Does the Cricket World Cup help inspire the intrusion of the sporting spirit into corporate conduct?
It's been a few days since the nation recovered from its state of blue frenzy.
After 'ODing' on a feast of ODIs over the last few weeks, the pleasant dream that we had all fallen into has been rudely awakened by the imminence of that dreaded four letter word - work.
The cricketing virus is now truly in the managerial bloodstream. Over the next few weeks, don't be surprised if you come across a whole range of new interventions in office life. These represent not-so-subtle ways in which the World Cup has begun to influence our behaviour at work.
These, like the exploits of Dhoni and his men, are surely worth taking note of.
Meeting Power Plays
Many a times your best laid plans are hit for a 'slap in the face six' by the people on the other side of the table. They incessantly ask questions, pose problems, probe for pitfalls in conceptualisation and needlessly inquire about costs, feasibility and things like that...those spoilsports! But, help is at hand with Meeting Power Plays.
At strategic moments in meetings, when you feel the opposition unnecessarily increase, signal for a Meeting Power Play. This enables you to cast aside the entire resistant lot, to a distant corner. If that spot so happens to be really far away from the room in which the meeting is taking place, tough luck on them. You can graciously welcome them to listen in, but human hearing does let one down at over 23 feet, especially if you astutely decide to close the door after they depart.
Then use those few odd precious minutes to decisively swing the session your way, by walking all over the meek few that remain.
Beware though; the same trick can be pulled on you, when the next meeting comes around.
Performance Appraisal UDRS
Perhaps you think your boss is the cultivated, objective sort, who won't let personal bias and snap judgments come in the way of your appraisal. If that's the case, do write to me after it is done, I love reading emotional drama.
However, chances are you might be among the larger majority, who feel an appraisal is about as fair as a typical media trial on an issue they haven't even begun to understand. Appraisals usually entail frustration, disgust and creative distortions of the truth; and that's just what you go through, when filling out the appraisal form.
Many employees would then exult at the Performance Appraisal UDRS; in this case, expanded to Unfair Decision Revoking System.
So, the next time your boss cites why that promotion or increment is dodging you by, insist on video and audio evidence of your shortcomings. In case he retorts, that this system will only be installed from the next year, triumphantly cite the benefit of doubt as the reason for you moving up the ladder. You have a year to scoot, before he begins to seriously start doubting the benefits of that decision.
Inane Factor Analysis
Factor Analysis used to be a perfectly respectable tool; usually employed to isolate significant reasons which initiated the occurrence of an event. But, the manner in which broadcasters have covered the World Cup, has completely redefined what qualifies as contributing criteria.
This has manifested in obscure correlations like finding a causal link between the shade of a female star's lipstick and the belligerent mood of a batsman. Or the extrapolation that a temporary dip in the Sensex, led to a sudden rush of Indian wickets. Even the dropping of a crucial catch by a fielder is explained away by the sudden appearance of a lot of inauspicious heavenly bodies in the sky - that not just looked down rather severely on the poor fellow, but also obstructed his vision. I possibly exaggerated a touch of some of these, but then sticking to reality is only advisable when the doctor sternly inquires about your blood sugar levels.
It's time to introduce Inane Factor Analysis in the business process. This could start with the conducting of a pitch report like study on the conference room table where the meeting is going to be held. Here, one could liberally evaluate several absurd parameters. From the teak factor of the table and its proposal bouncing capability, to its chill shielding attribute that prevents people from making too frequent rest room visits. One could then move on to things like the strike rates of the participants involved - basically what proportion of the meetings that they attend are they emerging successfully from, and so on.
Perhaps this might occur to your boss as being a tad strange. But, feel free to generously throw in the word 'strategy', in every third sentence of your explanation and you should be fine. Anyway, post your appraisal and promotion, it's much better to limit conversation with him and weird behavior certainly helps immensely in that venture.
Campaign Spill Over
The World Cup really assumed the center stage in public conversations, due to some very interesting campaigns aired over the last several weeks. But, literally transposing these campaigns in the day-to-day rituals at the office might have some unintended consequences.
For example, linking hands and hollering 'we won't give it back', is, perhaps, not such a good idea when the boss asks where he misplaced the car keys of his brand new Porsche. Sending across performance statistics of team members, portraying them as heroes (gladiators even) just before that key meeting, might also represent a bit of overkill. Hyping every single meeting between client and agency from the perspective of who will come out on top this time, is probably a recipe for difficult times in the making.
In the end, there is such a thin line between 'mauka' and 'mock ya'.
One of the sadder, more despicable, utterly unforgivable side shows of this World Cup was the manner in which Anushka Sharma was unfairly criticised and trolled for Virat Kohli's performance in the semi-final.
This was unquestionably bad behavior and a terrible example all around.
But, just as bad news spreads fastest, bosses in various organisations are beginning to fear people might take things beyond the cricketing pitch. That poor annual company performances, bad management and terrible results might cause employees to get personal with their better halves.
This is, perhaps, the reason why suddenly all family photos seem to be disappearing from CEO tables these days. Social media profiles are also being updated to show those in power with essentially non-human company books, cars, cell phones, gym equipment and sometimes, particularly tasteless relatives.
All in all, care is being taken to ensure a bad day in the real world, does not become an excuse for 'Band Baaja Baaraat' on the virtual one.
Eventually, the World Cup was a festival which did bring us many reasons to celebrate. It is only natural then that a hangover of sorts makes itself apparent at the workplace. As employees try to infuse the adrenaline rush of cricket in their daily lives, it would be interesting to see how stiff white collar types also begin to bleed blue.
(Vinay Kanchan is an independent brand ideation consultant and a trainer in the art of creative thinking. He is the author of 'Lessons from the Playground' and 'The Madness Starts at 9')