A sneak preview of Harsha Bhogle's discussion with Niall Booker, CEO, HSBC India and Rahul Dravid on 'Masterstrokes' to be telecast on CNBC-TV18 tomorrow
This week's episode of Masterstrokes, CNBC-TV18's fusion of business with sports, features Niall Booker, Group General Manager and CEO, HSBC India, and a former county cricketer in the UK, and Rahul Dravid, vice-captain, Indian cricket team, with Harsha Bhogle, cricket commentator moderating the show.
Booker claims that this episode features two Scotsmen, since Dravid had played for Scotland in 2003.
To be telecast at 8:30 pm on September 21, 2004 (with a repeat telecast on Sunday September 26 at 9:30 pm), Masterstrokes will focus on the turnaround, something that both guests know fairly intimately. Harsha will be querying the two participants on the process of turning teams around, since when a team requires a turnaround, it is assumed that there has been a failure at some point. There are two ways of failure - one way is to boost the moral of the team and get it back to where it was and the other is to analyse the causes of the failure.
The following excerpt of the show, is an exclusive to domain-b:
Harsha Bhogle: Is failure sometimes a better teacher than success, Niall? I think it was Bill Gates who said once that success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking that they cannot loose.
Niall Booker: Winston Churchill defined success as going from failure to failure with a smile. I think you can have too much of failure. I think you can learn from failure and I know from my own experience.
Harsha Bhogle: Do organizations still run the risk of chopping and changing too drastically when the team is low or is that some times a necessity?
Niall Booker: Well, I think it is sometimes a necessity, Harsha. I think it is Jim Collins, the management book writer who said -"You got to get the best people on the boss" and see a lot of that kind of analysis in sport. Clive Woodword, when he coached the England Rugby team said, "you got to have the people with the right attitude, so you got to have the right people and it is important to have the best people."
I always thought the Australian mantra of picking the 11 best players and then picking your captain would probably be the right way to go and that's what we have tried to do in our business. We have tried to pick the best people, and I think it is a sign of a turnaround starting to work. You can get the best people to come and play for you and that is just as true for business as it is in sports.
Harsha Bhogle: It is interesting that you mentioned Clive Woodward because one of the things Alan Border and Bob Simpson emphasised when Australia were making their grand turnaround from being at the bottom as recently as '85-'86 that they were going to rebuild on attitude first. There were a lot of gifted players who they thought would not fit into the side and therefore went out to be replaced by attitude players like Steve Waugh and David Boon. Has that been a factor in India as well? That you start to look at attitude first or do we still look at skill first and then say, can we then get attitude into him?
Rahul Dravid: I think you look at a combination of both those things. I think attitude is very important. You start with the need to have the right attitude. The flip side of this is that people get too caught up in attitude. People get comfortable with the right attitude. People start picking players even if they are not performing sometimes, for the right attitude and sometimes you can go wrong in that direction as well. So you need to strike the right balance. The ideal situation is to have skilled players who have the right attitude and that is a perfect sort of scenario so you can either create - get the people with the skill and then inculcate the right attitude which is probably a good way to go as well. Because if you create the right dynamics and the right atmosphere within a team then even if they are skilled, they understand that there are certain rules that they have to play by.
On being asked if good leaders achieve turnarounds by doing the simple and little things better, not the difficult ones, Booker says that leadership is doing ordinary things spectacularly well. Focusing on customer, is an important aspect. For example being the head of a business organisation, if a customer complaint comes in, you know you will send an email to the guys dealing with it, (because) you know what is happening. The indication is that every customer matters to you and even the smallest details are taken care of. "So doing the simple things, doing the rather un-sexy things spectacularly well is the key path of making a business work," concludes Booker.
Dravid, however, calls it the 'The 1% factor', which happens very often as, for instance, when the ball is hit to the boundary and you see a fielder run towards it. He slides and fields it and throws it back, saving one run. So what might have been three runs is just two and then a wicket falls in the next ball or the next two balls and everyone congratulates the bowler or the guy who has taken the catch. "But I think it is important to congratulate the fielder who stopped that run because if not for him, the batsman who got out would not have been on strike," says Dravid. According to him, these are the little things, which make the difference.