I don’t often watch Bollywood films. The dance scenes can only be politely said to be interesting. They usually have corny romantic scenes and the scripts are hilarious. Then you have the fight scenes. They’re hilarious too.
But every so often Bollywood produces a gem. And if want to see a film about leadership this one is awesome. I often say sports and business are interlinked. The film script is good, it has some humour, there is not a romantic scene in sight and there are no six pack fight scenes either.
It’s called 83 and is on Netflix. It’s based on the true story about how the Indian cricket team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup when no one expected it.
And when I say no one, I mean no one. The team did not believe it could win. The Indian Cricket Board, the fans and the press all thought they would be going home early too. In fact, the Indian Cricket Board had already booked the team flights back home after the group stages. And that happened before the tournament started.
At the time Indian Cricket was in disarray. They were useless when it came to the one-day game. In three World Cup priors they had won a total of 1 game. In other words, they were crap.
But the team did well in the early games. Then they did badly so it was not easy. So, what did Kapil Dev, an inexperienced leader and newly appointed captain do that made them win?
There are 2 types of leaders. Those that inspire and then get their hands dirty. The other type of leader will show the team their vision and expect the team to implement it. Both types work but the key is knowing what type you are.
Kapil Dev was a get your hands dirty kind of leader. How did he do it?
- He Knew His Outcome
In his first press conference when asked what his expectations were, he said in broken English ‘We are here to win’
No one expected them to get anywhere. Other captains or leaders, being realistic, may have said ‘Do they best we can’
But in Kapil Dev’s mind if you are in a competition, you are there to win.
Sometimes we forget this when in business. We are competing against many competitors. As a leader we are there to win the game of business.
- The Team Came First
To win a game of sports your team needs the right tools. Indian Cricket in 1983 was poorly paid. Spending money was about $25 a day. So, it was not surprising that team members had shoes that were falling apart.
So, Kapil made sure his team had the right kit.
As business leaders we often will not invest in the equipment we need to make our team efficient, but happy to spend on a car that adds no value to the business.
Get your priorities right.
- High Standards
There were times when the team did not pull its weight. At those times Kapil made sure he told the team this was unacceptable. He had high standards and expected the team to meet those standards. If there were team members who could not, they would be replaced.
How many team members in your team are not pulling their weight? Is it because you allow them to have low standards or is it because they do not have the right skills or attitude? And are you happy to have low standards? If not, do something about it.
- Got His Hands Dirty
Sometimes leaders must show the team they are prepared to get their hands dirty. In one match the Indian Cricked team were 15 runs with 5 wickets down and fighting for their life. Kapil played an innings that even today is a milestone.
It shows the team when it matters most you will be there. It builds confidence and belief too.
- Made the Team Believe
After qualifying from the group stages the Indian Cricket Team really started to believe they could do it.
There were times in the dressing room the mood was almost a death like. But they somehow pulled through. And they realised their captain was serious about fighting and winning.
A leader’s job is not just to lead, but to make sure their team believes the outcome can be achieved despite the odds.
- You Have to Fight!
There are times when as a leader you have everything against you. And that means you must fight for survival and win those flights.
During that World Cup it happened twice when they could have been eliminated during the group stage and then in the final when they scored runs that were not considered adequate.
But Kapil told his team that those runs were enough if they fought for every run.
India did not win the World Cup because they had skills. The West Indies, Australia & England had skills far superior.
India won the World Cup because they had a leader who truly believed, had high standards and allowed his team to dream. And that often trumps skills.
Looking back over history when we analyse those businesses that truly made it you will find they did not have all the skills. They had leaders who had a vision, a belief and had a dream.
Maybe if we all start there, we too can win the game of business.