With Sachin Tendulkar, one of cricket’s outstanding players retiring millions will miss an endearing figure that gave the world joy and a reason to love a game.
I have followed the game closely for many years and learnt immensely from Sachin’s engagement on and off the field. Here are a few that I believe communicators can benefit from.
Sincerity: Every communicator would love to be part of a campaign that lasts the test of time. However, without authenticity your message doesn’t count. Sachin’s long innings (24 years, 100 centuries, 34,000+ runs) is proof of how staying committed and passionate can bear fruit. The message he has shared through his life and game has been that credibility comes when you believe in yourself and it radiates outwards. As a player he gave is best and so also when he captained the team. What mattered was the final outcome of the match and how he took the team along. By acknowledging his wife as the person with whom he had the best partnership even when he spend years on the field with his team showed the person’s sincerity. Likewise, as communicators we need to be convinced our storyline and be inclusive to sustain our long term goals.
Adaptability: The grace and power with which he struck the ball, his ability to reinvent his batting to suit newer formats of the game, trying his arm at bowling when needed and giving the space to youngsters when they needed it. He gave up his captainship to focus on what he does well – be a team player who wins matches; helped him adapt and enhance his strength. Those are qualities are of a person who knows how to stay centered and yet extend his impact. I can see how this can become a strength for communicators.
Consistency: The stance, the rhythm of taking guard at the stumps, the copybook strokes, his stability as a player – all added to him being known as a consistent performer, match after match. Yes, there were some bad matches but his averages after 200 matches clearly separate him from the boys. This is the reason why a ton of brands had him as their ambassador. Time after time, he continued to do what he does best – play and be his best; at home and on the field. Endearing himself to his fans and becoming a better professional every day. Likewise, when your communication appear credible, clear and direct there are more chances that your audiences will believe in the messages.
Hunger: There are many sports personalities who go the extra mile but very few who have the hunger for high performance like Sachin did. That hunger to keep scoring runs for his country, the drive to get the team through a difficult situation and the power to overcome dilemmas as the sport evolved over the years. For a communicator – keeping track of trends shaping the business and function, staying abreast of changes and expectations at work and constantly learning new ways of engagement are ways to get stronger as a professional.
Inspirational: Sachin has never been known for eloquent speeches. However, his farewell speech went down as one of the best the sports fraternity has provided ever in India, if not overseas. Overwhelmed by emotion Sachin demonstrated why his humility and down to earth attitude got him this far. He not only dedicated the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award to his mother but also extended it to all mothers who sacrificed to allow their children to have better lives. That is truly inspirational. How often have we considered if our communications inspired our staff? Maybe, we can begin by adding it as a measure of success.
Natural: A lot has been said about his style of batting and while he is surely gifted it also had a lot to do with his ability to stand grounded. He kept things simple and focused on the essentials that made him the greatest batsman the world has ever seen. Sachin ‘s speech also points to his gratitude to his family, his support team, his coach and his team. He proudly admitted that there was no greater honor than to represent the country and all his wishes were met by simply playing for the nation. In communications also, there is nothing better than getting the basics right and then seeing how everything else falls in place. The ability to focus on the audience and keeping communications simple and direct can go a long way in making messages stick.
Sachin showed us how. Sitting glued in front of the television sets while he batted seemed like time well spent!