The importance of the team and man-management

Posted on June 4th, 2008 in Agile, Management by siddharta || 2 Comments

If you have been even half alive in India over the past month you would definitely have seen the IPL. I think one thing that the IPL proved was the importance of the team and man-management. It’s not the rock stars that matter, but the team that plays best together. Throughout I was thinking about the agile philosophy of valuing the team over individuals. Check out this fantastic interview with Darren Berry, director of coaching at Rajasthan Royals where he talks about their management style:

Some snippets:

Q: What was the role of the coaches, or man managers as Warne calls them?

Berry: The key to our success was our man-management early: we got all the players in one-on-one and I tried to understand them, what made them tick. What happens normally is, a lot of coaches tell people what to do but you’ve got to actually understand what motivates them.

Q: How difficult was it to build a winning unit in such a short time?

Berry: Very difficult, no doubt. It’s about making people feel at home and part of the family. Having spoken to a lot of Indian players, we realised that within their first-class cricket there are different levels of hierarchy, whereas what we had was the biggest name in world cricket sitting next to Dinesh Salunkhe, who is not even a first-class cricketer. You can’t measure how much that made people grow.

Q: There was this unique sense of camaraderie among the Royals. You seemed to be able to make the players believe they were one family?

Berry: I believe that was the difference between us and the rest of the sides. It’s an immeasurable thing but it was important. During a mini-break in mid-May, when some of us foreigners went to Goa to relax, Asnodkar, who is a native, invited us to have dinner at his family home one night. Warne, Shane Watson, Graeme Smith, myself and Snape got into a car and drove 45 minutes to Swapnil’s house. His parents were there along with his grandfather, who came up later and said, in Hindi, “I can die a happy man. Shane Warne sitting in my lounge room …”

When Yusuf Pathan was selected for India, we all gave him a standing ovation because we all felt part of it – we felt that this tournament launched him to higher levels.

There was Zahir, our bag man. He lost his mother during the tournament, but he stayed on with the side. We wore the black armband in respect. He was important, too. Before leaving to go home he came to my room crying.

You can’t quantify emotions and passion in people. It all has to do with trust, honesty and respect, and you only get that if you treat people fairly, evenly.

Q: In any team environment participation from all sections is the key to success. How did you deal with differences of opinion?

Berry: From the Indian perspective, I don’t think there were any big egos in our side, and that might’ve been another strength. As for internationals, Graeme Smith and Shane had differences when they played against each other, but here they sat together having Coke as best mates.

Q: Was your dressing room full of whiteboards, overhead projectors, flip charts?

Berry: It was pretty simple – minimal. We had a whiteboard with four or five points for each game. Our team meeting on the day of the game would average between 15 and 30 minutes. Some teams met for two hours and did video analysis and all that. That definitely was not Warnie’s style.

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2 Responses to “The importance of the team and man-management”

  1. Joseph Jude Says:

    Siddharth: I agree with you – not the rockstars that matter; but the whole team. I posted about my learnings from IPL too:


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