The Miami Marlins and Why Throwing Money At Problems Doesn’t Make Sense

Posted on April 18, 2013 | in Baseball, Root Cause Analysis, Sports | by
Jeffrey Loria Sign Miami Marlins

It’s not clear that Jeffrey Loria understands the concept of strategy.

I’ve piled on the Miami Marlins before (see here and here) but the organization continues to shoot itself in the foot. I won’t get into any more of those details.

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.

Do you like this post? Give Lean Blitz a follow and a like!
Follow us on Twitter at @LeanBlitz and “like” us on Facebook!

We’re also giving away 2013 Masters pin flags – click here to learn more!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “The Miami Marlins and Why Throwing Money At Problems Doesn’t Make Sense”

  1. Mark Graban says:

    From the outside, Loria’s actions make it seem like he’s just out to enrich himself. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes between extreme incompetence and somebody trying to screw you.

    Art Byrne would, I think, have the skills to turn an organization like that around as a great leader (lean methods aside).

    • Chad Walters says:

      I believe that Loria is a “shrewd businessman” in that he has the fortune to have owned two MLB teams in his lifetime (granted, he traded one for the other, but still). I think his shrewdness is his ability to make deals as opposed to his focus on long-term viability of his product. His underlying focus is “gimme gimme gimme” at the expense of the taxpayers and fans. I wouldn’t see him as incompetent but certainly could question his actions from a customer standpoint.

  2. Pingback: Miami Marlins | David Samson | Play Faster | Baseball |Lean Blitz – Do it better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Lean Blitz in your Inbox!

Subscribe to a daily digest of Lean Blitz posts by clicking here!