Moneyball, based on the book by Michael Lewis, is about the true story of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and how he turned his team around with the help of Ivy league graduate computer whiz Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). The film is sharp, shrewd, fascinating and moving. For all its concentration on numbers and statistics, it never loses sight of the importance of teamwork and the romance of our national pastime. Beane demonstrated gutsy and unconventional steps in rebuilding his team. These excerpts from the screenplay and film clips capture a few of the many powerful messages this picture has for leaders anywhere.

Leaders define a problem before solving it. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it is a common and costly mistake to assume everyone knows what the problem is.

Coaching Staff: We’re trying to solve a problem here.
Billy: You’re not even looking at the problem.
Staff: We’re very aware of the problem.
Billy: What’s the problem?
Staff: We all understand what the problem is.
Billy: Great. What’s the problem?
Staff: The problem is we have to replace three key players.
Billy: Nope. What’s the problem?
Other staff: Same as it’s ever been. We’ve gotta replace these guys with what we have existing.
Billy: No! What’s the problem, Barry?
Scout Barry: We need 38 home runs, 120 R.B.I’s and 47…
Billy: The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s 50 feet of crap, and then there’s us. It’s an unfair game. And now we’re being gutted, organ donors for the rich. Boston has taken our kidneys, Yankees takin’ our heart, and you guys are sittin’ around talkin’ the same old nonsense, like we’re selling deeds. Like we’re looking for Fabio. We’ve got to think differently.
Scout Barry: Who’s Fabio?

Leaders demand truth from their people no matter how painful.  And they are  smart enough to value those who tell truth to power no matter how risky.

Beane, whose career as a former player was short and unsuccessful, makes a call in the middle of the night to Peter Brand, whom he has just met at the offices of the Cleveland Indians :
Billy: Hey, it’s Billy Beane.
Peter Brand:  What time is it?
Billy: I don’t know. Listen, would you have drafted me in the first round?
Peter: What?
Billy: After I left, you looked me up on your computer. Would you have drafted me in the first round?
Peter: I would have, yeah. You were a good player.
Billy: Cut the crap, man! Would you have drafted me in the first round?
Peter (long silence):  I’d have taken you in the ninth round…
Billy (another silence): Yeah. Pack your bags, Pete. I just bought you from the Cleveland Indians.

Leaders see talent and potential where others may not. They give people a chance at what they might be capable of becoming.

Leaders are passionate about winning. Period.

Billy to the A’s owner: That’s my bar. My bar is here. My bar is to take this team to the championship.

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