Saturday, 11 February 2012

What team India can learn from India Inc

And on 2nd April, 2011, history was rewritten when our own Men-in-Blue won the most prestigious trophy of the cricketing world, the ICC Cricket World Cup and thus, were crowned the number 1 ODI team. The Indian cricket team was already on the top position in the ICC Test Rankings since nearly two years and the World Cup victory coupled with the 1st rank in tests must have given the team the boost and confidence it would need to stay at the top for a long time.
Basking in this glory, the team went to West Indies for a mini tour which could be termed as the preparation for the upcoming “big” English summer. West Indies, for obvious reasons, couldn’t match India in any aspect and it seemed the “Blues” would triumph upon their English opponents as well.
And then, came the English beating. The “Blues” were beaten black and blue and had to return without tasting victory. The No. 1 team was no longer at the top position. As we read this article, we are at a time when India have lost 4 consecutive test matches to a team which was struggling in aspects of form, fitness and an inexperienced bowling attack. And the mighty Indian team lost like a bunch, not a team, of players.
As aspirants, we are often stumped by the roles of managers and the paradigms of management. I have made a comparison of management with the ongoing cricket tour Down Under. Let us consider the following points:
The hunger which the Indian team showed to take the numero uno position is nowhere to be seen now and it seems that they are satiated with the success that they have generated in the recent past. Likewise, there are chances that the managers of a company being satisfied with their company being at the first position. This could lead to a total downfall for the company. It is the manager’s onus to keep the company working harder for more success and it is the manager’s responsibility to draw hunger from its employees for this success.
Planning and Execution
Planning is the part in which you define goals and strive to achieve them. The Indian team lacked planning. They had no goals and thus, could never strive to achieve them. There was no planning done by the Indian team to take wickets like bowling outside the off stump and then one on the stumps and other such plans. Companies without proper planning would falter in a similar fashion even if it is at the top position and way ahead of its competitors. It is also crucial for the managers to execute the plans chalked out for their firms to consolidate their first position.
Too much Dependence on BIG players
Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman – the genius, the builder, the artist – the three pillars of the Indian batting line up. Our team has relied heavily on our strong guns, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and VVS Laxman, for most of our test matches, especially the overseas tours. However, with them faltering in the last few matches has made our team significantly weak. Our important players, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni and co, need to fire to fill in the gap created in our batting due to the lack of form of our top guns.
On a comparative basis, when the senior managers wear out of ideas, it is imperative for the junior managers to bring in new ideas and lead the firm effectively. A company cannot always rely on its senior most managers to run its businesses and the younger managers need to be more responsible and generate new ideas on a continuous basis.
Elango R, chief human resource officer at MphasiS, recently stated in an article in the Economic Times, “A star – at the work place or in the cricket team – is a star as long as the team wins.”
Weak Links
This guy has reached great heights in his life although only in the literal sense. He can extract good bounce from the fast and bouncy tracks and can use the pitch to its full extent. However, he has not been successful and there is a clear dip in his form. Lack of swing has not helped him at all. Of course, we are talking about Ishant Sharma, the tallest person of the squad. Having taken only 4 wickets in as many innings, more was expected from our second most experienced bowler of the squad. Indeed, he is one of the weak links. In companies too, one can find many such employees who either lack the skill or the willingness or the innovation to work magic for the company. The management needs to look out for such people and develop their skills to full extent in order to gain maximum out of them.
Losing out on viewers
It doesn’t take much time in the highly competitive corporate world to lose out on consumers. A single mistake or a single defeat may aid your competitor in taking all the limelight and your consumer base, our team lost 8 on trot! The firm’s managers always need to be on their toes to avoid such defeats and keep progressing towards the pinnacle. And unlike cricket (where the viewers would be back in front of their TV sets for the next series), the company will certainly lose out on its consumer base.
Leading from the front
The leader of a team, firm, group, or whatever you call it, is the most important person for the success of the team. Team India’s leader, captain MS Dhoni, has scored only 102 runs in 6 innings with an average of only 20.4 runs/innings. These figures are certainly not correlative to the caliber which the batsman has shown. Moreover, his captaincy lacks its sheen and its Midas’ touch which once used to work wonders and win matches for India out of nowhere. Managers and CEOs, too, need to be proactive leaders and have to make decisions and plan and execute these decisions in the right way to work wonders for the company. A manager not only has to be effective in leading but also has to lead by example. Only then can the company attain a move up on the ladder of success. Leaders of the management constantly need to change their thinking and keep evolving to strike gold.
To complete the analogy, let us consider the case of Nokia. Nokia was a one-time leader in the 90’s. Complacency at top position and lack of innovative leadership rendered Nokia in losing the top position to Apple and Samsung.
Well, of course, these are not the only things that will bring success to an organization. The list is long and ways are many. The management world is constantly evolving. But, by keeping in mind these aspects, the chances of attaining success will grow manifold. There are many scenarios of day-to-day life with which we can relate to the working of a manager and this is one of them. I would like to end with a note that management is no rocket science but it’s the constant improvisation and continuous planning that makes you “Steve Jobs.”

The article has been contributed by Harshal Parikh, PGP 2011-13. He can be reached at When not busy representing the batch he plays cricket and derides any anti-Sachin Fan.

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