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March - 2012 - issue > Management
Shali Thilakan
Managing Director- Cable&Wireless Worldwide
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Last year, the world watched in rapt attention, a lad from Ranchi and the captain of the Indian cricket team lift the World Cup after 28 years. Would you believe if someone told you that Mahendra Singh Dhoni started off in school playing football, and that he was once pushed to represent a local cricket club by his football coach? He impressed everyone with his wicket-keeping skills and the rest is the stuff that dreams are made of.

The media went from town to town praising the new Messiah of Indian cricket, 'Captain Cool'. But surely, he didn’t win the championship on his own. It was team effort; Esprit De Corps! What he inherited from his predecessor was a motley mix of superstars and maverick young guns, and look at how he turned them into a winning outfit. And that very fabric is essential to the success of any company.

You can't run a company on your own, nor can you run a company only on hard work. You need talent, flair, diversity, and sustainability. You just need to find the right mix. No movie can be complete without its supporting cast, right? So let's try and assemble a team, let the jigsaw fall into place, and there would be nothing else left to explain.

THE VETERAN - The most experienced pro in your team; he has always strived to achieve so much for the company. Your 'go to' man in a crisis. He was in the company when you were in college. People respect him for his experience. He is by no means an individual contributor; rather the fulcrum around which the team revolves.

THE MAVERICK - When he is in his elements, you know that all-important business deals are in your kitty. He might lose his focus at times and it is up to you to get him to concentrate on the matter at hand. His sheer unpredictability makes him an asset to the team. His creativity plays an important role in inspiring the team to stay afloat during hard times.

THE CONSERVATIST - Playing the game the traditional way; he might be seen by some, as bordering on the boring. He may not accept or adapt to radical changes in the workplace initially. He remains calm in the face of adversity, but you know you can depend on him to deliver the goods when it matters.

THE FUTURIST - At some stage, you have already earmarked your successor. But till then, there are those small chinks in the armor that need fixing. Take him under your wing when a crisis strikes, and you know you are making an investment for the future.

THE BULLS AND BEARS GUY – He frustratingly seems to have his back to the right things in life at times. His career graph reads inconsistency. Count on him to deliver and he disappoints; and when you least expect it, SMACK, he has everyone running for cover. Hone him, motivate him; he will soon bloom into a fine, dependable professional.

MR. EQ - The guy whose heart rules over his mind, but you know that he continues to deliver value to the organization and is a vital cog in your team. Help to channelize his emotions towards common team objectives, and presto, you have a hero for all occasions.

MR. DEPENDABLE – A complete team player, one you know can be handed complete responsibility of that large customer who demands strict adherence to service level agreements, and your man is always spot on.

THE PERCEIVED WEAK LINK - A team is only as strong as the weakest link. It is important to shield him and protect him, because you know that he is not that bright, eager-to-impress guy who will always have his hand up during strategic meetings, but the one who might just drop into your cabin later that day and blow you away with a brilliant idea.

THE SPOTLIGHT JUNKIE – An extremely talented individual; love him or hate him, but you can't ignore him. You can see that he's trying too hard at times. You want him in your team and you need him in your team. Yes, he behaves like a spoilt brat, but you are clearly aware of the sheer magic he is capable of.

MR. NICE GUY – Your 4 a.m. guy, who will only be too eager to help the team with something in the middle of the night; he's the one who makes you want to spend more time with your team.

THE JOKER – Not to be confused with the Heath Ledger type; of course, he is your man to lift the sagging team morale during difficult times. He will be the guy who brings in some comic relief during an intense business discussion.

YOURS TRULY – It is important to come to terms with your own style of functioning before you start stamping your authority over business matters. Always consult and have immense faith in your team to deliver the goods. You need to take ownership for things that go awry, but for everything else, you can pass it on to your team.

All this looks good and reads fine, till the team goes on a downward spiral. Client payments not coming in on time, no new customer orders in the last quarter, etc., and everyone will be out to hunt you down, just like the media is going for Dhoni's throat right now. Persevere! What worked well in your favor only a year ago cannot go wrong so drastically. Like all cricket lovers proclaim, "Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent."

Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company, once defined the concept of Teamwork in three simple points: "Coming together is a beginning; Working together is progress; Achieving together is success." Investing time on your team will help you reap rich dividends; one that will be aligned to your company goals and help you chart the path to continued success.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide PLC (LSE: CW) is a multinational telecommunications company, headquartered in Bracknell, United Kingdom. It specializes in providing communication services to large corporates, governments, carrier customers, and resellers. Its services include managed voice, data, and IP based services and applications across the UK, Asia Pacific, India, Middle East & Africa, Continental Europe, and North America. Established in the 1860s, Cable&Wireless Worldwide helps more than 6,000 organizations deliver their goals.
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