What is wrong with the Australian cricket team?

Couple of days ago, it was announced that 4 players are sacked and would not be considered for the 3rd test against India. The reason given was that they did not complete an assignment given by the coach. At the surface, it looks like a discipline problem and the strong message sent by Clarke and the coach would fix it.

However, I have different opinion on what might have happened in the team. My opinions are based on 5 Dysfunctions of a Team written by Patrick Lencioni. I had earlier written about it in the context of an agile team – http://bigfatbooksinapage.com/2012/05/20/managing-agile-team-dynamics/


I will repeat the dysfunctions briefly here –

  • Lack Results
  • Lack of Accountability
  • Lack of Commitment
  • Fear of Conflict
  • Lack of Trust

Everyone easily notices the lack of results. In case of Australian team, the drubbing they received from a weak( my opinion) Indian team triggered action from coach.

The coach asked the team to take time off and come up with a presentation on how the team can do better. Four members of the team decided not to work on their powerpoint skills and were sacked. Now, the reason given from management is that they were sacked for indiscipline. That, it is not one instance. That,there are many instance of team members not filling up a daily health form and these particular 4 members were just unlucky that their indiscipline broke the management’s patience.

Why did the team members choose not to create a presentation? Were they committed to the idea? Did they feel it was a waste of time?If they felt it was a waste of time, why didn’t they speak up during the team meetings? Did they fear conflict? What made them feel that they could not express their opinions openly?

My thought is that the answer lies in the second process that has come to light. The process of filling up a daily “health” form? I can’t think of a single good reason why I would have to fill up a form daily? What can change everyday?

I am sure several members were fed up of this process.

But, why did the management come up with process in the first place? I believe, there must have been a single instance when a player did not inform the management about his injury and led to disaster in one Test(Maybe Ashes?!? Someone can research and let me know). The management lost trust in the team. Instead of reprimanding that one player, the management thought about bringing in a process that would eliminate the possibility.

The team members must have brought it up in a meeting and aggressively overruled by the management. This would have made the team hold back their opinions. One thing led to another and finally, management got fed up of the perceived indiscipline.

A good team would have intense team meetings where all things could be discussed. A team where  daily “health” form would be unnecessary since everyone is confident that if a player is not feeling well, he would walk up to the coach/therapist and inform them of the niggles. A team where presentation would be unnecessary as each person knows that his opinions would be valued in a team meeting. A good 2-3 hour meeting where everyone expresses their opinion would have been great.

So, my conclusion is that the team will not do well unless some of the management is changed. Somehow, the they need to work on developing trust and removing these unnecessary processes.

What do you think?


Filed under Business book summary, Management Book Summary

3 Responses to What is wrong with the Australian cricket team?

  1. Correct!! You cannot replace trust and values with processes!
    Something we see very much happening in our IT industry!

  2. Amal kumar

    Looks like all they required was a 2hr retrospective, but ended up creating a PPT for top mgmt.
    I am still not sure, why the coach required a PPT, a simple brainstorming with the team would have worked.

  3. Pingback: What changed in the Australian cricket team? | Management Concepts & Book Summaries

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