Lessons from Dhoni !

During my workshops, participants ask me about the ‘techniques to get the best out of the team members’. Generally I recommend the key principles in the books ‘First break all rules’ by Markus Buckingham and ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins and it goes like this;

  • Get the right people in and the wrong people out. Then ask them what can be done for the accomplishment of the team goals
  • Play on the strengths of your people
  • Bring in clarity to the roles and responsibilities
  • Put the right person on the right job and give him the freedom to operate
  • Do not de-motivate people
  • Be a contributing manager, not a controlling manager (pigs and chickens)

These are my versions of the concepts discussed in these books and have worked for me.

After watching the 20-20 Indian premier league cricket matches (right now 12 matches over), by and large the above observations are right. So far Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai team has been the most successful, winning all the four matches they played and the next best is Shane Warne of the RAjasthan team. These two enjoy the game themselves and lead from the front most of the time, when there is a crisis. They both laugh a lot on and off the field, where as some of the biggest failures so far  like Rahul Dravid  and  HArbajan Singh  have very serious faces most of the  time…they dont radiate a feeling as if they are enjoying the game, instead  they reflect  tension and pressure.

So the lessons from Dhoni –  ” As a manager or captain, you should be enthusiastic and enjoying what you are doing. Should chip in and contribute whenever the team is facing an uphill task. Utilize your resources well based on their strengths. Sometimes the team can fail. As long as the wins are more than the losses, it is okay!. Enjoy it !


2 thoughts on “Lessons from Dhoni !

  1. Excellent example, I must say. But, I find it challenging to believe that “get the wrong people out and the right people in”. In todays enterprise business, retention is a challenge. What you say can be good or bad. Good since it sounds like “build a team that can perform, and then let them perform”, while in the contrary it sounds like “if I dont like you, u are out”, which makes it a single point of failure judgement. Example of poor management.

    In today’s software world its not just important to be enthusiastic, but also be able to perform yourself under the pressure. Yes, we must enjoy our work, that comes first. But I have seen people who enjoy their work, slog, but have absolutely no clue of what the people are working on under them. Its sad to see such people exist in the industry. Sadly, the industry is plagued with managers trying to save their own job in a volatile market. We must realize that there are people who can talk well, and then there are others “walk the talk”.

    The responsibility of keeping such managers out is the job of the CEO. Unfortunately CEO’s today rely on excel sheet reports more then “actual issues” on the floor. Walk around CEO’s, make time to talk to people, just hired, 1 year from hiring date, 2 years from hiring, 5 years from hiring and then 10. HEAR people out. You may learn something, wake up its high time. Its your responsibility to keep India on its toes. Dont just pile on hiring and then fire when your excel sheet scares you. Find out what went on behind the excel sheet creation.

    There was a time when we said, “bring process to developing products”. Then there came a time when we said “bring process to purchase and control expenses during software development, in short cost cutting”. Then there comes a time when we have processes and no products :). Process important, its ok if products dont not happen. Common sense out, Process implementation in. Its time to realize products are built by technology people, process is built by people who dont understand technology.

    Its time you start training CEO’s Aby :). This reminds me of a movie in which Bruce Willis has the job of a Image Consultant. Oh ya! just remembered the name Disney’s The Kid. I think you will play that consultant role really well.

  2. Get the wrong guys out and the right guys in – I stand by that. In my 9-5 corporate lives there are and were enough examples of these. In one team, there was a born complainer about me to my boss. Because of him I got poor performance rating once. Some how he could convince his allegations to my boss. At some point in time, one of the directors of the company wanted in his team, and I obliged “reluctantly”. After one year, this director wanted to get rid of him. Who is right now. Who will compensate for the wrong judgment of my boss. This guy under consideration is a spade and he has to be called as a spade. As a manager, one needs the backbone to stand up for the right things. In corporate world, it is capitalism that counts, not communism. It is not about the protection of the weak. It is all about the protection of the strong. After studying many organizations, Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great’ makes it very clear that all resources are not important. Your best resources are important 🙂

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