"Play a while to work in style"
Principles of success in sport to turn your business around
At its essence, attitude for success in sports and business are intertwined where perspective matters. Both these phenomena are reigned by cutthroat competition, and the formula of success transcends from one to the other. Standing by this explanation, high-performance concepts applied for winning a game can be gleaned to get glory in business.
When applied to the business world, principles of success in sports can help turn around performance. It stands true for most games played across the globe. Still, as a country ruled by cricket, one can draw inspiration from the competition and understand the nuances for success, especially by watching the national team play through thick and thin to keep the spirits of millions of fans alive.
Since antiquity, sports have been one of the most favoured pastimes, and with the advent of technology, sports broadcast has reached millions of homes and has inspired generations. We can never forget how Jesse Owens, an Olympic athlete, and Sea Biscuit, a racehorse, became the symbol of grit and resistance during the great depression. Similarly, many battles have been fought and won without a shot being fired on the hockey and cricket fields in India.
Sports analogies are constantly relevant in business settings, perhaps due to some of the surface similarities between sports teams that strive to win competitive leagues and business teams seeking to be successful in a competitive corporate environment.
Due to the emphasis on performance output in the corporate environment, which to a large extent is similar to the challenges encountered by elite sportspersons, sport psychology can serve as a way to assist employees in coping with the demands of the workplace. By adopting the principles of sport psychology, employees can learn how to use mental skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and deal with daily life stressors.
Cricket remains a major national pastime, but these players wouldn’t enjoy their excellent results without hard work, perseverance, patience, and determination, as all fans know. The same stands for most games played, and there are plenty of lessons to be learned from high performers in sports to be applied in a business to reach the pinnacle.
One thing that all game teaches us is perseverance. We all know that Rome was not built in a day, similarly to make a mark in the history of any game, one needs to stay there and keep trying with all the might. In the words of the little master Sachin Tendulkar, it is crucial to enjoy the game and chase your dreams as dreams do come true. Similarly, in a world where businesses are propping up by the day, perseverance is the key to success.
At times the mere determination to succeed helps at conquering an arduous task. The daily advancements in technology, especially the advent of cloud systems, have changed how the world used to do business. The era of startups is ripe with stories of success and the grim of failures. In this era, one central question that bogs most first-time entrepreneurs is the Shakespearean dilemma of ‘to be or not to be.’ In a nutshell, it is the initial gut wrack that one endures before going to the market with the idea conceived.
Drawing inspiration from sports, one can look up to Manon Rheaume, who became the first woman to play in an American men’s pro sports league. She always wanted to play in the men’s professional ice hockey league, and she went on to fulfill her dream. Rheaume said, “If you persevere long enough if you do the right things long enough, the right things will happen.”
In sports and business, one thing that comes after winning is the tenacity to stay apace with the competition and make success a habit. In the words of Alan Shearer, “The easiest part is getting to the top, the hardest part is staying there because everyone knows who you are and everyone knows what you’re good at and what you’re not. They all study your game and how to stop you.”
It is here that patience works. India is a front-runner in cricket and the national team was adjudged the runner-up title in the 2003 cricket world cup. However, during the initial phases of the 2007 world cup, the team was booted out of the prestigious tournament after losing to Bangladesh, known to be a minion to much disappointment of Indian fans. The angry fans routed out any chance of their team’s comeback in the future.
Later in the same year, things took an unusual turn, and to add to the joy of the Indian fans, their team, under their new skipper, went on to win the first T20 world cup playing against their arch-rivals Pakistan. What the new Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after winning the tournament inspires million to date.
Dhoni said, “Very often what is important is to realize what went wrong, not only when you are losing, but also when you are winning a series; when you need to realize which are the areas (you) need to work on.” Dhoni’s patience has often made him an inspirational figure among youngsters, and it is this quality that made him one of the most successful captains of Indian cricketing history.
At one of his interviews, Tim Draper, an American venture capitalist, said that failure is not something that deters an entrepreneur, but lack of determination does. He says there were many social networking sites before Facebook. Before Apple had the I-pod, 50 companies were doing something with a hard drive and music. They failed but pushed the ball forward, but technology wouldn’t be the same if they quit.
Entrepreneurs who are not determined to persevere until they succeed tend to flip from one idea to another while facing difficulties. If a businessman doesn’t try to overcome the obstacles, none of their ideas will have a chance to develop into something successful. It is the determination that grooms the horse meant for longer wallops.
On November 14, 1991, after breaking his neck two days earlier in a near-fatal car accident, 28-year-old boxer Vinny Paz told a group of reporters, “I am going to box again,” he said. “You don’t understand what kind of man I am.” He later got back to the boxing ring to win, displaying sheer determination and commitment for his profession. Although the boxing world often dismissed him, he had a knack for proving the naysayers wrong, winning a total of five world championships later.
At My Action Sport (MAS), classified as an innovative sports-tech solution company headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, we have inhabited a culture that embraces sporting spirit and business acumen. CricHQ, part of MAS, offers a one-stop sporting administration platform that covers registration, fixture generation, and scoring. Our platform has a presence in over 50 countries and a user base above 1.6 million and is constantly driven by success through acquiring sporting skills and implying the same on running our business.
We offer boards, clubs, and schools a comprehensive database of participants, dashboards for tracking players, and the ability to use the data gained through the platform for any commercial applications. We also provide sophisticated mechanisms to allow these users to engage with this data using APIs, report generation, and data exporting tools. We have delivered more than 2000 fixtures of cricket with video content and over 600,000 indexed replays. We commit to do so in the future with utmost dedication to both sports and our business.
Our data provides rich players’ statistics, including batting and bowling statistics, season and lifetime averages, personal wagon wheels, and pitch maps. Advanced features include multiple match graphs such as ‘manhattans’ and ‘worms’ and an MVP algorithm that ranks players’ performance match-by-match, which many associations use to determine their end-of-season player awards.
We have a presence in India and have offices in Mumbai and Kochi apart from Wellington, NZ, and Bristol, UK. At our company, we firmly believe that whether it’s a specific mentality, awareness of the overall team, or a set of psychological techniques, there is much to learn from the achievements of successful athletes. Reap the rewards of their accomplishments by learning their strategies and applying them to your business.
Sreedhar Venkatram is the CEO – South Asia, for CricHQ New Zealand, a digital platform for sports which combines competition management and administration software with live scoring and statistics for cricket clubs. A management professional, strategist and a person who loves cricket, over the years he has earned many feathers on his hat.