Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another Exciting Cricketing Workshop - 1 Day Team Building Exercise For Vitesse

It was the first time I tried a three match format in a single day. Normally I do this workshop  over two or three days. But then this was an indoor game and there were 25 participants in a smaller area so I decided to pack in as much as I could in one day.

Game 1 in progress
This was also the first time I did the workshop at ML Jaisimha Indoor Academy for corporate clients and personally, I liked the experience, cricketing wise. The other facilities can be improved but the management cannot be faulted for not trying.
Thinking caps on

Anyway 25 young executives, from Vitesse joined us at the 'venue to participate in the 'Win By Design' program on team building. Leadership also flows in a bit into the program because one cannot isolate that from the aspect of team building. What was heartening to see was that the six ladies - Uma, Vasudha, Sandhya, Monika, Alekhya and Sailaja, reported before time - they were all at the venue at 845 a.m. which was brilliant.

Game 2
Sagar, who assisted me for the day, and I, joined the participants at the venue. My sore throat had gone from bad to worse and I was going against the doctor's advise to give it rest - need to keep it low though. Thankfully Varun stepped in and helped with umpiring and took a huge load off me, Sagar did the square leg umpiring and scoring. I did the sessions in between.

Session between games
 I was stressed out though because the mike did not work and I was handicapped by my throat. But in this format, the learnings are mostly from the games anyway if one is aware and participating. And mostly even post-game.
Constant support and advise from team mates, Sagar scoring

Team A (Mobeen Syed (captain), Sailaja Akkey, Monika Chandrakar, Alekhya, Murali, Venkat, Hemambar, Sivakranth, Sivaiah, Srinivas, Prashanth, Mohan and Pavan) and Team B (Suresh Varanasi (captain), Shoban - V. Captain, Pavan Virodhulu, Satish B, Mahesh J,  Vikram, Nagarjuna, Prakash, Uma, Sandhya and Vasudha) were formed. A short game was played followed by a questionnaire and a debrief on the purpose. the attitudes we carry as individuals into team games, the mindset we need to adopt and so on. A simple framework that stresses the need to articulate a common purpose. Good participation, great energy. Team A won the first game at a canter.
Expert advise from captain of Team B, Suresh

After some planning and strategising, and bringing in a few more rules like introducing mentors etc, and having the team play with a handicap, game 2 began. Team A which was considered stronger, found the heat too hot to handle this time and lost the game.

A debriefing session in progress - gurukul style
Team B did very well under pressure to come back under a new captain and I could see a marked improvement in the energy, focus and growth in both the teams. This was also accompanied by the whittling down of a few egos as it normally happens, the coming of age of new heroes, the resilience of the non players. The growth and fixed mindset were on display. We split for lunch with the delicious prospect of a tie breaker and two extremely competitive sides from which it was difficult to pick a winner.
Game 3, Umpire Varun heading off, huffing and puffing away

Post lunch we strategised some more and dived into the third game - a two inning affair split between seven pairs each side. This was an all or nothing game and the intensity and earnestness was in full flow. I could see the girls practising in all seriousness by themselves, taking catches etc which was fantastic, I could see the odd player giving practice to the lesser player, could see the focus on all team strategies - all indications of how serious the team effort can get.

The girls practising by themselves before Game 3 - great show of commitment
Team A won the toss and asked Team B to bat. Team B put up 41 on board, a below par performance especially coming off their near flawless semi final game. They committed a few more errors on the field and let Team A secure a lead of 15 runs which was sizeable, after the first innings. In the second innings only three pairs were to bat and it was here that Team B came into their own, using the rule of playing an extra player (because of the odd number of participants) and secured a huge score of 65. Coming from a team that was under so much pressure it was a brilliant, match winning effort and they went back into the field defending a net of 43 or so. Team B did it handsomely as Team A suddenly lost the plot owing to the pressure that Team B piled on relentlessly.

But really, it could have been anyone's game and I have not enjoyed a cricket match, indoor and mock notwithstanding, so much. The honesty of the effort, the energy, the battle of wills, the rise of the weaker players, the consolidation of the stronger players, the participation of the growth mindset people, the slow fading away of the fixed mindsets, the unconditional support, the desire to win at any cost, the ice cool leadership, the holding of nerves and the failing of nerves - learnings all over for everyone. Like I said, if one was aware and open that day, there was an ocean of learning from one's own behavior, from others' behavior, from the team behavior. Oh, fantastic stuff.
Presentation of award to Team B

A quick recap and debrief, presentations by both teams on their big learnings during the day that they can take back to work, a presentation ceremony where we presented a miniature cricket bat to the winners Team B, a gift to the Man of the Match Pavan from me in the form of my novel The Men Within, and a gift to all players of the biography of Mr. M.L. Jaisimha 'My Way'.
Presentation of Man of the Final Award to Pavan (in blue T shirt next to me)

Though my voice was stretched to the limit and I could hardly speak by the end, I was satisfied with the way it went. From common purpose at level 1, to putting the team first at Level 2 (goal and role clarity, target setting, communication, empowerment and appraisal), to Level 3 where the effort was to bring the team energies together (each player to be identified and given space to grow, developing processes and codes for the entire team, the importance of trust, belief and appreciation etc). The learnings at levels 1 to 3 will sink in more subtly in my opinion because while playing the game one is fully focussed on the tactics and strategies of the game.These aspects sink in later.
Winners All, Well done everyone - Tired, but managing a smile at the end of the day

Feedback, tea and biscuits and we all left after a hard days work - or rather, play. Thank you all participants for doing such a wonderful job. all the support staff. Vitesse and MLJaisimha indoor academy. Especial appreciation for the ladies for bearing the extra burden placed on them and giving their all.

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