Business Lessons From The Wicket

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When you stop and break the game of cricket down a bit, it makes for a great business analogy.

It’s a team sport that isolates individual skill like no other. There’s nowhere to hide. Doesn’t matter whether you’re wielding the willow or flinging leather 22 yards. Then there’s the tactics required. The identification of opposition weaknesses to target. Your own strengths to promote. Ensuring you have the flexibility to adapt to all conditions and the depth to cover absences. The coach operates like a CEO, tasked with getting the best out of every member. Making the right calls under pressure. Managing egos. Delegating the operational decisions to his chief tactical officer (aka captain) on the ground.

Cricketer magazine recently ran an article about the signs that betray a team’s sell-by date. It doesn’t matter whether you understand cricket. Most of this list is applicable to any team, business or sport:

  1. Takes pride in ‘winning ugly’. If you’re performing badly but still managing to scrape over the line, it’s not something to be proud of. The next step is losing.
  2. Warm-up performances suddenly seem to matter. If squad members are being picked because of their performances when nothing is on the line, it’s because the incumbents aren’t doing their job.
  3. Injury-prone players become highly regarded. Everything will be ok when they return. Just wait and see.
  4. Increasingly obscure positives are taken. Yeah we lost, but everyone is fresh and raring for next week.
  5. People have stopped talking about ‘strength in depth’. Self-explanatory really.
  6. Team and squad announcements are exciting again. Because anyone is a chance of making it.
  7. The team is old. No youthful energy or exuberance.
  8. The team is young. No experience.
  9. Someone in a position of authority has used the phrase ‘transitional period’. Transitional periods are what you have to suffer when put on hold while trying to talk to your bank.
  10. Someone in a position of authority has talked about ‘rebuilding’. Which means your team is some way off from delivering.
  11. A blank canvas. The land of no expectations.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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