research and analysis to transform the Institute. 

This could be significant.

“In disciplines as disparate as baseball, financial services, trucking and retail, people are realizing the power of data to make better (if not conventional) decisions,” Mr. DePodesta told Ms. Hede for the HHN article.

“Medicine is just beginning to explore this opportunity, but it faces many of the same barriers that existed in those other sectors, including baseball — deeply held traditions, monolithic organizational and operational structures and a psychological resistance to change.”

So if you are entering healthcare, if you enjoy the magic of math, research and developing algorithms to make sense of the fire hydrant of information, this is one of the, if not THE, hottest jobs in healthcare. 

For those of you with these passions and skills and who are understandably turned off by the flexible ethical standards of Wall Street, you need to give healthcare a hard look.

Moneyball’s DePodesta believes healthcare is ripe for change.

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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28 April, 2016 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Uncategorized
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Interviewing Tip: Dealing With Negative Questions

Posted April 28th, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

We all know they are coming. They are inevitable.

What’s coming?  What is inevitable?

The negative question!  What are your weaknesses?  Tell me about your biggest mistake?  Tell me why you have had several short job tenures? 

Today’s podcast offers some common sense tips for dealing with these types of questions in a business environment where the push for transparency has reached “fad” status.  How can you be honest and transparent without coming across as negative, or as a flawed candidate.

Actually, it is not that hard.

Listen in and learn.  If you have questions, John is happy to help.  Email us at AskTheRecruiter@JohnGSelf.Com

The SelfPerspective Team

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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Finding A Job: There Is No Silver Bullett

Posted April 27th, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

When we lose our job we all — and I mean ALL — want someone to step in and make everything OK and to find us a new job.  That is just a natural human reaction regardless of whether it is rooted in reality or not. 

The reality is that the mainstream practitioners of career transition are not in business to find executives a job but to teach them the ever-changing rules of the road as well as the skills that will help them find their next job in this new economy. 

There are some of these firms that claim they have the inside track for highly paid jobs, if only you will pay them a handsome fee for the service. 

Bernard Haldane was one of the earliest experts in this business — in fact, he credits himself with creating the niche.  HALDANEThis London-born innovator who originally planned to study in medicine, did very well with his idea until he sold his firm.  His successors ran his company’s name into a quagmire of consumer complaints and lawsuits; they over promised and under delivered. 

Today, there are still practitioners of this too-good-to-be-true, smoke and mirrors game but they no longer enjoy  the lofty status of Mr. Haldane or even some of his modern-day competitors.  By the way, o be clear, Mr. Haldane earned his fame by getting Boeing workers jobs following World War II, and advising thousands more on career management skills.  An author of several books on career management, he was actually one of the first consultants in what we now call Transition Management, or Outplacement.  Despite the bad press and recurring consumer complaints  regarding the successor firm, he got it right. 

The Bernard Haldane brand left the rails when his successors began promising — some guaranteed — anxious out-of-work executives, worried about the mortgage and other bills, that they would find them a job because they had secret lists of the best paying opportunities.  While Mr. Haldane may have had such a golden list of top jobs there for the asking in his early days, the whole idea got out of hand.

Finding a job in this economy is tough work.  For every executive who lands a new, well-paying gig in a month or two, more and more are taking six, eight, 16 months or longer, to land their next position.  In looking for a job there is no silver bullet, unless of course you consider hard work,five-days a week and a boat load of rejection a silver bullet. 

The reality is that after getting past the shock and grief of losing a job, the successful candidates are those who develop a plan and stick with a routine, the subject of a previous blog post

Take note, based on my interviews with thousands of executives, many of whom have experienced the surprise of an unexpected career interruption and the gut-wrenching anxiety of not having a regular paycheck, say that it is a fool’s errand to look for easy, quick solutions.  Get organized, get a routine — work at it every day, every week — and do not let the “No’s” get you down.

As a respected outplacement consultant Jim Wiederhold once said, “Finding a job is a full-time job.”  Truer words were never uttered.

So back to Mr. Haldane.  In the past I made the mistake of being overly critical of this innovator.  Instead, I think his memory —his memory, not those of his remaining successors who operate under his name in franchise arrangements — should be respected.  That is how I feel. Whether you agree or not, or even care, do not make the mistake of allowing yourself to believe in the silver bullet theory.  It does not exist. 

No one is going to find you a job.  You must be the CEO of that effort and it requires a lot of hard work, courage and, most of all, resilience.   

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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