A wise person suggested that if I spent time learning the laws of cricket it would give me a good foundation for dealing with business and life. It is a game where fair play and team work reign supreme. At the time my thoughts immediately turned to every childhood summer when the TV only seemed to air cricket and I was subjected to lengthy days in the backyard repeatedly chasing balls hit into long grass by my cousins. As a somewhat energetic person who finds it hard to stand around, I always struggled being a fielder. I always longed to get back into bat. As I gained more experience in business, I have learned more of the values implicit in the laws of cricket and I have grown to appreciate the role of a fielder who must always strive to keep their eyes on the ball.
Just as good fielders are critical to the success of a cricket team, so are the staff in your business. Holding catches and saving runs in cricket are a metaphor for seizing opportunities and maintaining the efficiencies of your business.
As Mark Waugh (our keynote speaker at the October Luncheon) summed up his life as a professional cricketer, his successes in gaining many endorsements off the field and his search to find a balance between on field and off field success, I realised why the game of cricket is such a great metaphor for business and life.
In business, as in sport, there are good days and bad days that draw your supporters and your knockers. Mark’s comments about good leadership revealed a lot about the reasons he has followed such success in his cricketing career with his transition into a commentary and business. Stick to the basics, keep a level head and be consistent with preparation. And always have self-belief.
The laws of test cricket stipulate that there should be 90 overs bowled in a day, or 15 an hour, with the threat of fines and suspensions to push along a sluggish fielding side. In many businesses, our staff work 7.5 hours a day and are expected to achieve certain KPIs. Just like in test cricket, they score greater success when they work as a team and do not take their eyes off the ball, particularly when the going gets tough. They build resilience and determination to succeed in the face of deadlines and adversity. Mark Waugh’s leadership message was practical advice for everyone as I would suggest that subconsciously, we all know when we need to keep a level head, be prepared and believe in ourselves and our ability to succeed and deliver.
‘It’s just not cricket’ is a commonly used saying. It expresses the notion that a violation in the game is more than a breach of the laws: it is a blight on the spirit of the game. I am sure we can all name at least one occasion when we have heard or even used the saying to comment on a work situation. As we race to the end of yet another calendar year – the innings of 2016 – let us all make an effort to do so in the true spirit of good and ethical business.
I look forward to seeing you for lunch,
Jo Bright | 2016 President