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January 09, 2019
3 good work habits I learnt from playing cricket
By: Manish Lalwani

I am a data engineering associate manager and in my current role on a data migration and analytics project I get to face interesting challenges, look for hidden insights from data and use these to help our clients make intelligent decisions. To successfully do my job and help our clients achieve their objectives, I need to be versatile, be a source of motivation for others and be able to focus on my goals.

It's not that different from being a cricket player. As someone who's been playing this game for more than 20 years, I've developed behaviours and habits that push me to be my best on the field and now I'm bringing what I've learnt into my work:

Be an all-rounder

In cricket, you get to play different roles and perform additional tasks depending on the situation of the game. Sometimes, you have to be aggressive; other times, you need to hold off and support your team with more patience and understanding.

The same is applicable at work: There will be situations where you have to take on additional responsibilities in someone’s absence, or you need to put in extra effort to reach your targets. The more adaptable you are, the more you’ll be ready and confident to face unexpected incidents and tackle them like a pro.

Think like a coach

When a certain player doesn't perform well during a game, you have to motivate that player and give them a little nudge to make sure he or she plays the game ball by ball. At work, this is applicable especially if your team doesn't achieve a certain task. As a lead, I have to keep my team motivated. I remind them that the important thing is to pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes so that the rest of the project or future tasks are not impacted, and so that you develop in your job. Take the project module by module or task by task. Also, there are times when you have to make quick decisions and change the strategy a little, depending on the situation.

Be agile and focus on your goals

Over the years, I’ve honed my skills both as an excellent medium-pace bowler and a middle-order batsman. As a bowler, my objective is to restrict the runs by bowling at a certain angle and make it difficult for the batsman to score runs; as a batsman, my aim is to bolster the batting line by sticking to an end. If I don’t focus on my main goals, and try and take wickets or hit big shots while batting, I tend to get hit for more runs, which is not part of the team strategy.

Now this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take risks or experiment with new ways of doing things. After all, innovation is what makes us grow and stay ahead of the game. My point is to figure out your goals and focus on them. Having the discipline to do so is very important. If my role for a certain account requires project management and design, and then I get ambitious and try to do the coding too despite having excellent coders in the team, I may not be able to focus on my priorities, which is managing timelines and achieving milestones.

In cricket and at work, being agile, thinking like a leader and focusing on your goals will definitely help you deliver better outcomes. I believe these behaviours are also key to creating a work environment where everyone gets to grow and thrive.

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