Don’t mock ‘process’, follow it

By N R Narayana Murthy

One of India’s best-known business leaders argues that the Indian cricket team failed because Chappell’s process was not implemented correctly
The tragedy of India is that instead of seeing what’s wrong with us and taking steps to correct it, we indulge in hysterics and look for scapegoats. Right now, everyone’s busy blaming the coach and the captain. But India has a long record of playing badly away from home, which precedes both Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell. So why single them out?
The real problem, I believe, lies with the system. Not just in cricket, but in virtually any walk of life, we are unwilling to put in hard work and live with discipline. Other countries are so neat, clean and well-organised but Indian cities are a mess, because we’re simply not willing to respect the rules. We can succeed, not just in cricket, but in everything else if we only follow four basic principles: strictly adhere to meritocracy, be willing to work hard, adopt global best practices in training and follow absolute discipline.

We need to pick the best guys available, based purely on merit and no other considerations. And the same applies to the coach. People keep asking whether we need a foreign coach. I don’t think that’s an issue at all. We should ask, who’s the best guy for the job? Whoever it is should get it.
Next, once you’ve given someone a mandate, let him implement it without interference. At Infosys, we have all our debates, arguments and discussions before it’s decided who’ll be responsible for something. Once it’s decided that X is the boss, all arguments stop and everyone rallies behind him. We shouldn’t be constantly undermining the coach by trying to second-guess him.
I know ‘process’ has become a much-mocked term, but at Infosys we
firmly believe in following processes and it’s always worked for us. If Chappell’s process didn’t work, maybe it was because it wasn’t followed properly or he wasn’t allowed to implement it in full. I’ve read that some senior players were allowed to get away with indiscipline and that’s totally unacceptable. No matter how big a star you are, if you’re disruptive to the team, you need to be shown the exit. Never mind if we lose a few matches. If you follow the correct process, positive results are bound to eventually follow.
Frankly, I don’t think having a coaching camp for a few days helps. I’d suggest that we pick the 30 guys who we believe are the best in the country. They should all be given good salaries by BCCI and closeted in a hitech training centre round the year. Rotate them so that even if 15 are playing a series, the other 15 are training.
Ensure that everyone gets to train intensively during the year. Follow best practices from around the world, give the players the best facilities and make them work really hard—eight hours a day. If anyone refuses to practice or follow the rules, axe him immediately. Follow these principles and you’re bound to have a worldbeating team.

P.S: Really really awesome article.. Great Man, Great thoughts


5 comments so far

  1. Kannu on

    The problem lies not with the process or the system, but with the people in control of the process or system, or more so with the intenions. Even if initially a process or system is designed with the best of intentions, the people who subsequently gain control of the process/system may not use it for the intentions for which the system was designed in the first place.

    And after all, isn’t a system designed by people?

  2. Shrey on

    i’m tempted to agree with you there.. the system is quite democratic, and hence fallible.. there could be mistakes and these mistakes could be pretty heavy, maybe even in the case of the indian team, BUT the beauty of the whole process is, if it can be streamlined and made as efficient and perfect as Mr. Narayana Murthy visualises it. the ‘process’ has been made successful in infosys, why cant the same be the case in other walks of life, be it public or private companies, sports teams (cricket, or hockey n football for that matter) or even your day to day life.. we must strive for continuous improvement (kaizen :p) and streamline the process so that we remove all possible ways to succeed in ones personal n self centred intentions, if any.

  3. Kannu on

    you have agreed with me.

    The onus lies on the people to perform the process or work the system the way it is to be worked, or the way the designer had visualised it to be worked.

    The system works at Infosys because the people there imbibe a culture where they are to do things in the right and desired way. Each person feels responsible for his actions.

    Is there any way that Mr. Narayana Murthy has mentioned that this kind of responsibilty and accountabilty can be made a part of one’s daily life?
    (No offence meant to him, he is a great person. But it is time that concrete measures are enumerated to achieve the much-talked-of “achievement”)
    And by your last statement, would you be implying that the ultimate goal of a person is achieving an intention revolving around oneself only?

  4. Shrey on


    had put in bold the way Mr. Murthy has said this can be made a part of our daily life..

    dunno if its comin in bold, so to quote,
    “We can succeed, not just in cricket, but in everything else if we only follow four basic principles: strictly adhere to meritocracy, be willing to work hard, adopt global best practices in training and follow absolute discipline.”

    i think he has ennumerated what we have to do quite wonderfully.

    n i think my last statement wasnt framed properly..
    the ‘we’ should be read as the ‘team’ and not w.r.t the statement abt individuals..

  5. Keetarp Aidonak on

    point taken…

    however, what i meant to imply was that, as always, the initiative needs to be taken by the person concerned.there is no way one can make another person take steps for “kaizen”.

    Can anybody be made to “strictly adhere to meritocracy, be willing to work hard, adopt global best practices in training and follow absolute discipline”?

    If there is a way, how can it be done?

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