Monday, July 11, 2011

The Winning Way - Anita & Harsha Bhogle

Read 'The Winning Way' (Westland, 195 pages, Rs. 200) by Anita and Harsha Bhogle, a book that brings learnings from sport for managers. It is a compilation of the rich experiences of the Bhogles, through their journey of 300 corporate workshops and more. The well-known cricket commentator and his wife Anita, an advertising and communications consultant, both from the IIM'A, bring tonnes of sporting analogy to

understand winning ways that can be replicated in corporate teams.

The book comprises of ten chapters. 'The Business of Winning' analyses winners - why they win, why they lose, how they take away hope and how their mind work. In the chapter on 'Goals', the authors discuss how goals must be out of sight but not out of reach, how they can stretch, but how they should not overwhelm. In the 'Winning Triangle' the importance of ability, attitude and passion are discussed. In the chapter on the 'Burden of Winning' managing success is analysed. Similarly 'Learning while losing' discusses symptoms of losing teams. 'Change' discusses how important it is to see the signs and move towards change, or be prepared for extinction. In 'Team Building' they discuss the Indian psyche of promoting oneself, qualities of great team players, how stars can affect teams. In 'Leadership' they discuss the qualities of good leaders, how good leaders are tested, how the best leaders may not be good leaders. The book ends with a chapter on 'Challenges in Today's World'. The foreword is by Mukesh Ambani and the Last Word by Rahul Dravid.

The book is replete with appropriate examples from cricket, football, basketball, golf, business and these fine examples drive home the points stressed upon. The book is written in an easy narrative style and one can almost hear Harsha's voice as one reads the book - the final draft was probably in his hands! There is much to learn from the book for the corporate manager, especially one who understands both sport and business. More so, someone who understands the space that Harsha and Anita are addressing - the perceptive manager for whom there is enough in the book to take home and become a great manager. For the one who is not, it is still a great read and may benefit at a later stage.

If anything must be said in criticism of the book it is that the many diverse examples sometimes distracted me from the original points sometimes. The authors must have been weighed down by a wealth of information that they have accumulated through their workshops and through Harsha's personal knowledge of great sportsmen, that putting it down in the short space of 195 pages might have been a challenge. One other thing that struck me was that they could well write one book for the manager and one book for the CEO - there seems to be so much material behind this book. But I am nitpicking.

As it stands, 'The Winning Way' is one book for all managers to learn and file away stories from and to use at the work place. It is possibly the first of its kind in Indian writing where it uses sports analogy extensively to apply for business situations. I am a keen advocate of the same. I would advise any corporate manager to take the stories and examples seriously and not brush it away as being from another arena - these lessons from the sports fields are too real, effective and impactful to ignore.

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