Underdogs: Step Up

In a professional career, we are often put in situations that are far too challenging for us to cope up with. Our skills and experiences are nowhere near enough for coping up with situations. These are exactly the times for us to grow up and be noticed on global stages. When everyone and everything around you fails, it gives underdogs the opportunity to showcase to the world what they are made of and create new legends! Let me tell you a story you possibly already know.

The year was 2002, I was in the UK first hand experiencing an Indian cricket team’s tour of England named “Indian Summer” by British media. The tour started with a one-day tri-series between India, Sri Lanka, and England. After a few boring group matches came the final between England and India. India was expected to win the match easily but England batted first and put up above par score of ~325 at more than 6 runs an over. In 2002, anything beyond 300 was considered an absolutely winning score. 

At the halftime mark, no one gave India a chance. During the Indian batting, Sehwag and Ganguly scored 100 odd runs quickly in less than 15 overs to make us believe India could win. Then followed the familiar collapse. India lost 5 wickets including those of Ganguly, Sehwag, Tendulkar, and Dravid for 30 odd runs in the next 10 overs. We all lost hope, switched off our TVs, and got back to our work. But it was not done yet, a young wiry player from Kanpur called Mohammed Kaif was at the crease with Yuvraj Singh. 

At that time Kaif was known more for his fielding than his batting. Kaif steered the innings to victory with composure and self-confidence far beyond his experience. This was also the match when Ganguly went shirtless on the Balcony of Lord’s. I remember one instance of the match vividly. Yuvraj Singh was hitting boundaries for fun and Kaif was more measured and was rotating the strike with singles. At one point Kaif played a couple of dot balls. Yuvraj as a senior player came up the crease animated and told Kaif to just tap the ball and take a single. Kaif sent the next ball for Six as if to tell Yuvraj and the world that he is in the team as a batsman due to his talent and no one can treat him like a “junior”. 

Do watch the highlights here. That win ensured Kaif’s place in the Indian ODI team at least for 2-3 years to follow. 

The irony is that Kaif would have never gotten a chance to do such heroic stuff if top-order Indian batsmen would have done their job in that match to take us closer to victory. We remember Kaif because more celebrated batsmen failed so miserably, giving almost a Mission Impossible to a young inexperienced lower-order batsman. The reason why Kaif is such a hero is that odds were stacked against him so much.

Coming back to Bizom – I have seen many such challenging situations. Important feature releases and deadlines in R&D, important closures and go-lives in sales, enterprise onboarding in CCD, audits in finance, events in marketing, and so on. There are times when our more experienced heroes are not able to contribute due to some or other issues. Every time such a thing happens, more often than not, we have had a “Kaif” (in other words – a young rookie) standing up to make the team win and thus birthing a new hero at Bizom.

A large reason for that, I would say, is the way we operate. We believe in making entrepreneurial hires. Fundamentally, these are people who come in and hit the ground running. They’re capable of taking charge of their responsibilities from day one and go above and beyond their role descriptions without the need for handholding or constant reminders. (To know more on what exactly we look for at Bizom, I think this job posting that I had written does justice)

We also believe in challenging our people, especially our youngsters, with tasks that professionals with their experience wouldn’t normally get an opportunity to work on. What this essentially does, is that it propels the rate at which these young professionals learn, and at the same time teaches them how to handle such situations with ease as they go further in their careers.

Not to mention, it also prepares them for leadership positions earlier in their careers. Case in point? Many of the leaders at Bizom, such as Debayan Das, Shalaka Kothawle, and Noman Waghu (to name a few) are some of our very young leaders.

Part of growing up in a career and stepping up in a team is to take every such crisis as an opportunity to showcase your talents and skills to the world and make your team win! Will you take the next opportunity?

Lots of love,

Lalit

12th Oct 2021

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