Another season of IPL is behind us, and as always there was plenty of drama in the last over of more than a couple of games. As a cricket fan, I enjoy the last minute comeback as much as my cricket passionate husband. However, dramatic last overs are usually a consequence of less than satisfactory performance leading up to that point. Odds are, if a team performs optimally from the first kick-off on, the game is all but won prior to the commencement of the last over.
Isn’t this a scenario so similar to what most of us confront at our workplace? Recently I was speaking to a senior sales professional from the industry and discussing the impact of slow economic growth predicted for the year. I was shocked at his take on the whole situation. When asked how he manages to motivate and drive his team to achieve targets in such a situation, he said the methodology is very simple. His company requires him and his team to meet their monthly targets, but as per company’s Rewards & Recognition policy of getting promoted, they are measured on their yearly target achieved irrespective of the dry quarters in between. The gentleman was comfortable going easy with his team for two quarters of the year and would push them to accelerate their performance in the last two quarters. I am sorry if I sound cynical, but I strongly feel people with this kind of a mindset are the ones with serious consistency issues and unfortunately we end up blaming the economic slowdown for the above. Professionals as the above believe (maybe to some extent that’s how it works in their organizations) that what’s remembered best is what happened most recently, and they can sometimes afford to overlook earlier performances. It’s a leadership failure when this is allowed to happen and when we reward such behavior, it’s only reinforced.
I strongly feel (might not have much consensus here) that we need to create a work place where fourth quarter heroics or failures have no place. Over the past couple of months, there might have been more than a few frustrating initiatives at work that required fourth quarter heroics due to poor execution leading up to that point. We need not wait until the last due date to pay our phone bills or hold on till our car is completely out of fuel before we take action. Preventive measures are always at our disposal, though with each passing moment the number of tools we have diminishes.
None of us should wait until the last quarter to begin playing as if this was a do or die moment. We need not pray for a victory to be achieved in the final few minutes. Why always wait for Dhoni’s last over helicopter shots to help us bring the trophy back home?