A few hours ago the West Indies Mens’ Cricket Team joined the West Indies Women and West Indies Under 19 Men as WT20 champions. The journey was exciting, it was dramatic, it was euphoric and for me it was a treasure chest of lessons and reiterations.
It’s possible that I took more than 10 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Watching The boys in Maroon play during this tournament but I’ll share with you my Top 10 Takes.
Start With Why
The West Indies Cricket team used to be the most dominant cricket side in the world in every format of the game. But somewhere along the way they lost this standing. It is largely possible that they lost it because they had lost sight of the cause; they no longer understood why they were playing the game.
Dominant West Indian cricket was played when the players started with why. During the days of Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Garfield Sobers West Indies played to prove that they were just as good as the Australian and English sides. They carried an entire region on their backs helping Caribbean people to shed the belief that they would forever hold a place of inferiority to the colonial masters; at least not when it came to the game of cricket.
During this WT20 Tournament West Indies also played for a cause. In his victory speech, Captain Darren Sammy gave the laundry list of things which they used as motivational points. Their disputes with the governing West Indies Cricket Board, discrimination and perhaps more poignantly Mark Nicholas’ description of the team as one “short of brains” all answered the question of why West Indies was playing during this WT20 Tournament. They wanted to prove their naysayers wrong.
The importance of understanding WHY you’re doing what you’re doing cannot be stressed enough. The answer to the question of why will keep you motivated during tough times. When everything within you says to give up remembering the car that you would love to purchase for your mother or all the young women whom you planned to help gain a healthy sense of self acceptance is what will propel you.
Start With Why.
Build A Talented And Driven Team
One of the beautiful things about the West Indies team during this WT20 series is that there was no star player. Many expected Chris Gayle to carry the team in every game but things played out differently.
Gayle is talented both with bat and ball in hand but injury and an inconsistent contribution with the bat showed that this wasn’t about one player. West Indies was working with a talented team of men. Each game, one or two men stepped up to carry their team to success.
While it is not wrong to have a star player, a GREAT team cannot be consistently successful on ONLY the contributions of a star player. A great team is comprised of people who have the talent and belief that each one can take it upon himself to see that the team succeeds.
This is a valuable lesson in team building for entrepreneurs. Consider building a team based on talent and drive; a unit comprised of people, all of whom have the belief that they can, and the ability to answer to the challenges that your business or company may face.
Never Underestimate Your Competition
The West Indies team’s only loss during the WT20 Series came to an unlikely opponent: Afghanistan. Afghanistan is fairly new to the world of cricket and NO ONE expected that they would win against an undefeated team lethal with both bat and ball. But they did. With determination, focus and A West Indies team with a lowered guard the conditions were right to allow Afghanistan an opening to snatch the advantage.
As an entrepreneur you may face competition from firms or companies with less resources and less talent than yours. But they should not be underestimated. Underestimation leads to a lowered guard and lowered stiumlus creating the right conditions for underdogs to take the advantage away from industry giants.
Look For the Important Wins
West Indies’ loss to Afghanistan held, for me, another very important lesson. While it was a match that they should have easily won it was a match that had no bearing on their primary goal: Winning the WT20 Tournament. At first I was upset that they had lost to such an underrated team but I quickly realized that there was no reason for the team to have expended energy on a match that had no bearing on whether or not they would be crowned champions.
Entrepreneurs are usually people with a desire for excellence; a desire to be the best at whatever they do but the ones who rise to the top are not concerned about winning EVERYTHING. They are concerned with, and look for the important wins.
Looking for the important wins will cause you to invest resources and capital in the right places and will prevent you from expending energy on useless battles.
Great Leadership Does Not Mean Outperforming The Team
Darren Sammy is one of the best leaders that the West Indies cricket Team has seen in recent times. But many have questioned his leadership during this tournament not because his team wasn’t winning but because he did not show up as the BEST Player on his team.
True, Sammy did not have the best innings during this tournament but I recognized that the qualities which make his leadership of the West Indies team so successful have nothing to do with him being the best player on the team.
His influence, his calm under pressure and his ability to find points to motivate his players and spurn them into action both on and off the field are what have West Indies to championship victory during this WT20 Tournament.
Time and time again the West Indies’ cricket team has show that leadership which poses too much emphasis on personal performance often does not lead well. I’ve seen a similar pattern with some of the best business leaders of our time.
Consider Steve Jobs and his leadership of Apple. He has openly acknowledged that had it not been for the input of Steve Wozniack that there would no be Apple. He has also openly acknowledged that he could NEVER do what Wozniack did. He simply did not possess the genius. Still, Wozniack on his immense ability to perform did not possess the ability to lead Apple. He did not have the ability to cause people to see beyond the limitations that they had placed on themselves but Jobs did.
As an entrepreneur know that the true mark of your leadership will be found in the success attained by your team or company in reaching goals set. Spend more time focusing on developing the skills that will help you to motivate and spurn others into action than the things concerned with making you the best performer on the team.