IPL teams build a bond in 2 months. How do they do it?

Bopana Nanjapa

Bopana Nanjapa

Regional Head - South

A group of diverse individuals are selected to deliver a project in 3 months. The team members will come on board only 2 months prior to the final delivery date, which will not move. The goal of the project is simple – Deliver results. Sounds familiar? This could be a scenario in any corporate setting. It is also one that plays itself out year after year, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 championship. The coaches and the captains of the teams have a challenge in their hands. They need to nurture a bond between the players when everyone is aware that it is only going to last for 2 months. How do they do it? Here are our thoughts:

Take away distractions

The IPL has been rightly termed a mela (exhibition) by some. There are Bollywood movie stars involved, there is partying, sponsors, crowds and the endless travel right across the country for 2 months for the entire team. It is easy to get distracted from the task at hand. The foremost step, therefore, is to cut away all distractions and retain the focus on the end goal – to win the trophy. In the corporate world too, there will be numerous stakeholders requesting for time and effort from team members. The team will need to prioritize and act accordingly. It is amazing how a group of people united by a single goal, bond spectacularly.

Unity in diversity

IPL teams have players from every part of the country as well as a host of international players – this results in a communication nightmare for coaches. Because of this, the first set of drills coaches will always run are designed to break down these natural barriers (formed by seniority, origin etc).Next, importance is given to grouping each skill set together (openers in batting, all-rounders, wicket keepers, fast bowlers, spin bowlers, etc.) and ensuring they spend time exchanging views with each other is a good way to bring in a connection between teammates. In a corporate world, there are unique skill sets that each person brings in. Unifying members with similar sets of skills is an easy way to bring people together. Having a common topic to talk with each other about breaks down barriers. It leads the way towards other topics of mutual interest. Building that trust is essential. It is this trust in each other makes the difference between winning and losing, especially in crunch moments.

Bring in the experts 

IPL teams have experts for every facet of the game. There are separate coaches for batting, bowling, and fielding. There is a team mentor, video analyst, physio, masseur and so many more support staff. These experts ensure that the planning for every match is spot on and bring in a culture of professionalism in the team. They work closely with the players and bond with them. They form a bridge between differing personalities from various cultures. For your high-profile projects, skilled experts guiding the team help immeasurably in connecting teammates.

Celebrate successes together

Bonding happens over a few hours spent together, celebrating the good times when they arrive. Simply celebrating wins together gives everyone in the team a sense of belonging. Sitting together over a drink helps too in a purely rudimentary form of team building.

Team building activities

Our favorite – activities that are tailored to break down barriers and foster in a winning environment. We have partnered with several cricket teams in the past, such as Indian Blind Cricket team and Kolkata Knight Riders to create bonding within the teams. IPL teams have their own team building activities, custom-made towards building a tie between teammates. Is team building and employee engagement part of your project plan? They should be.

How do you think IPL teams succeed in bringing diverse nationalities, cultures together in a protracted amount of time? Also, what are the lessons that we can learn from IPL and successfully implement in the corporate world? Do share your thoughts!