My association with this game has taught me many important lessons which I think are very appropriate in the corporate world. Here are a few:
Excellence comes from match winners: Every winning team in the history of cricket has had match winners. They are the backbone of every team that has had a glorious past. The long reign of Australia as the number one team, for example, was primarily due to players like Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Glen McGrath. Once they moved out, Australian cricket lost its sheen. The current Indian team too has several match winners - Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, V V S Lakshman. Similarly, in the corporate world, match winners are the key to every high performing team. They raise the bar for the rest of the team to follow.
Be a part of the winning team to be successful: The writing is clear, if you want to be successful, be a part of the winning team. Several great players in weak teams go unnoticed, but outshine when they hitch on to a winning team. Neil Johnson and Mohammed Ashraful, two great cricketers from Zimbabwe and Bangladesh respectively illustrate this point. These two would have been more prominent had they been part of a winning team. Likewise, in corporate too, if you are not part of the winning team, move on. Often, there are many brilliant employees who complain that their growth is stifled by a worthless manager or being a part of a team that lacks team spirit. My advice to them is to move out of the team as quickly as you can.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going: The best players perform best under difficult situation. Laxman is revered not for his batting average but for his winning knocks when most needed. His match winning knocks under the worst batting tracks especially when the team was on the verge of defeat is what makes him a hero. Best performers like him in the corporate world are those who can single handedly pull a project out of escalation or perform without whining in the most challenging situations.
Excellence is a combination of talent, attitude, work discipline and passion: Who else personifies this best than the legendary Sachin. He is a perfect example of a person who has an ample stock of all the four qualities. In the corporate world too, many a talented employee underperforms or fades away due to lack of passion, work discipline or attitude. To accelerate your career in the corporate world it is important to imbibe all the four qualities that Sachin excels in.
No individual is greater than the game: People in the world of cricket who has failed to realize this has crashed. Lalit Modi the man who without doubt was solely responsible for creating the IPL phenomenon tumbled down as he thought himself to be bigger than IPL. In the corporate world too, companies will continue to exist and flourish even if their star employees move on. Employees who perceive themselves to be bigger than the organization they work for are under an illusion.
(The writer is Managing Director, SAP Labs India)