However, they serve as a reminder that simply throwing money at a problem does not always fix the problem. Proper application of root cause analysis DOES raise the odds considerably on solving the problem, and often at a much lower price.
If the Marlins had a team strategy (team on the field and organizational plan for butts-in-seats) and filtered all activities into following that strategy, and continued to follow that strategy without changing course at the first moment of weakness, the organization might not be in the situation it’s in right now – 3-12 record, horrible attendance, dreadful treatment of patrons who actually attend, pitiful PR.
One of the questions asked in the ESPN article linked above is “(Owner) Jeffrey Loria has taking a lot of heat for his excessive spending, but is he fully to blame for the Marlins financial woes?” (See the photo caption in the article.)
Yesterday Mark Graban “live blogged” a talk by author Art Byrne at the AME Spring Conference, who reinforced the importance of continuous improvement starting at the top. By “top” he doesn’t mean VP of Ops, he means the CEO or owner. There is no delegating of the importance of continuous improvement.
Art’s quotes blow my mind. He is an absolutely brilliant author and Lean thinker, and reading what Mark has transcribed has changed a lot of the way I look at Lean as a fundamental operational philosophy. (Hey, we all have so much to learn.)
So the team spent like crazy at the 2011-2012 offseason, then shed all those expensive contracts to a tune of cutting payroll by $73M, the biggest one-year cut in MLB history. Why did the team do this? Because of the strategy set forth by Loria.
So yes…Loria is pretty well the reason the Marlins do what they do to their players, their fans, and MLB in total.
While I wouldn’t expect the Marlins to operate like a Lean organization, there is a lot the team can learn from Art Byrne and Lean thinkers about strategy and keeping the customer first.
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