Thursday, January 14, 2010

Client Spotlight: Michael Chernoff of the Cleveland Indians

HNMCP: How did you first hear about HNMCP?

MC: I first heard about HNMCP through my brother, Brian, who was involved in the program as an HLS student.

HNMCP: What were the attractions of working with a team of students around negotiation?

MC: In baseball, we do all sorts of negotiations and use different techniques for many of the different types of negotiations we do. However, we don’t often have time to step back and fully understand the academic or conceptual framework behind a lot of our work. We hoped that working with a knowledgeable team of students with a fresh perspective would give us an opportunity to evaluate why we do many of things we do and then to improve them based on actual research-based techniques.

HNMCP: What worries did you have about working with a team of students?

MC: Before we started the work, we had some concerns about managing the process. With so many demands on our time, it is often difficult for us to spend as much time as we would like to manage outside relationships like this. [But] the students ended up managing the entire process for us, pushing us along and independently working to complete their goals to the point where this concern was a complete non-issue.

HNMCP: What were some of the challenges of the project? What were some of the insights?

MC: Two challenges that we faced were (1) gathering information from each of the many different parties involved in our negotiations (negotiators, front office decision-makers, agents, players, and media) and (2) compiling the information in a presentable and useable format. In the end, the students did an exceptional job reaching out to people in baseball to gather the information they needed to make insightful conclusions, and they came up with a web site format for presenting the information that not only clearly consolidated it in one useable format but also allowed for their end result to have a long-lasting impact because of its ease of use.

HMMCP: What tangible results did you see from your work with HNMCP?

MC: The impact was tangible, in terms of monetary gain and better relationships with agents, players, and management. We had a lot of success in our draft negotiations this year by implementing some new techniques, many of which came from the research and internal website that our HNMCP student team put together. The project clearly had real results for us, and I think the research and website have a chance to make a lasting impact in future negotiations as well. It was a great experience. We would welcome the idea of working with your group again.

Michael Chernoffis Director of Baseball Operations for the Cleveland Indians. To read more about the Cleveland Indians project, click here.