The Winning Way
Drawing analogies between sports and project management, Harsha Bhogle spoke about the qualities that champions in the world of sports possess that help them reach their goals and earn laurels for their country.
“Champions become champions because they work hard when nobody is watching,” he said. However in India, there is a unique characteristic that dominates a player’s psyche. “Failing is considered worse than death and the feeling of defeat is carried till the next game,” he added.
He termed pressure as the biggest enemy of execution. “In major projects, you do small mistakes; but small mistakes tend to have large impacts. Clarity of role and goal is critical in winning. A role is not insignificant as long as it is clearly defined,” said Mr. Bhogle.
Whether in the cricket pitch or a project site, are you paying attention to even the things that matter one percent? It’s the small and mundane that add up; think about the single runs that you may have scored or saved.
On the need for continuous improvement, Mr. Bhogle recalled what Australian bowler Shane Warne had said of English bowler Monty Panesar as he didn’t see any improvement in his bowling. “Is he playing his 33rd test or playing the first test the 33rd time?’’
Mr. Bhogle values diversity in teams, which is not just diversity in skills but also attitudes. “Some people get tougher under pressure, while others break down. The manager should know who needs to be cajoled and who needs a kick,” he remarked.
He said that self-pity was the worst thing in difficult times and the manager should always be honest, trustworthy, and willing to listen to dissenting voices in his team. “The manager should never ask others to do things that he would not do himself,” he said.