“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1
The lyrics of the 2019 Trinidad & Tobago road march “Famalay”, though frenetic, harbour the message which we are sending today – ‘family’ unity is paramount to sustainable success.
Successful growth and sustainability may be expedited by a structured approach irrespective of whether we are addressing a region, a country, a political party, a business, a sport, an extended family, a nuclear family or Cricket West Indies (CWI).
In the context of CWI, the decisions made by the new administration are being immediately communicated through our modern social media environment with diverse responses from its stakeholders. CWI and its stakeholders may well reflect that a house divided cannot stand.
Even though CWI is an ongoing operation rather than a startup and must take immediate action on some matters, it is recommended that the classical business process should be implemented in parallel.
There are five elements to this process.
First, bring the family together (men and women). Select an expert facilitator to synthesize the views of stakeholders, representing board members, management and support services, administrators, governments, sponsors, journalists, public relations and media relations specialists, cricketing legends, current players, coaches, umpires, curators, high-performance centre specialists, the University of the West Indies and cricket supporters (including the Diaspora). The administration ought to facilitate a rational debate of the issues arising from the cross section of views, and rationalize the vision of the organization. As the Japanese say: ‘Everyone has a brain’.
Second, we must agree on a Mission statement as the beacon that lights up our path going forward. The existing Mission statement should be reviewed in the face of the visioning dialogue and a revised Mission statement may emerge. It will clearly elucidate what business we are in, and what goods and services we provide to customers in each geographic domain.
Third, we must sincerely conduct an internal assessment and nurture and develop those elements that are under our control. These would include (1) governance to ensure that all stakeholders are fairly networked into the CWI family concept; (2) government and primary corporate sponsors partnering to provide the finance to secure the financial foundation of CWI; (3) a marketing system which gives life to CWI by increasing business, TV rights, merchandising, ticket sales and attracting other sponsors; (4) discipline, productivity, efficiency and competitiveness to bring success to our teams and profit growth to the organization; and (5) develop the high-performance centre to improve mindset change, skill set change and cross-cultural communication and sustainability.
Fourth, we must be aware of our external environment (political, social, economic, market potential, legal and technology) and be ready to face these components which are not under our control.
Fifth, we must establish a rolling three-year strategic plan out of which will emerge a first-year action plan. This plan will be diligently monitored on a monthly basis with corrective action taken when targets are not met. This keeps the family on target and on a rolling sustainable path.
A business approach that embraces the concept – ‘a family that comes together stays together’ – has not been adopted by the new CWI administration and its stakeholders despite much advice which has been offered. Growing egos, fiery tongues, precipitous decision-making, perceived ‘I scratch your back you scratch mine’ arrangements, and reckless dismissals of contracted staff leading to a string of lawsuits, have been the order of the day.
I had hoped that, instead, more mature reflection would have prevailed, by building on the strengths; strengthening the weaknesses; taking advantage of the opportunities, and avoiding the threats which were inherited from previous administrations.
Even at this stage, notwithstanding their rash behavior, it would be wise for the new administration to follow a structured business approach starting with the mounting of a strategic visioning session, with representatives from all stakeholders, develop the three-year strategic plan, and then execute a modified first-year plan based on the strategic inputs.