Sunday, April 17, 2011

West Indies Cricket and Performance Management

A key feature in modern human resource management practice is performance management systems. This simply means that contemporary scientific managerial constructs are now conventionally accepted methods for assessing efficacy of human resources and forms the basis of modern industry. In its most basic form performance management systems facilitate continuous and dynamic assessments of human resources and trigger a number of solutions that can be utilised by management to ensure that the maximum efficiency of its human resources is realized.
I am happy to see that finally the West Indies Cricket Board is beginning to embrace performance management systems in dealing with its players. If used correctly, this can result in greater benefits to Caribbean cricket.
The objectives of the Board must be clear and must be agreed upon by all parties concerned. Failure to reach the stated objectives must result in consequences for those found liable. Likewise, achieving or over achieving objectives also produce significant benefits and rewards that will affect positively all involved.
Cricket has evolved significantly as a sport since its conception in the 16th Century. Talent alone is unacceptable on any modern cricket pitch. Today cricketers are far more methodological, astute and technically correct. Cricket has a plethora of new rules especially in its shorter forms that players need to think through and adapt thus enabling them to function effectively to win games. Therefore, a lot of preparation, training and strategizing need to be done by any team before heading into a particular match or series.
 Professional cricketers cannot afford to go to matches and perform constantly in an ad hoc, hit or miss manner and expect to be retained in any squad. The reason a team is formed is for that unit to work together at achieving a common goal. In the West Indies case, I would assume that goal is winning matches. So while many have argued strongly against the exclusion of certain players with ‘experience’, I do not see why such measures should be frowned upon. For too long West Indies cricket has been in a sporadic mode. One could never know what to expect from the team in a game of glorious uncertainty. For too long the uncertainty of West Indies cricket has been inglorious. West Indian supporters at some point must be honest with themselves and demand more from their players.
I began by very briefly touching on performance management system and would like to end by highlighting that while performance related compensation is arguably one of the most discussed elements of the system, training and development plays a very important role. Should the West Indies Board fully embrace the use of performance management systems, they will surely recognise that the training and development of players is immediately required and must be continuous. The WI Board must significantly work to raise the level of regional cricket if it wants to field a team of competent players. Mediocre domestic competitions cannot produce good players. Not when they have to face other players at the international level who live on a diet of serious professional domestic cricket all year round.
The management, coach and players of the West Indies team must ensure that discipline and professionalism are the hallmarks of the team. Training and development in the areas of technical and managerial competencies must be an ongoing process for all players. These strategies will ultimately make better players and better captains.
No longer can we expect one or two batsmen or bowlers to save the day. The team must function comprehensively as a unit, learn to win and win matches. I wish the WI Board and the team every success as they embark on yet another cricketing journey. I also hope that while the WI cricketing institution provides training and development for players that players themselves assess their strengths and weaknesses and engage in various forms of personal development.
If a player is dropped, then that player must be briefed clearly and comprehensively about why he has been dropped. He must be shown the steps that must be taken to ensure performance improvement leading to selection at a later time. The West Indies Cricket Board must continue to move cricket from being an amateur pastime to a professional sport.