The Winning Way.The sports commentator and writer, along with his wife Anita, an advertising and communication expert, marries two different fields- sports and management- in their book.
Aditi: Aren't the two fields - sports and management - too diverse?
Harsha: Sports and management are not as diverse as people think. So what we have tried to do is build learnings from one area for practitioners in another area. So if you are a manager, the book tells you what you can learn from a good sports team. The book is the end result of 300 corporate workshops we did together.
Anita: Sports as a vehicle is very interesting and motivating. Qualities that you require in good teams and good leaders in order to win are common.
Aditi: What can sports teach us in essence?
Harsha:Attitude to loosing, to failure is very important. Sports teaches you there is always a second innings in life. If you fail today, there's a second innings may be two days later. May be there's another opportunity coming up three or six months later. If you look at mistake as learnings and commit never to make a same mistake again, then you actually get better with every mistake that you make. But it doesn't necessarily mean that you commit only mistakes. It's something that is very true in management world itself. As Anita said, qualities of winning teams are very similar.
Aditi: When qualities do you think constitute a winning team?
Harsha: Playing for each other and always putting the team first. We strongly advocate having individual goals as well. So when you are in a managerial situation, you have individual goals and yet they have to marry the team goals otherwise it doesn't work. Similarly in cricket, you can play for your own goal or in football you may want to score a goal. But someday you have to score and someday you have to pass. Someday you are the lead player, someday you are the support player. This also happens in management. Leaders get to control everybody. They have to make everybody feel good about belonging to a side. There's lot in common.
Anita: One of the issues in corporate India is not being a good team leader. We have a lot of talent. We also seem to give importance to individual talent. But finally it's all people's business and it's all team work that counts. So if people only play for themselves and are brilliant individually, then it's not of much help. You need to perform collectively and give it your best. Parallels like that are common.
Aditi: Is there an inclination towards one sports or sportsperson in The Winning Way?
Harsha: No one person in particular. There are examples from Tendulkar, Kumble, Dravid, Steve Waugh, other Australian players and non-cricket sportsperson as well. It cannot be about one sportstar because it's a book about teams, great players and great players are not restricted to one country or one sports.
Aditi: Sum up the premise behind your book.
Harsha: I hope everybody wants to read it (laughs). We actually thought a lot about it. We have put a line at the bottom which we think describes the book the best which is 'learnings from sports for managers.' We have taken great care not to say lessons because it's not that kind of book. It's just learnings.