Leadership Insights from Cricket: Think Big and Act Small

By Carl Sanders-Edwards | Blog

Feb 27

I used to play a lot of cricket. Cricket is a hard game, especially when batting it can be cruel. To set the stage; two sides play, one that bats to scores runs in fixed number of overs, while the other side bowls to get the batsmen out and restrict the runs. The team that scores the most runs in One Day International & Twenty 20 formats wins the game. (Test format has slightly different rules).

As a batsman, you can be in the form of your life and still fail by facing the ball of the day. That is it. You are out and there are no more chances, game is over for you. What other sport is like this? If you have a bad serve in tennis you can still send down an ace next time. Miss a putt in golf but you can still birdy the next hole. Miss a shot at goal in soccer but be the games’ hero with an overhead thriller in the next play.

I could go on but you get the drift – cricket is tough – maybe even tougher than business and the business of improving how we lead ourselves and others.  This made me reflect on what cricket could teach me about leadership. We learn a lot when we pass through difficult times. The insight that popped into my head was some coaching that my dad used to give me, he said…

“You score a century (100 runs) in 5’s. After each 5, start again and stay focused on the next 5”.

There is so much wisdom in this comment. My takeaways from this insight are:

  • Think Big – Set a goal that is meaningful to you and others.
  • Act Small – Thinking in increments keeps you flexible, innovative and resilient. In other words, in life and business play each ball on its merits.
  • Be Persistent – Don’t get overwhelmed by big targets; just break them down and start now.
  • Have Fun – Celebrate what you achieve along the way.
  • Live in the Present – Stay in the current moment no matter how inspiring your future ambition is.
  • Focus – Clear out your fears and other thoughts and focus only on your goal.

I’d love to know if you can add to the list – please comment below.

Action Trumps Everything.

Inspiration is good but I’ve learnt nothing happens by itself and I don’t learn unless I act on it.  I’ve done two things since I got this insight:

  1. Planned a break – it has been a big and exciting year for JumpShift but unless I stop and pause soon, fatigue will likely cause me to miss something important. Christmas is too far away, and my work and life isn’t a sprint. The break has helped me focus on my goal.
  2. Be happy and content – By mentally patting myself on the back and then resetting to zero, I’ve focused myself on living here and now – both at work and with my beautiful little family.

I’m already feeling the impact of putting this leadership insight into action. A light fog I didn’t even know existed has cleared and the creeping frustration I was feeling entering my mindset has evaporated. Now I better make this a habit!

How do you plan to put this leadership insight into action and improve your life?

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