The IPL Bonanza

So, the IPL 2009 edition is finally over.  Was it more exciting than the 2008 edition?  Not entirely sure, but it was an incredible spectacle in itself.  While not really having the qualifications to comment on the quality of cricket, I think the take-backs from the event for those of us in a 9-to-whatever are interesting.  Not necessarily path-breaking, but interesting.

  • Organization Potentially fatal announcement to move out of the country.  Decision on location made in hours of negotiation.  Approximately 35 days of time to prepare for an event of this scale and length.  Take-backs: Courage to make decisions and belief in the team to pull it off.  Don’t you think more CEOs would benefit from this outlook?
  • Motivation Money was just the beginning.  Creating or maintaining an individual reputation became equally important.  But how about the team?  The team owners were ruthless in their pursuit of the best teams.  Big names were found warming the bench due to lack of performance or attitude.  The strategies which succeeded were where people were given an opportunity and evaluated based on the results.  The team behaviour award from the IPL has been a masterstroke in this effort.  Take-backs: Clear vision of the qualities that an organization wants to encourage, their articulation and appropriate felicitation.
  • Teamwork Which teams won?  The teams which avoided confusion, confrontation and panic – T20 is that kind of a game.  How was this done – clear division of roles and responsibilities.  There have been several examples of players playing specific roles that have been pre-decided in the dressing room.  This is not about specific strategies, but about getting the best out of the abilities of individuals, no matter what their weaknesses are.  Take-backs: Clearly identify the responsibility of every team member – no matter how small.  Then give them the space to perform within that boundary.  Reward based on role, not overall performance (can’t expect a #7 batsman to score a 50).
  • Transformation Incredible!  The #7 and #8 teams from 2008 meet in the final of 2009!  What gives?  However, if you look closely, DC lineup is almost identical to the whipping boys of last year, while the RC boys also have minimal changes.  The difference is based on a studied and strong application of the above principles which have transformed a 2-run loss into a 2-wicket win. Take-backs: Transformation of a team is not necessarily about the personnel.  A change in the management methodology and a re-iteration of team concepts can bring about wonders.
  • Branding So who is the most successful brand of the IPL?  Well, according to some market research, the honor belongs to KKR – the least successful team on the field.  The question then becomes which one is more important?  Was the KKR team looking to be the best brand and not necessarily the best team?  The media blitz does indicate a propensity in that direction.  The strategy is questionable, but that is not the point here. Take-backs: The aim of an organization should be clear – this is what needs to translate into the efforts of every individual on the team.

I think students and practitioners of management would do well to study some of the on-field and off-field activities of IPL organizers and teams.  This event has been a success, which was not a given at the start of the year, through these efforts.  I look forward to next year to see how teams refine their individual strategies based on the personnel they have – something that has not been mastered yet.

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8 thoughts on “The IPL Bonanza

  1. Excellent analysis , just wanted to add one more :

    Innovation: This IPL was different from a typical 20/20 match because they introduced some new ideas, not necessarily path breaking ones but at least interesting ideas. Purple caps/Orange caps for most successful bowler and batsman running kept people guessing at all times and sure it was motivating for players as well. The strategy break- not that everyone liked it and introducing more ads was the primary idea- was used effectively for charity purpose and donations were given to schools, giving IPL brand a name for social cause, something you rarely associate BCCI with. Efforts were made to make it more people friendly in terms of team mascot ( during toss) and star of the match ( one lucky person getting signed ball from winning captain during presentation) , something that was never seen before in any international match. Take backs :- Innovations initiated in any organization with a clear conscious can do wonders in terms of success and general public acceptance !

    • Thanks Rajeev. You are correct – innovation has become a necessity in today’s world – not just to grow, but to survive. Bringing innovations, even into new products such as IPL really reflects the managements commitment to continuous improvement.

    • I can’t deny that this year IPL has come up with some nice creative ideas – like the ones you mentioned – to keep people interested. However, the IPL concept as a whole, is actually based on the MLB or NBA in US. Regional teams/franchise, private owners, multi year contracts for players, option to trade players, etc. The original mantra of IPL was ‘not to come up with innovative concept’, instead ‘replicate a concept that has a proven track record’. Wait till they introduce ‘All Stars’ game midway thru an IPL season …

      • Can’t deny your facts. However, let us look at a few points.
        1) That is a model that a LOT of people want to duplicate. Any successes? The Japanese baseball league maybe, but look at the WNBA, CFL, etc, etc…..
        2) The model you are talking about has a basis for success – whole societies have changed over time to support it. Feeder systems such as the NCAA already exist
        3) What we are talking about is the transportation of an idea to a whole new realm and a whole new market in a whole new format

        We should compare the IPL to the MLB of 1910 maybe. In today’s competitive and “me, me, me” world, this is a very difficult move to execute and we are actually celebrating the success of that. My opinion is that if the move was that easy, we would be celebrating an Englishman or and Australian already in the last century, not Lalit Modi in 2009.

        Let me know your views on this.

  2. Very well categorised. The IPL is a an excellent example of team building and collaboration.

    I did not particularly enjoy the IPL last year. This year I was hooked and observed it closely. Each game was stunning and had great intensity and force.

  3. I really liked the article, very well composed. A good analysis of the take-backs from both successes and failures in IPL and applying it to the management ideology. I’m sure the IPL2 getting such a grand success will be used as a case study in the management curriculum and organisation trainings. What I liked most was donating for the social cause. Very good example of giving back to the society. They should continue with this novel idea. Only 1 minor observation from spectator point of view :- It was a lengthy tournament. As a spectator you lose interest after a while and only wait for few matches before the final. May be good for business but the interest of viewers should be kept in mind. It should be balanced. They should also continue to build upon from here & show continous improvement by bringing innovative ideas and implementing it as they did this time.

    • Thanks Sunil. Agreed with the social cause. Wonder if it was a requirement from South Africa and if it will be continued once back in India…

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