Book Review : Mind The Gap by Simon Taufel

A gift made to our very own Arun Rao by Simon Taufel himself, this book has passed many hands in our team. It speaks about types of behaviour, qualities, and practices which an individual, a team, and an organisation can benefit from.
Personally, I like stories with real life examples and this book offers that in abundance. As I read through the various chapters, I felt as if I was reading the qualities that are foundation stones for FocusU. My favourite chapter was about the 7 traits that all successful teams have in common and they are as follows –

Inclusivity 

Inclusivity is seen almost everywhere in cricket. Simon mentions how he learnt a lot from different people and the umpires during his umpiring days.With more than 350 matches to his name – he has worked alongside a host of umpires. With a diverse range of nationality, religion, age, gender, and other such factors . He talks about how while travelling with a team, he would ensure that even the smallest of things were taken care of like everyone’s preferred cuisine, time preferences, and the likes of it.
He even went out of his way to include the entire team in both pre- and post- match meetings to set the right expectations. taking everyone along in pre-match and post-match meetings to set the right expectations for each match. Thus, being inclusive is not just about setting the expectations from the team members but also about making the environment safe for all to exist in the team.

Egalitarianism

With the dictionary defining it as “the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities,” Simon has laid a lot of emphasis on the importance of the same. During his cross country travels across the Indian subcontinent, Simon could not help but notice how often, umpires there would take a back seat and leave most problem solving decisions on him.
The culture of treating someone  as “Senior” and leaving everything upto them is very divisive and Simon suggested a few key insights on how to resolve the same.
As far as the FocusU team is concerned, I could draw the following parities –
  • We all are equal; We wear the same logo and are part of same team
  • If you see something that feels off, you should always speak up
  • If you see someone doing something that doesn’t sit well with our values, you should let that person know
  • Instead of waiting for orders from other people, one should  know their role better and take action accordingly.
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Know Your Role

When a player, umpire, or any match official is selected – they are briefed about their roles and responsibilities. They are taken through different segments of games and possible scenarios are explained. These include tackling different situations and problems, as well.
In any given match, there are 4 umpires. Two are on-field umpires, one is the third umpire who’s role is to see the replays and give the decision and then there is the fourth umpire whose role is to Verify and maintain the right conditions. These include checking if there is enough light, replacing the balls, pitch and ground maintenance, etc.
These roles being clearly defined, there is no need  to be reminded again and again to ensure the safe execution of the match. The same logic can be applied to each person’s role in any organisation.

Trust

Trust is the single most important factor that can lead to the success of every single project. So, how do you earn trust? Trust in the team can be earned by completing and fulfilling your commitments. Every relation ship grows stronger with each small action of trust – whether personal or professional.
Fulfilling your duties diligently is one of the ways in which to earn the trust of everyone.

“Team-First” Attitude

 With a collective aim of inspiring we before me, it is indeed one of the most distinctive values of FocusU.  Simon talks about how even though everyone works for their individual growth, it should never be achieved at the cost of team’s growth or interest.
One needs to be a team player if they want to see the team grow. Even in a cricket match, each player might be playing for their personal aspirations but the main goal is always the team victory!

Collective Team Values and Norms

The values of an organisation play a pivotal role in the success of a project. The organisational values not just hold the team together but also make it stronger. Also, once the team sits together and agrees on thier set of values it’s the responsibility of the team members to live them every day.
Simon also shared the ICC PCT Code for Umpires across teams –

The ICC PCT Code for Umpire

  •  LEADERSHIP
  • ACCOUNTABILITY
  • ENJOYMENT
  • PRIDE
  •  RESPECT
  • TRUST
  • INTEGRITY
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What’s amazing to me is that all this just forms ONE CHAPTER of this wonderful book! I urge all of you to pick it up and give it a read.

Imagine this is one of the chapter. Do pick this book and I am sure you will love it.

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