In his book, Mickey and Willie, Allen Barra discusses that early in Mickey Mantle’s career (before 1956) a myth developed that nothing Mantle did lived up to his potential. He says, “Milton Gross of the New York Post would write an article every season before 1956 suggesting that Mantle had actually been something of a disappointment (Barra, p.184).” Barra, however, took a closer and deeper look into Mantle’s performance before 1956 and found that instead of not living up to his potential, Mantle actually was performing at an exceptional level. In fact, using 1952 as an example and digging deeper into the statistics, “Total Baseball, using a method devised by analysts John Thorn and Pete Palmer, concluded that Mantle had a Total Player Rating of 4.8-second highest in the NL behind Larry Toby(Barra, p.184).” The most interesting statement that Barra made regarding this topic was, “Considering how much attention was paid to Mantle, it seems amazing in retrospect that much of his true greatness was hidden from those who watched him most carefully(Barra, p.184, 185).”
The lesson for business owners is to never make pre-mature assumptions about the performance of their companies (good or bad). When owners review the monthly financial analysis and results of their companies, variances outside the norm may require digging deeper into the reasons for the variances. For example, in my work with clients, digging deeper has resulted in the following:
- Discovery of fraud costing a company thousands of dollars and saving the company thousands of dollars in the future
- Products and Services not priced properly leading to low profit margins and resulting in pricing adjustments that raised margins, cash flow, and company value
- Labor costs out of line resulting from inefficiencies in the manufacturing process leading to improved and revamped efficiencies, higher margins, and happier customers
Never be shallow about your company’s performance. Always dig deeper and discover the real reasons behind the numbers.
*Barra, Allen, (2013), Mickey And Willie