Playing the Game

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The Winning Way, Anita and Harsha Bhogle , book reviewSports and management have been joining hands in India ever since companies like Tata Steel started hiring cricketers and built a sports stadium in Jamshedpur. ‘Sports is a way of life’ was one of their corporate mottos. What does that have to do with Harsha and Anita Bhogle’s first book? Quite a lot because while many people feel that sport has no relationship to management, it actually shares quite a few values and sports terminology has crept insidiously into management jargon. According to the Tata Steel ethos, good sportsmen make good citizens.

What does sport have in common with management? Quite a few things – most sports rely on teamwork and leadership and so does management. There are elements of risk taking, adapting to changing situations and a determination to excel. It is for this reason that the husband-wife duo has put together a book combining their two skillsets. Harsha left advertising to become a sports commentator while Anita is a post graduate from IIM-Ahmedabad who shares an advertising background.

‘Contrary to popular perception ability is not a major distinguishing factor in success, especially as the level of competition increases. But if you combine your ability with the right attitude and the passion to excel, you too can become the best that you can be.’ So says the book. And it matches examples from the world of sport to management tenets.

Sachin Tendulkar is probably the name most often mentioned where sportsmen are concerned, though Martina Navratilova, Lance Armstrong, Pete Sampras, Steve Waugh, Bjorn Borg, Michael Jordon crop up frequently when the authors discuss successful brands and how they reached success. Those not into management will be happy to read the sporting anecdotes. However, the book has an inspirational message to offer young people and is likely to persuade ambitious parents that sports can add a new dimension to a child’s life.

The book introduces the concept of the winning triangle, a combination of ability, attitude and passion. According to the authors, while talent can open a few doors for you, success or failure depends on your attitude and your passion to excel and the key to happiness lies in following your heart. To highlight this point they use the examples of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli – how one succeeded but the other, despite his undeniable talent, fell by the wayside. It is a ‘can do’ attitude that differentiates winning teams from the rest, along with a unique body language. The combination of these aspects is, according to the Bhogles, enough to ‘take hope away’ from the competition.

Winning too creates its own responsibilities. And it is necessary to adapt to change to continue to win. To illustrate the tactics of change management, the Bhogles cite the Twenty-20 example, where classic test players changed the format of the game to win in a very different way. While the Indian hockey is a perfect example of a sports superpower failing to adapt to the new Astroturf stadiums and so falling from grace.

Goals are the other things that sport has in common with management. The authors stress on the importance of setting challenging goals that can be out of reach but should always be within the field of vision. They also run through the different types of goals, like individual goals, team goals, performance goals and stretch goals.

Foreword and afterword by Mukesh Ambani and Rahul Dravid encapsulate the book’s message neatly. The language is simple and the summary boxes at the end of each chapter make it easy to remember the highlights.

The Winning Way – Learnings from Sport for Managers
by Anita Bhogle and Harsh Bhogle
Published by Westland Tranquebar in India, May 2011

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Buy book online
Buy book online Buy book online
The Winning Way - Learnings from Sport for Managers
by Anita Bhogle and Harsh Bhogle

One Comment on "Playing the Game"

  1. Gautham Ghate
    30/08/2011 at 09:46 Permalink

    When I first saw the book ( The Winning Way ) in the store, I bought it to indulge myself in another poetic rendering of the subject. I vividly remember Harsha’s day to day covering of matches in newspapers which always had a grand beginning followed with beautiful flow of the days story. The imagery, poetic expressions used to win my heart. But alas! this one is entirely worked out from the brain. Purely analytical, systematic. No place for imagery, grandiose. Nevertheless, book is very interesting. Keeps you hooked for his observations and making the meaning out of them for managers. I really liked the term ‘Positive Turbulence’. A must read for management students as well as practitioners.

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Written by Anjana Basu
Anjana Basu

Anjana Basu works as an advertising consultant in Calcutta. In 2003, Harper Collins India brought out her novel Curses In Ivory. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue, published by Roli in 2007. In February 2010. her children's novel Chinku and the Wolfboy was brought out by Roli. She writes features for travel magazines and reviews for Indian newspapers.

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