“Lagaan” in Hindi means tax and it is an epic movie about people of a fictional village called Champaner who were challenged by the British establishment to a game of cricket. The challenge was that if the locals of Champaner win the game they would get a tax wavier for 3 years else they had to pay 3 times their tax.
Interesting to note is that the game of cricket was played by the British and the villagers had no access to the game or the equipment required and hence the challenge to this game. One of the younger Indians from the village, “Bhuvan”, accepts the challenge, learns the game and puts a team together in three months and wins the game which helped the entire province avoid the increase in tax.
This movie was released quite a long time ago, but I watched it again today and I learnt few interesting aspects which could help professionally. Hence, I thought of drafting my learnings from Laagan.
Professional learnings from Lagaan :
- Take bigger risks if it is for the larger good
If the risks have a larger reward for many then accept it. The risks may be big but if understood well, explained and planned properly then many would join to support and it benefits all. In the movie the team understood the risk, worked hard and overcame the challenges at the end.
- Take a stand and trust yourself
In the movie the locals were against accepting the challenge initially but Bhuvan felt the challenge was worth taking and stood firm even when he had to face criticism from a section of the villagers. He had trust that he could pull it off.
- Move forward with confidence
Bhuvan had very little or no understanding of cricket but after accepting challenge a lady from British camp trained him and his team. Even professionally taking the step forward is important. I have always seen that when you take a step forward there will be some force, individuals or situations which could be hitherto unknown that will help you.
- Learn, practice and get small yet quick wins
Larger challenges need dedicated focus and flawless execution. So if you have accepted any task make sure you practice hard, plan well and drive few quick wins. Quick wins give you the confidence and motivation to run towards your goal.
- Play the game with full devotion not just to make money or fame
Money is critical but it is important you put honest effort. Everything in life is not driven by logic. There is some magic and such magic is driven through honesty and humbleness.
- Engage and motivate
Don’t just teach but engage and motivate your team and the best way to drive the team towards the goal is to do it with joy. In the movie Bhuvan motivates his team by converting their weakness into strengthens and gets them to put their best. Once a team member is engaged then they are self-motivated and passionately motivate others too.
- Trust your team
- Though a novice, “Bhuvan” as the leader knew what type of skills are required for each department of the game (for eg: the person who has skill of catching hen is good for fielding while someone who is physically challenged to deliver spin bowling).
- Leader’s key job is to analyse the situation, understand skills required to address the situation and place right people in the right place to maximize skill and value of the individual while delivering good value to the organization and customer.
Gut : Unconventional moves to change momentum
- At a time they were unable to control the opponent, Bhuvan as a leader tried unconventional move by bring in a weak player to bowl and it worked. Being disruptive and unconventional is critical to help change the momentum
- For a good leader, laurels and criticism are a part of the same coin. They work for common good but if they fail and fall they will stand up again and run.
- Clear direction and team confidence on the direction
Clear direction helps build team confidence and help them perform effectively. To provide clear direction, leaders need to have good command on business, understanding of external environment and align the team based on their strength, aspiration and outcome they can deliver.
- Play sensibly, enjoy the moment and have fun
In the movie though there was pressure the players enjoyed the process of learning the game, enjoyed the evening, sang songs / danced etc. So life tests us along the way, however, it is important we have fun and enjoy what we do which will help us manage the pressure.