The first game every month is the opening game? Twins’ Fresh Start Strategy

2012 is going well for Google. Sales exceed $50 billion for the first time that year. Such Google invites some economists at the time to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, USA. Prasad Sethi, VP of Human Resources at Google, who gathered scholars, says: 

“The company provides 메이저놀이터 various welfare programs to improve the lives and work of its employees at the same time. It has several sports facilities within the company. It has also created training courses to solve problems such as smoking and unhealthy eating. I spent a lot of money, but the level of employee participation is too low.” He also asks, “There’s no publicity, and the staff seems too busy to have time to get involved. When is a good time to propose a new program to the staff?” 

Among the invited scholars is Katy Milkman. She is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert in behavioral science. Behavioral science breaks the belief of classical economics that rational choice is made, and pays attention to human psychology, which is inclined to human irrationality and bias. It is a study that uses this reversely to help make better decisions. Milkman is strong on the details that design good routines. If flipped, his research is also useful for breaking ‘bad habits’. Milkman suggests to Google how to design employee habits, how to catch new perspectives, and more.

The concept isn’t difficult. What do you do when you set a goal you want to achieve in your daily life, such as dieting, enrolling in an academy, or quitting smoking? Doesn’t it fit on your birthday, the first day of a new month, after the holidays, the beginning of the semester, or the first day of the new year? When you move, change jobs, or change departments, you sometimes make decisions. It connects the mind to say goodbye to what has been done so far and start anew from a blank slate. A new calendar is created in your mind. It’s an attempt to break with the past by combining opportunities for psychological re-challenge with a specific point in time, Milkman explains. He calls it the ‘fresh start effect’.

It reminded me of a baseball article I recently read about a fresh start at good timing. These are the words of Yeom Gyeong-yeop, manager of the LG Twins. “I told the players to think of the game that starts every month as the opening game, and next month, the win/loss will be reset and the opening game will be played again.” 

Director Yeom seems to have learned the ‘new start effect’ suggested by Milkman to Google through long field experience. In order to endure the long voyage of the season of 144 games over 7 months, coach Yeom’s intention to divide goals by month and restart the first game of the month with ‘opening match’ is the strategic goal design (naming, naming, signal-based planning, etc.). You are a strategist. 

Naming the first game of every month as the opening game rather than just ‘the first day of October’ is read as an intentional attempt to motivate and change the mood. For example, if you just started swimming, it might be more appealing to define it as ‘Dolphin Swim Day 1’ instead of ‘Swim Day 1’. It is the power of naming and a kind of nudge to stimulate a sense of purpose by recalling a dolphin-like body and wave skills.

However, it is difficult to sustain the behavioral change of most members only with thoughts, goals, education, and instructions. It is also advised by behavioral science to analyze the various patterns and variables of members to prepare systems and devices to draw help and cooperation from members. 

It is also a way to create an evaluation and compensation book that resets players who performed poorly last month in line with the new month. I saw the effect when the team I was in reversed the nightmare of the first month (4 wins and 17 losses) in the first season of 2013. However, each member’s situation is different, so the design of the system is cautious. Someone who causes damage reacts more sensitively. Loss aversion is also a deeply studied subject in the behavioral sciences. 

In baseball, even if the hitter makes a sacrifice bunt, the batting average does not suffer. Even if other options are sacrificed, baseball rules do not force records to be sacrificed. Jedo takes care of the spirit of team play in baseball. 

Note the Twins’ attempt to have their first game of the month be the Opening Day. How did you design it and what changes will it bring?

Korea Coach Association Certified Coach Kim Jong-moon

Kim Jong-moon was a reporter for the JoongAng Ilbo, and from 2011 to 2021 worked as a front for the NC Dinos baseball team. At the end of 2018, he took over as the leader of the ‘last-place’ team and led it to the first championship team two years later. He is currently a Korean Coach Association Certified Coach (KAC).

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