I have talked about my learnings from MBA and sports in general as well as changing tennis & football formats to make them more interesting , in my earlier posts . I have mentioned in my “about me”section that I wont be talking anything specific about cricket in my blog. But being an Indian,the temptation is too much to resist & I present my learnings from the game of cricket in this post.These are apart from common things like handling pressure, strategy formation, team spirit, etc….
1. Right men @ right place @ right time. In cricket a dynamic captain is not sufficient to win matches. Right fielders need to be @ right positions @ right time during the match. The small savings in runs are extremely crucial in the shorter formats. Similarly, the management needs to understand the capabilities of its employees & ensure that they are doing the job which is the most suitable to their “style of play”.
2. Surprise the competitor/ anticipate his moves : Bowling a slower delivery/bouncer or introducing an unexpected bowler can pay rich dividends. A firm will succeed only if the competitor is not able to guess what its next move will be. On the other hand it is necessary to anticipate others’ moves, just like it is necessary to read the bowler’s mind precisely to become a successful batsman.
3. Change is inevitable
Understanding the changes in customer likings & lifestyle is inevitable for the company to survive. Test matches & even one-dayers were too long and in general boring to watch for a office-going guy or a student who is increasingly stressed in studies with each passing year. Have a look at the new T20 format. It has succeeded because it captured the dynamics of the changing population well.Take the example of IPL.. Lets us understand what does IPL mean to people. There is a match everyday at 8′o’ clock for almost 2 months, each one having enough tension, drama , excitement. Hence IPL is perceived mainly as a 3-hr entertainment reality show for office- going people who come home tired at around the same time.
Another point to take from this example is that a company’s newer products may kill the company’s own earlier ones, unless the older ones are modified sufficiently to adapt to newer class of customers.
4. Always try to find a common liking to break the ice. Cricket is one informal topic which you can start discussing with the other person to break the ice before proceeding onto more formal discussions. There are only 2 things which are common throughout India—corruption & cricket.
5. Don’t criticize unless you are really an expert.
As someone has rightly said–It is easier to play cricket sitting on a sofa and watching it on TV than playing on 22-yard pitch. I have seen countless pre-match & post-match analysis of matches , with so called experts of the game criticizing some star players. Just a couple of questions to these “experts”..” Why are you in the studio and not on the 22-yard pitch? What have you achieved in your career in cricket, if you ever had one?”. As a legendary batsman has rightly said “everyone in the country apart form those 5-6 members of the selection committee knows which is the right team to select”..The selectors probably had something in them which enabled them to reach there, which the countless cricket experts probably didnot have. During recession ,there were many analysts criticizing CEOs of some of the biggest names of the world. Well, the CEOs manage to earn millions every year…how much do these analysts earn ? Where do they stand in the financial world?….The argument is simple..”Why do you criticize anyone who has achieved more success than you? If you are better than that person, what prevented you from reaching there?”. All of us suffer from this “criticizing disease”
6. Dont be under the wrong impression that you cannot be displaced from #1 position…
People in India at one point were mad for cricket.I have myself watched matches till 3’o clock in the night. Now, things have changed quite significantly..India-Pak match also fails to stimulate people enough..The point is you may be the most popular/ successful, but if you donot innovate , you are bound to fall behind.
7. Managing the bullies
In cricket there is a cricket board of one nation that “suggests” the “appropriate actions and steps” to the top body of world cricket…Similar analogies can be found in some companies & countries…Protesting against these bullies maynot be the right action..they have too much bargaining power.A way needs to be found to live with them but at the same time ensuring that we manage to get our things done
8. It is allright to be jack of all trades,master of none
Australia is only a decent bowling, batting & fielding side, still it is #1..The only requirement is that the “jacks” need to co-ordinate amongst themselves well…
I sincerely feel that if a leader thinks like a cricket captain & steers the company as if it is a team & the business environment as a cricket match , he may be able to make better decisions for the company. But unlike in India where sports other than cricket haven’t received enough recognition, the company needs to give enough attention to businesses apart from the flagship one.