What Would You do as General Manager of an NBA team?

Did you play professional basketball? I didn’t either. You know who else didn’t? Daryl Morey. In 2007 he became General Manager of the Houston Rockets and in 10 years at the helm hasn't had a losing season.

What Morey lacks in basketball talent,  he makes up for with analytical skills and curiosity. Rather than using the same measurements to assess players as everyone else, he began taking his own measurements. He’s looking for undervalued players, Moneyball-style.

You might remember years ago there was a player on the bench of the New York Knicks named Jeremy Lin. He is not your typical NBA player being an Asian-American, Harvard Graduate. He was nearly cut from the team before injuries forced the coach to play him.


He quickly became one of the best young stars in the game. Most people couldn’t put a finger on what made him so good. Daryl Morey cracked the code. One of measures only he was recording was how fast a player takes their first two steps with the ball. He found that Jeremy Lin had the fastest first two steps of any player in the league. That quickness provided him with opportunities to take uncontested shots that most players didn’t have.

You might be wondering, what does all of this have to do with me? Quite a lot actually!

In every industry there are opportunities to gain a competitive advantage by outsmarting the competition.

Take sales forecasting as an example. Forecasting sales accurately is extremely important for large organizations. It affects everything from investment in product development to headcount and hiring decisions. We’ve worked with a number of organizations that aren’t asking the right questions to forecast accurately.

In one meeting we asked how accurate a large healthcare manufacturing firm’s forecasting was. They replied 20%-30%. We asked what inputs they were using to create those forecasts. They were asking the sales people when they thought it would land and how certain they were that their timeframe was accurate.

I’m not sure I’ve met many pessimistic salespeople. We help clients think through better questions to ask like:

●        Have you confirmed their budget?

●        What do they use to measure ROI?

●        What is driving their urgency?

●        On a scale of 1-10, how urgent are they for this solution? 

●        On a scale of 1-10, how credible are we and our proposed solution?

We’ve seen sales forecasting improve from 20% to 70% accuracy simply by asking better questions.

What are the questions you need to ask today to improve your company?


Need more help?  Please contact us at freesupport@onenumber.biz.

Also, if you enjoyed the story of the Houston Rockets, the story is told in it’s entirety in Michael Lewis’ book The Undoing Project.