The 2017 World Series is in the books, and the Houston Astros brought home the trophy for the first time in the franchise’s history. As a native Houstonian, The Man From FCPA could not be prouder. The series was magical yet gave us many compliance lessons to consider going forward.
A key lesson the role of data analytics in baseball and in compliance. The clear conclusion is that data is a tool which every compliance practitioner needs to use but it is only a tool. Even if data analytics can see patterns in raked leaves, it still takes a compliance professional to understand not only what that means but to put the information to use, whether it be actionable or requiring more of a deep dive investigation.
A second lesson was on the use of strategic risk. The teams used the risk management process of forecasting, risk assessment, and risk management as a way to retool the focus of their teams and we considered how you could do so in the context of your compliance program. By starting with forecasting, a compliance function utilizes risk assessment to consider issues which forecasting did not predict for or issues which the forecasting model raised as a potential outcome which warranted a deeper dive.
A somewhat negative lesson was on discipline. It involved Astro Yuli Gurriel, who after hitting a home run off Dodger pitcher Darvish pulled his eyes back to mock a slant-eyed facial expression. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred properly condemned the racial gesture and suspended Gurriel but then completely dropped the ball when he delayed the suspension until the 2018 season. This complete lack of follow through rendered the discipline ineffective.
For me, this magical run was about the joy and passion of baseball. The Astros are a young team and their infectious joy was a sight to behold. I am very passionate about compliance and the Astros demonstrated you can be professional yet joyful in your chosen profession. So Just enjoy it.