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Read with Chai

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Winning Way 2.0

Harsha & Anita Bhogle

Nostalgia

An interesting book that brings two seemingly different worlds together — cricket and team management [in corporate]. The anecdotes from cricket era as old as 1920s are very appealing for the cricket lover in me and made me fall in love with the sport again. Harsha, as impressive as he is as a commentator and cricket pundit, continues to impress through his writing. It comes off effortlessly. Two of my favorite chapters were- “how to be a good manager” and “success at what cost”. They touched on very relevant points for me. Overall the book was a good read.

Understanding the business world through the lens of sport is stimulating and energizing. The book has expressively and compellingly laid out the ‘ground rules’ of winning!

Let’s face it, roller coasters are far more thrilling than merry go rounds!

“reeling under the burden of their own growth”

The problems that winners have are often bigger and more complicated than those of the also-rans.

Can the hand that cracks the whip also be the reassuring hand on an over burdened shoulder? Winning today is about finding the balance between being encouraging and being ruthless.

An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.

In the context of T20 cricket, a ball on a perfect length just outside off stump, a good ball in test cricket, becomes an easily hittable ball in T20. And so a bowler has to cast aside an old definition of a good ball for a different form of the game. Skill in one form isn’t an indicator of success in another.

Players need to be challenged all the time, it is what keeps them hungry and excited, and like nature, organisations must have mechanisms not only for nurturing but also culling.

Importance of culling
Australia remained strong because they had a very rigourous, almost brutal, exit policy. When Ian Healy wanted to finish in front of his home crowd, he was told he couldn’t because Adam Gilchrist was ready. Steve Waugh wanted to finish his career with a win in India in 2004 but was told he wasn’t going to stay that long. At the first sign of decline in Gilchrist, the word must have gone out too. When Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United, Ruud van Nistelroy was bid goodbye and Ryan Giggs was found more often on the bench than in the field. When young players realize they are getting an opportunity because of a stringent exit policy, they also know that they can’t linger when their time comes.

positive attrition’ — happy to see the bottom leaving, making way for better performers.

Test vs t20 — Change
Players born into an atmosphere of not letting a bowler get them out discovered that they had to play with a different set of values; that being out after belting a quick 30 was more valuable than denying a bowler a wicket and making 35 in 50 balls.

Winning cycles, we think are getting shorter. Earlier, number 1 brands had a longer run at the top. Bajaj and then Hero in two-wheelers, Philips in electricals, Rajesh Khanna and then Amitabh Bachchan in films ruled in their categories for several years. Now trends keep changing and most categories have five or six brands closely competing with each other. 2015 already saw the return of scooters; making up for 30 per cent of the two-wheeler market led by Honda.

Fear
The fear of winning can sometimes be greater than the fear of losing!

Self-belief is an essential aspect of development and if you are not winning, you’ll never acquire. To be a champion, you need big match temperament. It’s a peculiar paradox. To know how to win, you must win frequently. As Aristotle said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit’.

Roots
If you have grown up in a family with few means at its disposal, you will still eat the last corner slice of bread or vigorously shake the bottle of ketchup to extract the last drop even if you can easily afford another one. If you are a family-driven company, you cannot suddenly become a professionally-managed company, as Kumaramangalam Birla discovered when, as a young man, he took over the companies his charismatic father Aditya Birla had managed.

Windies
Greenidge, Haynes, Richards, Richardson, Gomes, Lloyd, Dujon, Marshall, Roberts, Holding and Garner. It created a sense of hopelessness in them and opposing teams have often spoken of losing matches before they had started.

Doing the one per cent things is a sign of humility, while on the other hand ignoring them would be a mark of arrogance. It is also a great indicator of work ethic, the one factor more than any other that contributes to winning consistently. I fear not the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times. — Bruce Lee

Higher levels of competition demand higher levels of execution. ‘Even a momentary lapse in attention can lead to disproportionate damage’. Consistency creates the aura that surrounds champions. In business, consistency comes from top class execution.

‘Innovation is as much in execution as it is in ideation.’

That is what champions do. They force you to divert attention from your game to theirs. You don’t look at your strengths, you look at theirs!

How do their employees appear to the outside world? What is the message they are subliminally conveying about themselves and their company?

Teams need to build on their heritage not get blinded by it and maybe the best way to do that is to embrace the present and address the needs of the present.

Winners visualize the rewards of success, losers visualize the penalties of failure.

Dreams vs Goals
The moment you put a deadline on your dream, it becomes a goal. Sometimes a dream doesn’t remain as attractive as it did when it was first stored snugly in your head. You are accountable for your goals, but not for your dreams and maybe it is the fear of being accountable that keeps some things in the realm of dreamland.

Goals should be slightly out of reach but never out of sight.

Goals that cause you to dig deeper, extract just that little bit more out of yourself; cause you to liberate yourself from the comfort zone you are happily ensconced in.

What you achieve is a function of what you think you can.’
Once Roger Bannister went past the mile in under four minutes, others quickly followed suit. A double century in a one-day international was inconceivable, why there was an era where a century was considered a distant landmark. Once Sachin Tendulkar got it in 2010, many more were scored.

I accept that my current skills will not allow me to be the financial analyst I want to be so I will work towards erasing those limitations and then become the financial analyst I want to be.

Common pitfalls: over-estimate their ability or sell themselves short.

Kumble: ‘All his life Sachin Tendulkar had to live up to people’s expectations, I had to change them!’

Who knows how many opportunities we might have missed out on, simply because we looked at them in anticipation of failure.

Abhinav Bindra on Olympics being a 1 day event
‘It’s not every four years, it is every day.’ And so every day, he set himself small goals that required some degree of effort but were achievable goals. Those are important, he says since all your happiness cannot be tied to that single, huge goal which finally may or may not happen. So, there is hope and fulfilment on the way, the satisfaction of having achieved something and the inspiration to achieve the next goal.

The objective of playing is to deliver peak performance, which is often in your control, rather than to produce a result where you rarely control all the variables. Setting performance goals therefore, not only takes away the anxiety of the result but allows you to come away aware of the fact that you gave your best.

For to lose is not a crime, to offer less than 100 per cent is.

Both performance goals and result goals are important. Without result goals, managers will not know what the end objective is. Without performance goals the end may become more important than the means and it may become more difficult to replicate success.

The workhorse might have to bowl into the breeze so that the strike bowler can take wickets with the wind behind him. In such a situation it is imperative that the leader makes it clear to everyone what his or her role is and what the successful completion of the role entails. Somebody has to set up a goal for someone to score it and organisations that do not reward those that set up goals will find there are no more goals to score! Knowing your role and how it contributes to the overall goal is absolutely critical to motivation.

Winning seems to make everything worth it. Certainly so when you have played the game fairly. Yet, winning is like a welcome drink going down your throat, or like a beautiful embrace. It is brilliant while it lasts but that isn’t forever. The high eventually melts away and the journey of life begins afresh.

While winning requires you to understand your environment, it requires you, more than anything else, to understand yourself.

Self-awareness is very important. What works for you doesn’t work for someone else.

It’s one thing to want to win, quite another to do whatever it takes to get there.

Handling pressure, resilience, optimism or even being a team player can be counted as essential skills and organizations need to find ways to check for these when they recruit or even promote employees.

possible to stay relevant if you are curious and not worried about the age of the person teaching you! In fact as an investor and mentor, he spends time every day with aspiring entrepreneurs, learning in the process about new technology, an experience he calls ‘blood transfusion’. The skill to work with people who know more than yourself’ as one that will be critical for leaders of the future.

It is not who you are but what you can do that is important; resourcefulness is now the discriminant, to borrow a term from statistics.

Adaptability in changing circumstances then would be essential to survival. Cadbury had the resources but it was their agility, their ability to size up a situation and take immediate action that saved the day. [re:worms in cadbury]

Champions dig deep; when the first serve isn’t really working, when the leg break isn’t coming out of the hand the right way, when the wind picks up just at tee off and drags the first shot wide, champions show the virtues of hanging in there.

‘What matters,’ she said, ‘isn’t how well you play when you’re playing well. What matters is how well you play when you’re playing badly.’

‘Everybody on a championship team doesn’t get publicity, but everyone can say he’s a champion.’

He thinks winning teams are more giving and forgiving. We have heard so many clients say that when teams go through troubled times, everyone goes back into their silos and guards their turf. So does success create team spirit or does team spirit lead to success?

Winners, however, are always under scrutiny, they are expected to win, their game gets analysed threadbare and the opponent comes armed with all the information he needs. If you are a challenger you make news when you win, if you are a winner, it’s news when you lose! It is not easy for winners to live with the knowledge that winning is merely par. It is important therefore to know why you have won because if your own victory has surprised you, it only means that you didn’t expect to win, that you thought it was a chance win, or maybe because your competitor faltered or that you just got lucky.

‘Does the postman celebrate when he delivers a letter?’ he is known to have asked. Success has to be repeatable because that is what makes you a champion. This implies knowing why you are winning.

Flair has always been considered glamorous, but grit has never been fashionable, and certainly not in India.

‘Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.’ — Warren Buffet

3rd year in Sport
Experts often talk about the ‘third year’ in international sport being critical. When a newcomer comes along you don’t always know what he can do, or what bag of tricks he possesses. By the second year you have sorted him out and he now faces a situation, new to him, where he has to confront failure and find a way around it, ideally by developing new skills or by becoming more consistent. The better players succeed in year three while the flash-in-the-pan kind wither away, unable to come to terms with the heightened challenge.

Often, when the goal is daunting and the journey arduous, there is a sense of having achieved the goal, even if it’s really only a milestone. They mistake a milestone for a goal and they feel that their destination has already arrived.

Managing success is always more difficult than achieving it and staying number one is more difficult than becoming number one.

‘Success is a lousy teacher, it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’ — Bill Gates

Finery outside conceals the penury within.

Success becomes a blanket that covers up weaknesses. You don’t see them growing until one fine day, the blanket is ripped off to reveal reality. Success is always in the context of time, space and scale, of when, where and at what level. You need to look at the context in which success was achieved. If that has changed, then the probability of the same formula working has perhaps changed too. It might still work, but it is not necessary that it will.

The passage of time is a huge factor to keep in mind while determining the relevance of a success formula. Not everything needs to be thrown out of the window though. It’s a good idea to revisit what worked for you, evaluate what still works and then, discard the rest. That is why we believe that it is important to analyse success with the same rigour with which failure is assessed.

A defeat when the effort is lower can wake you up, a win with a lower threshold of effort can start making you complacent.

‘Satisfactory underperformance’, to borrow a term from management guru Sumantra Ghoshal, is a far more dangerous illness than might seem apparent.

Organisations need to have a healthy paranoia. He believes winning teams need to benchmark ruthlessly every time and the reason they sometimes don’t is that they remain too internally focused. Healthy paranoia would seem to be a good antidote to satisfactory underperformance. Along with creating the vision for the next level, leaders need to shake the team out of this plateau by creating what we call positive turbulence. Sometimes the environment forces change upon organisations but in case that does not happen, organisations need to be proactive in getting teams ready for change as and when it happens.

Failure 😨
Those wounded and vanquished in warfare not only have scars to display, but with each scar comes a story and a lesson: of what not to do, of errors of judgement, of assumptions that were horribly wrong. That is the reason why success stories are so well-documented while failure is strictly limited to post-mortems within the organisation. While the truth is that failure in fact gets analysed a lot more than success, it is often with the intention of putting the blame on persons, processes or even the environment or market conditions, rather than learning from it.

There is a harvest waiting at the end of the failure

Life isn’t measured a failure at a time but over a career and the 218 successes counted for much more than the 397 failures!

A team caught up in success sometimes fails to see the world changing. India at hockey and England at limited-overs cricket are great examples of traditional powers ignoring the winds of change through laziness or arrogance or whatever and having to taste defeat to jolt them back into modernity.

A team of champions pulling in different directions can’t become a champion team whereas a team pulling together is better than the sum of its parts. The Australians, in their prime, often said they believed they were playing 12 versus 11, with their team spirit being the twelfth player.

But what you need to overcome tough times is perseverance. There’s nothing like success or failure anymore, only feedback. The key to turning things around is positivity and the conviction that things will get better soon enough.

Mistakes warn you about where you shouldn’t be going and what not to do the next time round. Winning is not about not making mistakes, but about how to learn from them and become wiser and stronger. It’s not about not getting knocked down but about how fast you can get up and fight again.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. — Charles Darwin

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near,’

Familiarity breeds comfort.

Hockey 🏑 & India 🇮🇳
A game that Indians were champions at 50 years ago is not the same as the one that is played today. In those days, hockey was played on grass and the Indian style of wristy shots and pretty moves was perfect for the surface. Europe, home to Astroturf surfaces, was the earliest to move to the artificial surface, about 40 years ago. Even today, countries like Holland and Australia have several times the number of Astroturf grounds as there are in India. Hockey establishment was run by politicians, former bureaucrats and retired players, none of whom could really contribute towards better management of the game. Mismanagement, in-fighting and lack of a professional approach turned away potential sponsors and broadcasters from the game.

The past impinges on the present, but in sport, as in most things in life, you must live in the present. The ball that has baffled you is gone and you are alive to play another. If you keep thinking of that ball, it will cloud your judgement and make it difficult for you to play the next one. You learn from the moment gone by, but you must act in the present.

Cricket’s contemporary product, T20 and a new improved Lifebuoy are good examples of an outside-in approach, looking at what the consumer needs, and changing in keeping with those trends.

Michael Holding once said, ‘There are no fast bowlers no more … they merely run in a long way!’

The greater the mass, the higher the inertia. Large monopolies, especially highly regulated businesses or chronic winners are the perfect profile to exhibit such stagnancy.

Change is at the centre of growth and expansion. Businesses don’t always grow in a linear fashion. While continuity is like the roots of a tree, giving it longevity, change is like the branches that help the tree flourish.

Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time. — Bill Gates

T20 emerged out of a customer need identified through market research and it originated, interestingly, in England, a bastion of orthodoxy and the home of test cricket. Most often, it takes an Uber or an AirBnB, players outside the system, to disrupt business models. With T20 you could say, cricket disrupted itself!

In keeping with what the generation was starting to do with everything else, it offered an ‘experience and discard’ model of viewing sport. You no longer needed to remember what happened at Chepauk in 1974–75, or Leeds in 2002 or Mumbai in 2004. No. You enjoyed the game as it happened, you sat on the edge of your seat, surfed the unpredictability and left everything behind with the result and moved on.

Batsmen were looking for more gaps, not just between fielders as they were taught to by the old masters but in the space between the fielder and the sky above.

Execution is the defining element and therefore the stumbling-block.

Talent without the right attitude is like a stallion running amuck.

Surrender ‘me’ for ‘we’

Pat Riley says that good teams become great when players trust each other enough to surrender the ‘me’ for the ‘we’.

The biggest danger to the ‘we’ ironically comes with winning. The pursuit of success brings a team together but achieving it can sometimes be a poison pill and test a leader. Success often breeds many owners.

Feelings of comradeship, of surrendering the self to the wider cause, can only arise in either a highly spiritual phase or where the performer of great achievements has ascended to a level of personal calm about those achievements. When you are in a mob, and all of us are in a mob sometimes, self-preservation will always prevail. When a team is performing, and therefore settled, and where individuals are secure, they can rise above the self and play for the cause. Indeed, playing for the cause then becomes a greater virtue.

🇮🇳
Marten Pieters, then MD and CEO of Vodafone, likes to think of Indians as individualistic rather than selfish. ‘People are individualistic in all cultures. But in India you learn very young that you can only succeed more or less at the cost of someone else. Here you are happy to scream from the towers, “I am the best of the class”. If you did that in Holland, people would hate you. It is more appreciated to be in line with the team than excel.’

Clear communication of team rules and a low tolerance for deviation from these rules are critical to good team culture. It only suggests an alignment of individual goals with team goals and if there is a situation where these goals are in conflict, team goals must take precedence. It also suggests a culture of co-operation and helping those who are falling behind in performance (and there will always be such people or businesses) to improve and do better.

While diversity can be enforced, inclusion needs to work in spirit.

Consensus may not be 100 per cent but commitment has to be.

Mutual respect makes collaboration easy and the camaraderie in the team is largely due to this respect that team members have for each other. Some players might think they only play small roles and are therefore not important enough. But without them, the team can lose a larger battle. You only have to see the pit-stop crew at a Formula One race to be convinced of this. A delay in changing tires could be the difference between winning and losing a race!

Australian cricket team which he believes ‘successfully marries individual brilliance with organisational consistency’.

“crystal-ball gazing”

Sport is the ultimate meritocracy and anyone with skill can make it to the top, regardless of his age or background.

Performing the Hakka, wearing the baggy green or sporting the India jersey are privileges that are priceless.

Situational Leaders

Often leadership is perplexing. Winston Churchill, who is remembered as one of the finest leaders during World War II, lost the elections that immediately followed the end of the war. One who made a great wartime leader was rejected as a peacetime manager!

For a long time, England made a distinction between ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Players’. The former were aristocracy or gentry. There was a time when that’s where you needed to have come from to become captain of the English cricket team and it wasn’t till 1952 that a professional or a ‘Player’, Len Hutton, was appointed the captain. If you needed to earn money from the sport, it was felt, you were probably of the wrong stock! India, taking its cue from England, had princes as captain on its tours to England before Independence, ahead of cricketers who were more qualified but seemingly, of lower birth. Even Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, as it turns out, one of India’s greatest captains, got the job at 21 because he was seen to have the right background. In later years, Mohammed Azharuddin and Mahendra Singh Dhoni became captains without anyone raising an eyebrow despite their relatively modest backgrounds.

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. — Mahatma Gandhi

The buzz in the dressing room that spells positive energy is largely to do with the climate that the leader creates. Most people in this world don’t realise how good they can be and it needs a captain, coach, mentor or boss to encourage wards to challenge themselves all the time, set high goals and grow,

‘Team mates who ask you uncomfortable questions are actually your greatest allies.’

‘I’d be wary of anyone who’s a popular captain because it means the players are getting their own way all the time and getting to do the things they want to do and sometimes you want them to do things they really don’t want to do. That’s why you have to keep with them so they respect you. You need to keep in mind that you’re one of them, and not take yourself too seriously and become some kind of superior being in the dressing room. But you have to get the balance between being one of them and also making sure that when you speak, they listen.’

Yousuf was weighed down by leadership rather than buoyed by it!

Some people enjoy being leaders; you can see that in their body language, while others are inherently private people, happy to contribute but who find it a burden to take on any responsibility beyond that which they can carry out.

It came as no surprise that each of these three [Ganguly, Dhoni & Kohli] seemed ready to become the leader because in their minds they had already started thinking like one.

It’s also not possible or even desirable for leaders to make everyone happy in the final outcome. Leaders who try to do that rarely achieve success. It requires courage and conviction to take decisions and even more to stand by them.

‘The Ws and Ls (wins and losses) go against your name.’

A leader’s positivity can generate hope in a team that could otherwise believe that defeat is imminent. And hope is the strongest weapon a team can possess. Warne says it is important to erase from your mind things that you can no longer do because that will only weigh you down and is a waste of time anyway. Instead, he says, always ask yourself what you can.

The ‘can-do’ attitude is a defining one and one that future leaders must search for within themselves.

West vs East
‘Western leaders depend more on clarity of two-way communication and implicit delegation. Eastern leadership is perhaps a lot more feudal. They depend on clarity of instruction and alignment.’

What’s needed is a little intervention from outside, for changes and for impact. It is a symptom of freshness, new perspective and arguably, more perceived objectivity. Most mothers complain that their children suffer from “mother deafness” because they are constantly chiding their children and the kids do not seem to respond … then fathers say the same thing and suddenly things happen. CEOs feel similarly about CEO deafness.

The opposition should be led to believe that the leader might still have a few aces up his sleeve and, certainly, that he isn’t going to give up easily. A young captain like Virat Kohli is different in that his face tends to be a mirror to his thoughts but within a year of becoming captain, he had already talked of the need to preserve his energy and not waste it in on-field displays of aggression.

captain [leader] needs to see the bigger picture.

Walk the talk / Practice what you preach

‘He never asked people to do something he wouldn’t do himself. He didn’t believe in a night watchman and wanted a batsman to go out himself. But then he did the same when it was his turn.’ On chartered flights within India for the national team, the captain was entitled to a business class seat. But Dhoni always sat at the back and gave his seat to a fast bowler because he was aware they needed the comfortable seat more than he did. Many leaders say the right things but few walk the talk. Authentic leaders earn the respect of their teams and even their competitors.

Indians on culling
Indians are also people-oriented, often putting people ahead of the task. This shows in the way we are so poor with constructive culling, often letting non-performers continue well beyond their sell-by date. It helps nobody, because a leader’s skill lies as much in picking a player at the right time as in letting him go at the required moment. We are sentimental people and we tend to hang on to our good-byes and while the intention can be noble at a personal level, it is not a great team-building tactic, for there is a fear of accumulating non-performing people assets.

Who’s a great leader?

Hands-on leadership

This was amply demonstrated by Lalit Modi when, in a span of a mere three weeks, he successfully moved the second IPL tournament to South Africa after the Central government expressed its inability to guarantee sufficient security-cover for the players in the wake of elections being announced at around the same time as the IPL. To move a tournament of such magnitude, involving such complicated logistics and international participation at such short notice says a lot about Lalit Modi’s guts as well as his decision-making. To many it would have seemed an impossible move but as always, in difficulty there lurks an opportunity. By producing an impeccable IPL 2, Modi produced a global Indian brand that may not have been possible had it remained in India. So there it is, in times of crisis, you need a hands-on leader who is looking beyond apparent difficulties.

Understanding that the qualities that brought you so far are not the ones that will necessarily take you forward is an adjustment that many fail to make.

Secure Leader

Imran could do this because he was a secure leader. He had the experience, but no longer the expertise needed. Akram had all the skill but didn’t yet possess the experience. The combination though, using the best both had to offer, was brilliant. And this combination of experience and expertise has great possibilities in industry where technology makes senior managers less informed compared to the youngsters entering the work force but allows them to mould the knowledge bursting through the younger lot. So instead of conflict between generations, can companies tap the invaluable strengths present and use it to mutual benefit? This combination of experience and expertise is something good teams must employ.

In management too, leaders who steer companies out of tight situations with prudent controls and tight spending, could find it difficult to lead the ship when giant investments fuelled by optimism are the need of the hour. You need grit in one situation and big heart of innovation in other.

You need someone to count the paise in one situation and someone to invest the big rupees in another. Not surprisingly, therefore, leaders have a shelf-life too.

Jose Mourinho was thought good enough for two years at Chelsea, indeed two-three years in one job seems to be his best bet, but Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger seemed to go on and on for Manchester United and Arsenal. Ganguly did the job for five years while Dravid thought his time had come in two.

It took sixty years for an HUL to set up their formidable distribution network, it took ITC only twenty to achieve the same. And Flipkart managed that reach in five years and through a very different process.

Play with respect. Win with grace. — Roger Federer

Greed, which is at the heart of it, takes away from the purity of winning. And when greed becomes all-consuming, excellence becomes secondary.

How will a sport survive if its finest values — of honest effort, persistence, a respect for the rules, the acceptance of defeat — itself become redundant? How will a sport survive if everyone is cheating at every stage? — Rahul Dravid in the M. A. K. Pataudi memorial lecture

Greed could drive people and organizations to bankruptcy as well. The fall of Lehmann Brothers, Enron, Kingfisher and Sahara shows what greed can lead to. Old-timers like N. R. Narayana Murthy therefore insist that values come first, performance second. Long-term team culture cannot be compromised for short-term gains and that is what a leader must have the courage to do at all times.

Never give up, matches are not won or lost till the last ball. Also, one person alone cannot win, nor do everything. Each of us has a valuable role to play.

Winning is a habit. Cultivate it but never forget that you win some, you lose some. Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.

I remember learning one of my first leadership lessons on that cricket team [Hyderabad]. There was an incident where I was bowling and wasn’t performing at my best. My captain at that time took over from me and got the team a breakthrough and then he handed the bowling back to me and I did go onto taking the most wickets in that inning. I remember being stunned when he did that. It would have made more sense for him to continue, but it left an impression on me. I think that’s an important leadership lesson that I’ve carried with me, in terms of how leaders build confidence around their team and empower people to believe in their own abilities. — Satya Nadella

Very often then, especially if you are doing well, there is an opportunity to contribute to someone else’s success, and experience the pride of seeing your team mate grow as a person. On the other hand, you might be in bad form, but the team still wins, and you have something to be happy about. The beauty of being part of a team is the security it offers along with the realisation that it’s not about you alone.

You recognise the fine line between laughing with others and laughing at others.

Good team-players view success very differently from the rest. They are motivated without really worrying about credit. That’s not always easy. Anyone who has fielded at short leg knows what a thankless job it is, besides being risky. You put your body on the line, have to work damn hard and may have nothing to show for it. When given that position, there are those who are reluctant to put in the hard work, hoping that they will be made to field in another position the next time round, and there are others who give it their best and actually become specialists.

Loyalty is, increasingly, towards the role and skill rather than the organization. So you could be a digital marketer but work for a string of companies without actually being on their rolls. Quite like a T20 player who plays in the IPL during April and May and then goes on to play in the Big Bash and then the Caribbean Premier League not to speak of similar tournaments in Dhaka and Dubai. He moves from team to team but at all times strives to be the best №3 batsman or leg spinner in the team. He could be a great team player without having a lasting association with any of the teams.

The funny thing is that you cannot hide your attitude from team mates. If you are selfish, you will be found out in no time at all. But if you are a team-player, the team will know and appreciate that as well.

Today’s world suffers from a strange paradox where opportunities are aplenty but the fear of disruption leaves everyone vulnerable.

Paths to winning might have altered, the symbols of success might look changed but the overall concept of winning, that it is a byproduct of the pursuit of excellence, remains constant. Winning is a journey to explore your potential to the fullest, to discover how good you can be. And so you can be a winner regardless of whether someone else’s performance looks better or worse than your own. You can be a winner only if you have achieved this potential by just and fair means, not by cheating or exploiting another. Success is not worth a penny if it leaves you spent, bitter or guilty.

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Books, worth re-reading, aren’t. Here’s a repository of book summaries read by Chaitanya Bapat.

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Chaitanya Prakash Bapat

Chaitanya Prakash Bapat

Music, Sports and Data. Engineer @ Facebook | Apache committer @ Apache MXNet | Ex- Amazon | GaTech

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