Best of Both Worlds!

Banner_67In a diverse country like India where every state has its own language, culture and cuisine and is like a mini country by itself, the only binding force is a game of cricket. A nation, whose mood is often dictated by the outcome of a tightly fought game!

Cricket is often seen as a metaphor for life. From batting on a sticky wicket to being on the back foot, the game is full of stories of courage, astute strategy, and sheer doggedness. Corporate life is probably closer to cricket than many of us realise. Both focus intensely on winning. Players in both are imbued with a sense of mission and a desire to succeed. In cricket, as in business, there are strategy and review sessions, team work is key, and leadership is critical.

Pitch It! is an innovative and delightful book that consists of sixty captivating stories from cricket and draws analogies with equally inspirational corporate anecdotes.

It narrates the leadership skills of MS Dhoni that helped him to look at challenges as opportunities when his team, devoid of senior key players, went on to win the inaugural 2007 Twenty20 World Cup. A similar situation was faced by Chanda Kocchar (Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank) who steered her company successfully despite the attrition of her key management team members.

The book talks about the power of communication displayed by former England captain, Mike Brearley, that helped his team reverse fortunes and win the keenly fought 1981 Ashes series against traditional rivals, Australia.  Louis Gerstner (Chairman of the Board and CEO of IBM) is credited with reviving IBM’s fortunes and saving it from bankruptcy in early 1990s. His communication skills played a major role in one of the most remarkable turnarounds in business history.

Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar’s humility made him one of the most respected and loved cricketers in the world.  His touching the feet of his oldest fan, an eighty seven year old lady, to seek her blessings brings tears of joy into one’s eyes. JRD Tata, Chairman of Tata Group of Companies and the most respected name in the Indian Industry evokes the same feelings as he stands in a queue like a commoner while entering his own airplanes and hotels!

Steve Waugh, not only one of Australia’s best captains but also one of the leading run getters for his nation,  proved that tenacity and hard work are the vital ingredients for success .  Karsanbhai Patel, born in a very modest background showed the same qualities as he went on to build Nirma, one of India’s most successful soaps and detergent brands.

The book describes how Rahul Dravid, often known as ‘The Wall’ and considered as one of the most technically accomplished players in the world reinvented his game to become successful in all formats of the game. His adaptability reminds us of Apple, a struggling computer company that re-invented itself to become one of the most innovative and successful companies in the field of mobile communication and consumer electronics.

Corporate success is not about climbing the ladder but about being able to inspire people, empower them, earn their respect, and motivate them to be and do their best. The stories of individuals, companies, and cricketers featured in this book serve to tell us just how we need to ‘play the game’.

Dev Prasad is an IT professional residing in Bangalore. He secured his degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from Regional Engineering College (now NIT), Trichy, and done his MDP Program from IIM Bangalore. He has held senior management positions at various European and American Multinational Companies. Though an engineer by qualification, he has a wide range of interests. These include reading, writing, travelling, photography, study of mythology and listening to music. He likes creative writing and has worked as a part time freelance copywriter for three years for many advertising agencies. He has written many poems, one of which was selected by International Poets Association, USA. He is passionate about serving the society and has been associated with a few NGOs working for underprivileged children. He loves sports like cricket, badminton, table tennis and chess. His debut book KRISHNA: A Journey Through the Lands & Legends of Krishna was longlisted for 2010 Vodafone Crossword Award.

His latest book, Pitch It! is available with all leading booksellers. You could also order it here: http://bit.ly/GzNTDG

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The Penguin India Blog

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