by Jake Toplitt
Like many of my Matter, Inc. colleagues, I’ve loved sports my whole life. On a daily basis, I keep a close eye on issues and trends that relate to sports leagues, business and sponsorship.
And now that the baseball season is underway, a current hot topic is instant replay.
Major League Baseball (MLB) implemented a challenge-based replay system this season; if a manager disagrees with a call made by an umpire on the field, they now have the ability to challenge one ruling per game (and receive a second challenge if the ruling on their first challenge is overturned).
Many people think the integration of review by instant replay into professional baseball is a good thing. For years, viewers watching at home on TV could clearly see if an umpire missed a call, and yet the umpires themselves lacked a mechanism to review plays and overturn mistakes. With the implementation of a replay system this year, the MLB is helping to put umpires in a better position to get the call right.
Still, a popular sentiment is that the system is a work in progress. If the overall goal is to get the call right, critics wonder if a challenge system is the best means of accomplishing that. In a recent game, for example, a manager was unable to challenge a critical call that appeared to be incorrect because they had already spent their challenge earlier in the game. For this reason, one suggestion put forth by reporters to improve replay has been to centralize review and automatically look at questionable calls. This would eliminate the managerial challenge altogether; again, with the goal of getting as many calls right as possible.
How does this relate to our business? Our goal always needs to be – and is – getting the call right. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, or even how budgets are divided. We work to make sure every project is completed as best as it can be. Like MLB with its replay system, we’re constantly evaluating and optimizing our processes to best meet our clients’ goals.
A great example is how we at MATTER work within the larger Edelman network. My colleagues and I on the sports team at MATTER have fostered strong relationships with many members of the sports media. When members of other practices – such as health or consumer – within Edelman need to pitch sports media as part of programs for their clients, they will often bring us in to allow for the best chance of success. Conversely, I’m currently working on a program for a client that is a sports program, but includes some components that really aren’t related to sports at all. Our resources within the Edelman network have allowed me to bring in specialists from outside our practice to best facilitate the accomplishing of our client’s media objectives.
It’s important for all businesses to critically analyze their operations on a regular basis, the way that MLB is doing with replay. Whether it’s strategically structuring a communication chain at a financial company, reallocating resources in a manufacturing process at a factory, or working cross-department at a firm like ours, the goal should ultimately always be the same – getting the call right.