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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Will Sachin Tendulkar be able to contribute as MP?

In a corporate field, these transitions from one role to another are common: moving from salesman to sales manager, sales manager to Marketing manager, GM Maintenance to GM production or VP Servicing to VP Governance. One of the roadblock required to negotiate such a transition is to adopt new skillset of the new role in a short time-window.

When a person shifts from one role to another, he can contribute to the new role only when he lets go the 'old skill set' and moves into the new skill set. If he is unable to complete this transition, he will continue to function in the old role. For instance sales manager will continue to function as a salesman whenever 'sales challenge' is presented to him by his deputee. For instance, I know of a Sales manager who use to go on the field with his sales officer if the sales officer 'failed' to crack the deal.

This creates a double whammy. On the one hand, the deputees do not learn their skills. Because they do not learn the skills,  their dependency on the sales manager increases which consumes all the time of sales manager. And because of this, the sales manager continues to function as 'highly paid salesman' , solving the problems of his team members one after another. 

Consequently, he does not have the time to learn the new skills to perform the new role of sales manager. He is unable to develop his team to function without him. He is unable to 'espouse' the cause of his sales team with the higher management because he does not spend time in 'garnering top management support'. With all his time spend on 'doing field calls', he is unable to  synergise with his colleagues, say from marketing, to find high leverage actions that will increase the productivity of his sales team. In short, he is unable to transit into the new role of sales manager

Given these challenges in functioning in a new role, will Sachin Tendulkar be able to contribute in the new role of MP? 

Observe what Sachin Tendulkar said when he was asked how he would take time out for Parliament from his busy cricket schedule. He said, 

"I did not go to anyone asking to be a Rajya Sabha member. It is an honour and I accept that with respect. However, I am here because of cricket. I cannot take focus away from cricket because that’s where it all began for me". “I will focus on cricket and as and when I stop playing, I will look at other things and see how I can help,” he added.

Although one can hail the above sentiments, how will this mindset enable Sachin to find time to learn the new skills of being a good Member of Parliament. 

For instance, he will have to learn why and how the different challenges of sportsperson have not been addressed by the 'political system' until now. Has it been due to lack of adequate budget? Has it been due to the mindset that 'sportsman' are elite lot? Or has it been due to lack of support from other MPs? In other words, he has to plan. To plan, he has to get into the 'muck' of the action, identify what needs to be done, and what he can do ( given his constraints of time?). But all this 'understanding' itself will demand lot of time, effort and attention. And this is just the first step. 

Only after he plans his actions, he will then have to spend even 'more time' in ensuring that the parliament takes some action on his plans. This requires another set of skills: skill to bring the issues on the table, muster the support of other MPs to ensure that his issue is not put under the table, and above all use 'public and social' media to garner the necessary support to keep the issue 'hot enough. Of course, he can take help from others in doing all this, but he still has to 'spearhead' the efforts? 

Given the mindset of Sachin Tendulkar, it is upto you to judge, if he can really find the time to learn the necessary skills to take all the above actions to make his contribution as MP. Will Sachin be able to transfer his 'single-minded' devotion from cricket to the new role and tasks of MP for the time being? Although Sachin's image and record will boost the expectations of sportsman in the country, will his good intentions alone be enough to produce the desired result in the system which , everyone recognises, is a herculean task?

Given this big challenge of performing in the new role, do you honestly believe that Sachin Tendulkar will be able to find time to contribute in the new role of MP? And if Sachin is unable to perform in the new role, should we blame our unrealistic expectations or Sachin Tendulkar? 

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