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The building of a successful team

The task: To build a cricket team to win the biggest prize money championship ever.

The challenge: To do whatever it takes to win.

The prize: Whatever it takes.

No excuses. Only results. Get paid if you deliver. Pay penalties if you cannot.

The day may not be too far away when such an ad would appear. How would you go about it?

There are two parts to it. The first part is to get the team and support staff together. The second part is to make it perform. The first part then.

Coach: Pick the coach first. He will be responsible for all the inputs that the team gets and will take complete responsibility for its preparation. One who has technical, strategic and tactical knowledge, man management skills and an understanding of the psychology of winning; one who knows more about these aspects than anyone else in the team. One who can put all these into the team’ preparation. Search high and low for this man. To be selected as the coach, ask him to provide his plan, his detailed roadmap to the final.

Captain: The captain next. He will be vested with the responsibility of the team’s performance. He has to be the best man for the job in the team; excellent leadership and man management capabilities. One with a strong intuition, complete belief in himself and his players, one with the ability to bring out the best in all his players, and one who is always probing to convert half chances into an advantage.

Player selection: The captain would be assisted by the coach and the team management in selecting the players. He leads the discussion with his list. The other members on the committee balance out the selection process so it is not skewed. The responsibility is collective and the selection is final.

Criteria for team selection: Overall team balance and the role of each player in the campaign form the basic criteria for team selection (not player’s reputations). The playing eleven must be backed up by adequate bench strength, each sub capable of replacing the player in the first eleven.

Player criteria: Factors to consider while selecting players are their capabilities, strengths, motivational levels, ability to adapt and fit into given roles. Most importantly the player must be fully committed to the team’s cause.

Part two comes next. The main job is to get the entire team to come together like a fist. To get the team to bind fast – players, support staff and management. To know individual strengths and what makes them give their best, to get the team working as a unit quickly, remains the main job for the coaches, CEOs, COOs and all other support staff. Since most players are hardcore professionals, coaching them is not so much the big thing as getting them to function as a unit.

My steps so far to build a successful team. Coach. Captain. Team. Bonding. Mission. Goal. Preparation. Belief. Action. Correction. Action. This should be 80% of the job done.

But for me the job is complete when the preparation can make each of the team members take ownership of the team’s goal. Now the players will have a personal stake in the cause. Success is more likely to occur than failure in such circumstances. How one can do that makes all the difference between an also ran and the champion.

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