Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Team Building: Corporate Lessons from the Indian Premier League

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Team Building: Corporate Lessons from the Indian Premier League

Article excerpt

Satya Nadella, in an interview to The New York Times (published on February 20, 2014)1, his first since taking over as the CEO of Microsoft, was asked the following question: "What were some early leadership lessons for you?" And Nadella, with his characteristic simplicity and candor, responded:

I played on my school's cricket team, and there was one incident that just was very stunning to me. I was a bowler-like a pitcher in baseball-and I was throwing very ordinary stuff one day. So the captain took over from me and got the team a breakthrough, and then he let me take over again.

I never asked him why he did that, but my impression is that he knew he would destroy my confidence if he didn't put me back in. And I went on to take a lot more wickets after that. It was a subtle, important leadership lesson about when to intervene and when to build the confidence of the team. I think that is perhaps the No. 1 thing that leaders have to do: to bolster the confidence of the people you're leading.

India-born Nadella's response goes to show not only his love for a sport-cricket- that is followed with religious zeal in the country of his origin, it also underlines the fact that whether it is cricket or business, creating a collaborative team environment and building a strong team are vital to success. In truth, business organizations can learn a thing or two by closely observing how successful sports franchises go about the task of building and managing collaborative and productive work teams.

Of Cricketainment and Edutainment

The Indian Premier League (IPL), though more about entertainment and less about cricket, has many dazzling attractions. The annual 'cricketainment' boasts of franchises owned by top corporate honchos and celebrities, brand ambassadors from tinsel town, marquee players from the top cricket-playing nations, and explosive short-duration games custom- made to whet the appetite of a cricket-crazy nation. While this annual cricket bash-with its color and glitter, pomp and pelf-manages to win the TV prime time battle for eyeballs and TRPs (Television Rating Points), besides attracting tens of thousands of paying public to the stadiums where it all pans out, a two-day sideshow often commands equal attention and interest. It is the IPL Player Auction-often seen as the curtain-raiser to the main event-where cricket's top stars and wannabe stars go under the hammer.

The seventh IPL Player Anctien was held in Bangalore, India, en Febrnary 12 and 13, 2014, with eight franchises2 competing with each ether te acquire at least 16 players, bnt net mere than 27 (inclnding a maximnm ef nine everseas players), from a pool of 514 players, with an anction pnrse of ~60 cr ($10 mn approximately) each. The pool of 514 (219 capped and 295 nncapped) inclndedbatsmen, wicketkeepers, pace bowlers, spinners, and allronnders. Thongh franchises like Chennai Snper Kings (CSK) and Mnmbai Indians (MI) chose to retain the maximnm of five players who had played for them in the previons edition(s) of the IPL, for others like Delhi Daredevils (DD), it was like starting from the scratch.

The two-day anction conclnded with a total of 154 players sold. A breaknp of the figure reveals that of the total 154 players sold, 104 were Indian players and 50 overseas players; 80 were capped and 74 nncapped; 117 have played in the IPL before, 10 have been part of the IPL sides bnt did not get an opportnnity to play a single game earlier, and the remaining 27 were making their IPL debnt. In all, IPL 2014 wonld featnre 178 players (154 bonght and 24 retained), of which 60 wonldbe overseas players (50 bonght and 10 retained). Of the 178 players, 66 players wonld represent the same side they had played for in the 2013 IPL, with 24 of them being retained, 13 acqnired throngh the Right-to-Match (RTM) option, and 29 re-pnrchased at the 2014 anction. Imagine choosing a well-balanced team from snch a wide variety of options available. …

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