“You cannot set field for bad bowling”

If you are a Cricket fanatic, you definitely would have heard an analyst say the following during the course of a match:

“You cannot set field for bad bowling”

badfieldIf you don’t understand Cricket, here is a quick summary. There are 11 players a side. The batting side has two of his players out there to well – bat – and score runs. The bowling side has all 11 of their players on the cricket ground – placed strategically around the cricket pitch (the 22-yard rectangular area where the bowlers bowl and batsmen bat) to stop the scoring shots. The bowler has to deliver the ball in the right place – with the right line and length – to make sure that the batsman is forced to play where the fielders are. You set the field with a bowling strategy and plan based on the batsman’s strengths and the match situation. The side which scores the most runs wins.

There are just 10 players on the cricket field (other than the bowler). The ground is huge. Larger grounds are circular with a radius as large as 90 yards. If you don’t deliver the ball in the right places, the batsman has plenty of opportunity to hit around the ground – away from where the fielders are standing.

That is when the analysts say – “You cannot set field for bad bowling”. A bowler bowls a bad ball, the batsman hits at his will and everybody on the ground, other than the batsmen, look rather stupid!

No matter how good your strategy and your plans are – if you do not have the people to execute it right, you will fail.

And worse – your strategy and plans look stupid – when actually they are not. It’s your execution that is the problem. If you have players who are not up to the mark, simply not motivated or can’t deliver when it matters, everything else is irrelevant.

The most fundamental, most important function of an organization is hiring – hiring good people. They have to get the right people in to do what the organization has to do – to be able to deliver at the right place at the right time.

Strategies, plans and processes are effective when there are capable people to execute them as intended. You may be able to cover for any shortcomings in your strategy – but there is no substitute for incompetency.

As a wise saying goes: “Great people can overcome average systems; average people won’t live up to great systems.”

Image: espncricinfo


10 thoughts on ““You cannot set field for bad bowling”

  1. Nice analogy Ather and a very important message for building teams.

    Just few days back, I was thinking another cricket analogy: Programmers are like fast bowlers (the older they are, less effective they are) and Testers are spin bowlers (the older they are, more effective they are).

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