Stop Dribbling, Pass the Ball, Man!

It is very early in the day, just 5.20 am and I am putting together what I have to say during the presentation at IITD after the basket ball video.

The 2 minute basket ball clip is a terrific demonstration of team spirit and passing the ball to score. There is a role for everyone in the team, they get to express themselves through their game. The power of the one is replaced by the power of oneness. The power of oneness is greater than the sum of the parts of the individual parts. There is an invisible energy that comes into play.

But the fact is, all around us, we see demonstration of people playing solo and dribbling the ball. And the consequences are disastrous and very sad, most often. They need to pass the ball.

We keep the ball to ourselves at home. At times we think that we as men have the right to be pampered. We forget that sharing and giving is what passing the ball is all about. We keep possession of the ball and refuse to part with the ball. Pass the ball man, because even love is more a recipe than a matter of nebulous feelings – just as team work is a matter of certain disciplines.

Managing and leadership is all about passing the ball. Yet, in organizations after organizations managers ride rough-shod over their team members who are used as mere tools to promote and glorify themselves. They shamelessly take credit for what the team members have done. People are manipulated. Very sincere and honest workers feel cheated in the process. In the US alone, the Gallup poll has concluded, the loss caused by unhappy workforce is in the region of 380 billion dollars. Pass the ball, leaders and managers, allow your members to bloom by allowing them to create in their own way.

Do not dribble with the ball with your self, dear manager, thinking the ball is not safe with others in your team.  Remember your team members are not your children, they are your peers. Do not tell them your answers all the time. Let them discover things for themselves and let them grow. Only if they grow, will your team grow. So, pass the ball. Let them know the feel of the ball, learn how to dribble a bit and then pass it on to others. So that they take you closer to your goals.

Pass the ball because, business is not a battle field, but an eco-system. It is not a battle field where you send your “troops” out into the world to conquer your territory of customers. Pass the ball because everyone and everything is so much inter-connected – your team members, the marketing, accounts & operations teams, the customers, your vendors and the community at large.

Pass the ball, dear leaders because it does not make sense to crow about how you care for your employees through various HR initiatives while at the same time holding more than 7 lacs of the payment due to your vendor because your accounts department is slow or want time to fill some more forms. Pass the ball because, if you starve the vendor of yours, his service will deteriorate and it will do you no good. Don’t please pass the buck, pass the ball, man!

Pass the ball, dear politicians. You do not have any vision for our country. So, all you do is grapple for the ball and hold it with your respective parties. You become rich and powerful. You hold we the people powerless and poor so that you can keep dribbling the ball. Pass the ball, the ball does not belong to you.

Pass the ball, because we are all so much inter-connected. Every mental event has a neural co-relate and hence, even as I speak to you or write to you, there is a dance between your mind and mine and there are neural connections being established. Our minds are entangled, dear friend, we need each other, so please pass the ball.

The trees outside are extension of our lungs. We need them to breathe and to hold the soil from being washed away. The earth, the trees, the animal and insect world are all part of our teams. So, dear citizens, please do not  plunder the earth and its resources for your selfish needs. Pass the ball, otherwise, your children will inherit a lesser world.

Yet, we all do the same thing – dribble, dribble, dribble…… We pass the buck for the ills of the world to others in the world. Yet the most profound fact about bringing about a positive change is by being the change we want to see, as Gandhi said. We have to understand from our guts that the story is about the people we are given to serve and not about us. Once we realize that, we will learn to operate more from the space of oneness than the narrow confines of the one.

That will be the true beginning of all true teamwork. And then the discipline to stick to the disciplines.

Rise up in the morning, do your work inside and shine. Rise together, play together and pass the ball to win – so that the shining, golden glow of the rising or setting sun is a witness to all your efforts.

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