Follow by Email

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Whose approach is right - Gambhir's or Dhoni's?

Gambhir had said that Dhoni should have ended the second one-day match with Australia early ( played in the current Commonwealth series) and should not have waited till the last over, when he had to hit a six.

Dhoni in response to this comment replied, "It's different when you are playing in the middle. If you see his innings today ( after Gambhir played the next innings against Sri Lanka) , he also found it difficult to rotate the strike consistently, and once you are in that situation it is very difficult to play a big shot. You can easily play big shots, but the difference is it always has to pay off. So I am never in a hurry to finish it in the 48th over or 47th over. Even if it goes to the 49th or 50th over, I am quite happy".

Whose approach is right? Dhoni's or Gambhir's? What do you think?

In cricket, it is the bowler who makes the 'first move', so to say. Like white pieces in the chess, who make the first move, decide the course of the game, so it is with cricket. It is the bowler who determines the course of the game. If the bowler therefore is bowling beautifully, it is more likely that the big shot will not 'pay off'. And if it does not 'pay off', the team goes behind further. As the 'big shot' is predetermined, it is more than likely that one will also lose a wicket. This increases the 'risk' further. Not only deliveries are lost, but a new batsman has to take even 'higher risks', which is unlikely to pay off. Hitting a predetermined big shot to end the match early is less likely to produce the desired 'result' because one is ignoring the situational context of the game. (Gambhir's approach)

Given the nature of the cricket game, it is therefore prudent to 'wait' for the 'right delivery' of the bowler and play a big shot only on a 'loose delivery' ( which is Dhoni's approach) and keep on playing 'safely' until then. And if the bowlers are bowling well, ( if you remember that match, Jadeja got out in the 49th over) one may have to wait till the 50th over to play the 'high risk' shot. Although this approach may seem 'risky', you will realise, that it 'safer bet' than trying to play the high risk shot early.

More importantly, one has to be careful to ensure that one does not evaluate the two approaches based on the desired 'result'. That is called hindsight bias - in hindsight any approach can be justified based on the 'result'. Sometimes Dhoni's approach may work, sometimes Gambhir's approach may work. (Overall, Dhoni's approach will always give a higher average.) But the 'specific' result does not determine the 'rightness of approach'. That is a wrong way of evaluating an approach. The approach has to evaluated  from the 'strategic' and the 'risk' angle, given the nature of the game and the situational constraints. ( as-is reality)

More importantly, your approach has to be evaluated on the fundamental principle of success, that 'your efforts alone do not produce the desired result'. This is true in game as it is true in life. Gambhir's approach is wrong, because he believes that 'his unidirectional predetermined effort' can determine the 'result' of the game. He forgets that it is the 'bowler's delivery' which gives him the 'workable options', not the other way round. ( Just because his approach works sometimes, it does not mean that it is right). Dhoni's approach is right, because it is based on the 'reality' that his options are limited by the bowler, and if one respects the as-is reality, one is more than likely to produce the desired outcome ! Dhoni's seemingly easy success is based on very sound principles !

In other words, your pre-determined unidirectional effort does not produce the 'desired' result; it is your 'appropriate' effort , based on the situational constraints, which determines whether the 'desired result' will emerge. In the language of systems thinking, 'result' is the emergent property of the system, not the property determined by you alone!

Please remember this basic principle when you are giving CAT exam of management, aptitude test of a company, an interview of a company, or getting a performance rating from your boss for your last year's efforts. Your unidirectional effort does not determine the result; it is your 'appropriate' effort based on the given constraints of the situation. One has to be smart like Dhoni to find the appropriate effort, and not do what others think is right. If you are not smart like Dhoni, you can learn it through systems thinking !

By the way, there is another cricketer in the Indian team, who believes in Gambhir's approach. Do you know who he is? I will give you a hint. If he had used Dhoni's approach, he would have broken many more records ! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Three must-nots that one should avoid at any cost

More than knowing, what to do in the life to build your career or talent, it is sometimes more beneficial to know what one should never do in one's career.

As i said before the important step for you after graduating is to 'chose your talent zone'. And, as we have discussed before, it is not important that you be accurate and focused on some 'narrow' area of skill such as selling software, or selling financial solutions. One has to however prioritise and chose a 'zone' that is large enough, but not so large that one will divert one's resources on too many activities. For instance, it is important to chose 'sales' as a function and 'telecom' as a domain, if you are a E&TC engineer. But if this is choice is getting delayed for some reason or another, one should at least avoid situations that will create additional problems. I can enumerate three instances which should be avoided at any cost.

  1. Be sensitive to Type 1 thinking on crucial decisions like job changes and other matters. Slow down oneself, override Type 1 mind and let Type 2 take over for a time being. Such decisions taken by Type 1 create more damage that require additional effort in damage control. When one gets handcuffed in a situation because of type 1 decision ( CA getting stuck with the situation!), one loses more time in undoing it, rather than doing something new to set one's life on new course. In my coaching experience, i have spend considerable time with coachees in undoing their past, instead of 'recreating' their future. 
  2. Do not pursue acquisition of virtues and traits like honesty and confidence. This is one of the favourite goal-pursuits most of the graduates engage in. Every year, at the New year time, they make a list of new goals that they want to pursue that year. As we discussed earlier, these are 'emergent' traits that cannot be acquired by left-brain pursuits.Avoid them not because it wastes time and effort, but more importantly, one should avoid them because it gives an illusion of doing something and misleading you. 
  3. Do not lock yourself in a tight compartment: Graduates, who tend to be with themselves, are most prone to wrong decisions, incompatible beliefs and incorrect conclusions, because they shut themselves from the world either by sitting infront of the computer all the time, or immersing themselves in some hobby, or doing more and more courses to occupy themselves. We need friends who can 'challenge' our cherished beliefs once in a while, who can question our habits, and who can show our insularity when we tend to become too one-dimensional. 
In the next blog, we will see the indirect ways of finding our talent zone.