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‘9 leadership lessons I learnt from cricket’

Bhavesh Lakhani, Chief Technology Officer, DSPBLK/ DSP Black Rock, says the game of cricket can be a great teacher. By Pooja Paryani

Bhavesh Lakhani’s career on the professional front has seen him hold various positions in India and the US. He has over 18 years of experience managing delivery and support of enterprise level IT systems. But he carries an even longer successful track record of helming cricket teams. Bhavesh has been playing cricket since he was five and here he tells us how the game has taught him some important lessons on leadership.

“My first tryst with cricket was at the young age of five,” says Bhavesh. “I was mentored by my uncle who used to play for Rajasthan Ranji team. I played all through my school years, as well as in college. My batting skills got me quite a few accolades. During my MS in the US, I represented state teams (Michigan and California) and was also a part of the 24 probable players for the US team. It was a wonderful experience playing in the US as it was a direct connection with my roots. The pleasant weather and lush green outfields also added to this amazing experience.

“I am primarily a batsman with a fair amount of leg spin bowling. Growing up, I idolised Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne. Dravid is one of the top batsmen India has produced. His dedication, relentless focus and ability to deliver under pressure are a hallmark of his skills and hard work. I still actively play almost every weekend during the cricket season for my company, community and at any opportunity that comes my way! Cricket teaches you many a life lessons, especially in leadership and teamwork. Here’s my list.”

1. Never give up or die trying
“The best lesson learnt from cricket is to never, ever give up. While playing you might be on the verge of losing, but how you play those crucial few minutes will earn you the respect within the team and from the opposition too. Try it. You never know when a miracle is around the corner.”

2. Horses for courses
“Choosing the right person for the right job is an important lesson I learnt from the game. It’s a no brainer that you can’t let your spinner open the innings. This is the key to getting the most out of a team be it on or off the field.”

3. Team camaraderie
“One for all, all for one! As a team, we work towards making every team member feel valuable and contribute to its success. Knowing your team at a personal level helps in a better team dynamics.”

4. Plan to plan
“It’s not just about planning the flight but also flying the plane. One key thing I’ve learnt from cricket is that the most elaborate plans fail when execution is sub-par. And depending on the result that you’re trying to achieve, there has to be a balance between how much time you spend in planning versus execution. It’s all about taking the right decision that is backed by data/analytics.

5. Timing is everything
“Ask any batsman and he’ll say that the most important aspect of batting is the timing! A fraction slower/faster can make a huge difference. As a leader too, you need to know how manage time effectively and with several apps around, it is much better these days.”

6. Dynamic decisions
“Having to make instant decisions is a risky thing, but it’s often necessary on the field. A simple risk/reward ratio calculation will help simplify taking a hard call.”

7. Learn from your failures and mistakes
“I firmly believe that we either win or we learn. When we lose a match, we don’t wallow in it. We sit down as a team and figure out our mistakes. I apply the same though process at work, so my team and I are always looking for ways to improve and deliver better results. Having said that, losing too is important at times. It is a reality check and an opportunity to introspect and come out stronger!”

8. Practice leads to perfection
“No matter how good you are, you always need to practice to stay abreast. Regular practice makes you better, it also makes goals easier to achieve. Even at work, it is imperative that we introspect, know the blind spots and identify solutions to overcome them. Past performance is never a guarantee of your future success.”

9. Be humble
“Being humble is a sign of strength and maturity. When you lose, speak less and when you win, don’t speak at all! It also helps you connect well with people and this is important even in an organisation.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Sports, Work Buzz

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