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Business lessons we can learn from Cricket

India is known as a country of passionate cricket fans, and I am also one of those who can never get enough of this game.

Upon reading the word cricket, my mind immediately takes me to a crowded stadium with hundreds of fans shouting their lungs out, cheering for their favorite team. The color blue only reminds me of the jersey that our team wears with pride while representing our country.

I am sure most of you can relate. This game was introduced to all of us as kids, and we learned many lessons from the sport – not only about being physically fit, but also about winning the match of life.

Cricket was first played in 16th-century England and was then picked by several people across the globe eventually. Many say it’s a game of luck, but I don’t think so. All those nail-biting T20 matches might seem like miracles to us, but only the players know how much hard work goes into the game.

No game is a game of luck. And cricket definitely isn’t.

It takes great strategies, teamwork, and persistence on every player’s part to win a match. And every match won is just one step taken towards victory in an entire series.

But I wonder, isn’t this the case for businesses as well?

When Dhoni hit the winning six on April 2nd, 2011, at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, it wasn’t just a stroke of fate; it resulted from years of hard work that won us the World Cup after 28 long years.

I say it’s the same for every business.

Let’s imagine the cricket stadium again. Just like the stadium, the world of business comes with endless possibilities.

On the ground, 11 men/women play together to win the game. Just like teammates in a company do.

Sachin was lauded, and Dhoni was adored. Both of them were different in their own league. It applies to every player in the game. And this happens in businesses too!

Every employee you hire has his/her strengths. A leader needs to choose the right fit for every role.

I can relate a cricket match to the successes and failures of a business. The efforts that go into building a successful business are no different from making a cricket team efficient enough to win a match.

Since I learned some of the most important business lessons from Cricket, I thought of sharing some of them with you all too!

1. A good captain is the backbone of the entire team

“An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.”

It was 1983, and India was facing the undefeatable team of the West Indies in the final match of the World Cup Tournament. This unbeatable team had won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1979 and, as expected, reached the finale in 1983.

However, in a completely unexpected turn of events, India won against them and went on to lift the world cup under the leadership of Kapil Dev.

This victory is a perfect example that proves that any team led by a true leader can reach the heights of success. The Indian team later admitted that they had not expected to win the tournament when they boarded their flight to England. Still, Kapil Dev made it possible with his unquestioned leadership skills.

History repeated itself in the 2011 World Cup, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni became India’s favorite captain.

Cool, calm, tough, confident, match-winner, unconventional- these are some of the adjectives people use to define Dhoni’s leadership, and these words can also describe a true leader in business.

As per studies, 83% of organizations say that it’s important to develop leadership at all levels. And by developing leadership, they mean the qualities. We know what qualities made Dhoni and Kapil Dev good leaders, and they must be taught to every individual who leads a team, be it in sports or business.

2. You can’t play solo

In cricket, every player must have an area of expertise so that they can contribute to making the team win. But that does not mean being rigid. They should be flexible enough to play other positions, too, if needed.

“You don’t win or lose the games because of the 11 you select. You win or lose with what those 11 do on the field.”- Rahul Dravid

It is the combination of individual strengths with teamwork qualities that makes a business successful, just like the game of cricket. Roughly 75% of employees worldwide state that collaboration and teamwork are essential factors in making a business successful.

Being able to work as a team is an essential soft skill that every employee must develop.

If you want your team to succeed, you must be ready to take up the tasks that don’t fit into your job description. This might also include filling in for an absent team member or taking up extra work to meet the deadlines.

Whatever the reason, if a team doesn’t work together, then winning is almost impossible. And our cricketers know this for a fact. High time we learn this lesson too.

3. Sometimes, pressure is inevitable

Let’s go back to 2011 when the crucial world cup match was being played. Don’t we all remember the pressure we felt at the last ball of the game? It was almost as if our hearts would pop out of our chest, the anticipation was killing us all, and we couldn’t wait for it to end.

How do you think the players might have felt at that moment?

Businesses are no different. Every employee and leader goes through< immense pressure now and then. But the ones who get through it are the true winners.

After all, the diamonds that shine the most are the ones that endure the most pressure!

4. There’s always going to be competition

Life is a race, and everyone is running to get somewhere.

Both business and cricket are highly competitive. We have seen so many good players come and go, but only a few leave a mark on the world. Especially in recent years, we have seen so many new faces in the game, and it’s hard to remember all of them.

Four years ago, a resilient and aggressive Shikhar Dhawan scored 187 runs at Mohali, only to get injured and make way for Ajinkya Rahane, who has now become the pillar of the middle order.

Yuvraj Singh was a familiar name on every cricket fans’ lips, but is now nowhere to be seen among the batting lineup of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishab Pant, and Hardik Pandya.

One can avoid becoming a name of the past by being consistent in their game and never giving up.

Businesses always need to prepare for the future while catering to the needs of the present.

Around 70% of large enterprises believe that practicing competitive intelligence in the past would have increased the effectiveness of their previous campaigns.

Yes, competitive intelligence is a thing now. It is a boon from technology that helps you make informed decisions at every level of the business process. So, analyze competition, don’t run away from it.

5. Calculated risk is essential for success

Playing cricket involves taking several risks. There are risks of serious injuries or performing certain moves that have never been tried and tested in the past, but the players take those risks anyway because they increase the chances of winning the game.

Businesses face risks almost every day, just like sports. There’s always a risk of losing an important client or employee, but there’s no way you can win unless you aren’t ready to take some risks.

Every business owner must prepare for the risks that might lead to some severe problems for the business. Some stakes are unavoidable, but if calculated correctly, they can turn out to be the best decisions you take for your business.

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”- Denis Waitley

Bottom line

There’s a striking similarity between playing cricket and running a business. And in both the fields, you need to ask a constant question- how can I get better at this?

No miracles happen on a cricket pitch. The same goes for any business.

Business = Great idea + hard work + team + execution – waiting to get lucky