6 Leadership and performance lessons from Pro Kabaddi season 1 winner

Pro Kabbadi season 2 has started with full fanfare in Mumbai on 18th July 2015. The first match was between season 1 finalists Jaipur Pink Panther and U Mumba.

I must thank Mashaal Sports; Charu Sharma and Star Sports. You gave us a treat by reviving the sports of Kabaddi and giving it a great glamour quotient. Pro kabaddi has been a great hit.

For starters, Kabaddi has 8 players in each team. It’s a 40 minute intense, high energy game with one 5 minute break after 20 minutes. Two terms often surface in the game. Raiders and Defenders. Raiders are the one who go in the other teams’ arena; try to touch the opponent players and touch back the mid line without being held back by the opponent players. The defenders job is to catch the raider and not allow him to touch the mid line.

The season 1 final match was between U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers. The first half was intense. However in the second half, Pink Panthers very decisively won the match with a score of 35-24.

The key question is what made this team demonstrate such a high level of performance so consistently match after match?

Here are the six (3 covered in this blog) leadership and performance lessons from this team

  1. Team composition :

The first task before the franchise owner Abhishek Bachchan was to get the people who can select the best players. He chose K Bhaskaran, an Arjuna awardee as the coach of the team. Next was to select the company or a person who can manage the team effectively. He chose Bunty Walia who runs G S entertainment. Mandate was to ensure that the team is taken care of well.

Now was the time to select the players. Abhishek Bachchan, K Bhaskaran and Bunty Walia did extensive research; studied player profiles and selected a fine mix of players. Pink panthers’ has some of the finest raiders; defenders and all-rounders.

In the business context, choosing your team right is of utmost importance. You don’t grow business. You grow people and they grow your business. If we have this piece right, the businesses or projects get going fast.

  1. The Strategy :

K Bhaskaran who has been there, done that knows the game in and out. He ensured that the players were given enough time and opportunities to practice. For 15 days the players practiced in Jaipur. Abhishek Bachchan was personally present for a week to encourage the players; keep them in the right frame of mind and keep them motivated. Bhaskaran ensured that right game strategy is put in place. He strengthened the position of each player and offered insights to make it sharper.

In the context of business, while getting the right people sets the pace, getting your strategy right ensures that you are in the right direction. Depending upon our business and the scope, we can decide which strategy tool or method to use to formulate the blue print for the business or unit. For example, my friend who hold a key position in one SBU (strategic business unit) uses 2 X 2 matrix, 5 force analysis and strategy maps quite extensively.

  1. Execution :

Each player was trained to do his role well. Prashant Chavan and Gokul Shitole held the right corner well. The team’s captain Navneet Gautam was at his best handling the left corner. Rajesh Narwal and Maninder Singh raided very well.  Jasvir Singh demonstrated cool, composed, smiling but a sharply focussed demeanour when he raided. He remains my favourite.

In the business context, using the strength of each and every team member is the real test of a manager or a leader. Fitting their skills and capabilities in the larger scheme of things is nothing short of a jigsaw puzzle.  Keeping the team member excited about the uniqueness of his or her contribution to the overall picture is tough but a fulfilling job for the manager or leader.

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