The game of sports is very unpredictable, and the results can go either way. The results can manifest in different ways. It can be a tie, win or a loss. The team reacts to the results differently. Some feel happy, bruised, or feel injured or pained by the loss. In each case, the coach bears the brand. It can be a praise, or the job will be online.
There is variety of sports which range from popular soccer, cricket, hockey, wrestling, netball, handball, karate, just to mention but a few. What determines the success of the organization are the results. Organizations do not bank excuses. When results are positive, people feel happy. When results go the other way, people feel dejected. The dejection count to nothing though when there is no reflection of what would have caused the loss. The dejection count to nothing when there is no holding each other for performance. In the game of sports, players are substituted if performance is going down. At times, players are loaned to other leagues so that individuals perfect their skills or gain experience. In other situations, they are sold to other teams permanently and new players are brought in in what is know as organization renewal.
Renewing an organization is not an easy task. It calls for leaders to be tactical, shrewd and brutal in some situations. Over a long time, relations are built, and it becomes very difficult to untangle such relationships in an organization renewal. We have noticed big teams like Manchester United letting go big names in the name of organization renewal. Yes, organization renewal is key if the organization is to compete on the market. It is not about big names which matter most. It is about performance and creation of shareholder value. If performance is not coming through, big names do not count. Great and lethal players like Lukaku, Xavi (now coach), Mascherano; Baletoli, Ronaldo, Neymar, just to mention a few have been allowed to leave for other clubs in the name of organization renewal.
At times, big names are costly to maintain in the organization, hence it can be advantageous to let them go and bring fresh pair of legs to strengthen weak areas. We have seen coaches come and go when the results are not coming through. We know some of the teams which are very brutal in this area. They have more coaches in their history than the number of trophies they won. The number of coaches whose contracts were terminated are almost equal to two football teams. Yes, there is no reason to keep dead hood. Even when the eagles grow heavy feathers, they retreat and unpluck such feathers so that they can fly at high speed. Some of the organizations are weighed down by big names at the expense of the profitability of the company.
The danger of big names in the organization is that there will be demands for big cars, high amount of fuel, hefty salary perks (school fees, holiday allowances; personal drivers; just to mention a few) but all these are not even linked to productivity. Heavy feathers must be pruned if one is to run fast, effectively, and efficiently.
Honest conversations are key at times. When the football team is not grinding results, honest conversations and honest feedback is proffered. Some serious reflections of performance is carried out and players are told to shape up or out. We have noticed this when the coach of Manchester United, Sols jar Ole told his strikers to be hungrier and score goals. It is not about big names but performance. We have seen Ole rotating his players including goalkeepers. It is about results not hot air. It is not about explanation but performance. It is about value creation. The playground is for serious business and should not be used for bedrest. As the renewal is taking place, we should not also forget that we will be building the organization for the future. In other football clubs or cricket, the rebuilding of the team revolves around few positive minded individuals who can show the new players the way. In the game of cricket, we have also noted renewal process taking place. It is either one is a bowler or is able to bat or is a wicket keep. All these roles require agility and versatility. The roles require someone to be very alert. I have noticed the prowess of Sachin Tenduka, a former Indian Cricket team player, our own Andy and Grant Flower, Sikandar Raza, Blessing Muzarabani, Joe Root (England), Ben Stokes (England), Lungi Ngidi (SA), JP Duminy (SA), Adam Zampa (Australia), Glen Maxwell (Australia) just to mention a few. Cricket game requires thorough preparation whether you are going to be a bowler, wicket keeper or will be batting. Substitutions are made as well where results are not coming through. Organization renewal takes place. I have noticed situations where old guard will be leaving and allow new blood to take over in the game of cricket.
What lessons are then getting from the game of game of sports?
- Cultivating unwavering discipline and focus-all eyes on the task. Abide by the rules of the game or else you are out.
- Encouraging growth-when feathers are too have and are becoming a hindrance, pluck them off.
- Building trust-Trust is earned and we all work based on trust. Where trust has broken down, it takes time to rebuild it.
- Learning from failure-try, try, try again is what I learnt even during my primary and high school days. You perfect from trying. Failure is success turned inside out.
- Analysing competition-an organization should not just enter a business before analysing the strength of the competitor. That is a fatal mistake. Being in business is about creating a competitive edge over competition. What you know about competition is a key success factor for a successful organization.
- Doing things your way-organizations should be guided by their belief and philosophy in order to create value for shareholders. Players cannot be all Lionel Messies of the day but should be guided by their skill, agility, speed, resilience, versatility, vision, and aggressiveness in front of goal post. Business opportunities should be tackled head-on.
In conclusion, where there is barbed-wire competition, there is no room for grabbling or gravelling. It is time for serious business. Squiggling will come at a huge cost for the business. There is need to watch out for non-productive big names which may weigh down the business or institutions.
Dr Phil Chitagu is the current IPMZ President and writes in his own capacity.