For the past few weeks, millions of cricket fans across the globe have been gripped by the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Teams are fighting hard to outsmart and outperform their competitors to finalize their slot in Top 4.
Cricket is not just a physical game. It combines audacious moves, thrilling tactics, and bold decisions to win a single game. Watching every match reminds us of passion, discipline, planning, teamwork, leadership, and much more.
Here are 4 lessons that every startup can learn from cricket.
1. Lead Bravely and from the Front
One of the important parameters of successful entrepreneurship is the ability to take risks. If you can’t embrace this ability, you may wish to rethink about being a business owner. No doubt every risk has a probability of failure, but a number of budding entrepreneurs have taken calculated risks to get their businesses to where they are now.
Lead from the front and take calculated risks. It is the parameter that will differentiate a great leader from a good leader.
Do you remember the finals of the 2011 World Cup? India lost its 2nd wicket and everyone expected Yuvraj Singh to enter the field. However, in walked the skipper, MS Dhoni, to bat. A billion viewers watching the match on TV and 33,000 audiences present in Wankhede stadium were confused about out-of-form Dhoni taking the bold decision of promoting himself up the order ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh.
It was a brave and risky move, majorly because of Dhoni’s out-of-form performances. However, this is what reflects the stature of great leaders. Dhoni intended to lead from the front, which he did very well, becoming one of the key architects of the Indian victory.
2. Know Your Strength and Use it as Your Primary Weapon
In today’s cut-throat competitive world, budding entrepreneurs are busy addressing the areas of improvement leaving behind the real areas of strength of their business. Knowing your strengths and making use of them to your advantage is as important as working on the areas of improvement. Figure out what you are really good at and do it consistently without succumbing to “herd mentality”.
The 1996 World Cup finals provide a great example. Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lankan skipper won the toss and chose to bowl first. His decision sent shockwaves across Sri Lankan fans as he went against the “set wisdom” of batting first. Case in point, the previous 5 World Cups were won by the team that batted first.
However, Ranatunga was quite confident with his team strength and knew that his team would perform better in chasing rather than defending scores. He successfully recognized his team’s strength and challenged the “herd mentality” to make Sri Lanka achieve its maiden triumph.
3. Change with Changing Environment
For a business to survive in today’s Darwinian world, it is important for them to understand the changes in customer likings and lifestyle and change their way of doing business accordingly to enhance the user experience.
How Cricket itself has evolved is a prime example of that. Once upon a time, the only matches played stretched over 5 days. Called “Tests”, it seems they were more a test of viewer’s patience. This format gave way to the more popular one-day engagement. Each match would be over in a single day. The fact this led to the sport’s popularity across the globe underlines that the sports governing body was listening to the audience.
In the modern world, time is in short supply. That has resulted in a relatively new 20-20 format. It became a huge success and even gave birth to the most commercialized version of cricket: IPL. Each IPL match is a 3-hour entertainer with a rollercoaster of tensions, drama, and excitement.
Thus, prior to starting a business, it is important to understand the needs of the target audience and change according to them with passing time.
Another lesson that you can take from this example is that a company’s newer products that may become wildly popular may simply be a version of older products simply customized to the new target audience.
4. Build a Team and Execute the Plan
Cricket is a team game. It is a perfect combination of people who work in tandem in order to have success. Individual brilliance is always welcome but singular performance has never won a match. Similarly, while individuals can make mistakes, the team knows they are in it together.
The team is created with that thought process in mind. There are strong batsmen, strong fast bowlers, and those who can really turn the ball. Everybody is called upon to use their skills to execute the plan of the captain. The captain listens to the team input and takes an informed decision to move towards a win. And when needed, players extend themselves for their team’s victory.
None of the tournaments we have won was because of good luck, there is nothing called good luck. You have to execute your plans well.
MS Dhoni (Indian Cricket Team Captain, 2007-2016)
Working together is the only mantra to be one of the successful budding entrepreneurs. Your startup cannot execute, nor scale unless you have a strong team that works with each other. Remember, when inputs from all are centralized, it helps build a strong tactical team.
Embrace the Lessons that Cricket Teaches to Soar the Sky of Success
Budding entrepreneurs can draw many parallels between cricket and startups. With the World Cup 2019 taking place in England, you will be able to witness these lessons at the highest level of the game.
In the end, remember that, just like all the cricket teams out there, you will have to play with a lot of passion and out of your comfort zone to emerge victoriously.