Career Magazine

Hate to Lose More Than You Love to Win ?

By Paragp

Afew days ago, I watched ‘Moneyball’, starring Brad Pitt, acting as a forty-somethingfailed baseball player turned team manager, and Jonah Hill, playing his twenty-somethingnerdish assistant. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, it’s about aninteresting concept. That a high performing team is not necessarily the onewith star players. That a team constituted with the appropriate basic skillsrequired for scoring many runs has more than a fighting chance to win. Andfurther, that if star players can’t be bought or retained, then it’s logical toopt for players with the right basic skills that together make a magic formula.Since, as Jonah Hill argues in the film, the latter are “ignored by the richerteams, can be bought cheaper, and are probably easier to manage”.A remarkabletrue story, the movie could be an inspiration for all those organisations,groups and teams which find themselves, at one time or another, to be, likeBrad Pitt describes, “organ donors for the rich”. Who lose their best people tomore moneys and bigger names. The romantic appeal of the triumph of theunderdog notwithstanding, it’s the slogan of ‘when in Rome, and you can’t beatthe Romans at their game, then do what the Romans don’t’, that captivates therebel in me.Manyservice organisations, in a bid to proactively check the rising employee costsand minimise the possibility of future lay-offs, routinely execute on the principlesof ‘push the job down’ and ‘backfill with cheaper’. Basically, they keepredrawing their lines of labor division and their lines of skill grouping. Solong as the ‘skills and pyramid refresh’ exercises are done well, they continueto maintain, and sometimes even to enhance their performance levels. Just likePitt’s and Hill’s team did. Manufacturing and other organisations should certainlytake more than a leaf out of this notebook.Tome, the movie was also about one more thing. During a particular scene, Brad Pittshouts, “I hate losing more than I love winning”.That’sprobably why he didn’t cut his losses and abandon a sinking ship. That’sprobably why he risked his entire future on a whacky new idea from a whacky youngkid. That’s probably why he persisted with his direction despite initialfailures. That’s probably why the owner of the team supported him when nobodyelse did. That’s probably why, after the eventual triumph of his lack-lustre team,he didn’t take up the unbelievably lucrative offer from a very rich rival team.That’sprobably also why his daughter happily sang, “you’re a loser, dad; such a loserdad”.Pitt’sand his daughter’s words resonate with me. I fancy myself as one, and am drawnto such people, rather than to those who love winning more than they hatelosing. For much the same probable reasons. That’s what put the movie right upthere for me.“I’ma loser, guys; such a loser, guys”.Areyou one too ? No problem if you aren’t. After all, it takes all kinds of treesto make a forest.

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