Business lessons from the cricket pitch
By Adam Blanch
Cricket, like business, is a long-haul activity that requires a long-term strategy. Here are a few things cricket can teach us.
For some people, watching cricket is an exciting and fulfilling activity. For others, they might as well be watching grass grow, and indeed there are times in a Test match or series when that appears to be the only thing happening. A new batter comes in, the captain makes some strange hand signals and three people move six feet to the left.
So what can we learn from cricket? Well, quite a lot actually. Unlike football or tennis, where success and failure hinge on a few short hours of intense competition, cricket, like business, is a long-haul activity that requires a long-term strategy. Here are a few things cricket has to teach us.
1. Don't play the short game
If you get too focused on what's happening in the here and now, it's easy to lose perspective on the bigger picture and fail to notice changes in the conditions of play. A good cricket captain has to plan well ahead, anticipate his opponent's next moves and manage his team so that the right people are on at the right time. Business is the same - the weather can change at any moment and today's winning strategy is tomorrow's defeat.
2. Glory doesn't pay
Cricket certainly has it glory moments - those impossible catches and heart-stopping sixes that bring the crowd to their feet. But that isn't what wins Tests. The match is won by hard-fought singles, careful batting, intelligent field placements and endurance. Those who go for glory usually take a walk back to the pavillion in the shame of defeat.
3. Train, train, train
Cricket is about endurance, fitness, practice, control and small gains made through concerted attention. It's no different for business, which requires hours of repetitive tasks, executed consistently, to bring about those high moments when you win a new contract or hit a six.
4. It's all about the team
Fans love the great bowler or the century-scoring batsman, but they aren't what win the matches. A great manager, like a great captain, knows how to make the team work through knowing their players' strengths and using them at the appropriate time.
5. You don't win every game
Losing games is inevitable, just like losing clients, deals and opportunities. If you can’t stand to lose occasionally, you won't enjoy your business. The trick to losing is to not lose the lesson. It's about being a good sport, getting back up and doing better next time.
What does your batting average look like?