Do You Know Your VORP

Not a class 8 Vorpal sword you geek, Value Over Replacement Player, OK equally geeky.  You baseball fans out there will recognize this stat.  A guy I work with, Eray, taught me its importance in business.  We are all measured by our value over replacement player.  Basically the stat calculates how much better each player is over the mythical average player in that position.  If you have a high VORP then you are one of the better players at your position, a negative VORP then you suck.  It does not take into account intangibles it just puts you on a scale.


Barry Bonds in 1992 had the top VORP

Inherently managers calculate your VORP at work.  If you have a low VORP you are at risk of getting fired because, odds are good, the next person they hire will be better than you.  So how do you avoid getting dumped?  Maximize your VORP.  In Baseball it boils down to runs and outs, assuming in the end that is all that matters.  In business it all boils down to delivery.  If you are a sales person then it is all about your numbers, if you are a manager it is all about your numbers, if you are a clerk, still, it is all about your numbers.  The assumption is your numbers add up to either higher revenue or lower costs or both for the company.

office space

So maximize your VORP.  In other words stop worrying about anything other than delivery.  Drive for results since that’s all that matters.  You may hear at your annual review “you need to develop soft skills” or “you need to become a better manager” but in reality your manager is just identifying areas where, if you improved, you would likely increase your delivery.  This is really BS though, if you delivered the company’s biggest sales numbers then you can be a jerk and they are still going to pay you like a rock star.  Get it, results.


Did I just say you can ignore your faults?  NO!  At least, not unless you are the biggest rock star at the company, in which case, yes do what you want as long as you do not break the cardinal sins*.  Steve Ballmer can curse and throw chairs if he wants, he is BMOC.  For the rest of us who’s VORP is closer to 0 we have to pay attention because when a manager calculates VORP they then think about what it costs to keep you, $ + Political Capital + Emotional Energy = cost.  If your cost is high and your VORP is only OK, then you are on your way out.

You maximize your VORP by:

  1. Knowing what you are responsible to deliver, sales people have this easy, lots of $. The rest of us think we have it in our commitments but in truth what you really need to deliver is not there, it will be one layer removed.
  2. Focus on delivering on your responsibilities not changing the world; you can work towards changing the world over time. It’s too easy to get caught up in the BIG DELIVERY and end up missing this year’s delivery at which time you get fired.
  3. Creating a Zone of Excellence around you, help everyone be GREAT, you will get more delivery credit for their successes than you realize.

*Cardinal Sins

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Racial discrimination
  • Religious persecution
  • Theft or embezzlement
  • Leaking confidential information
  • Combining plaids and stripes in the same outfit

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