Back Yourself

The Oval Test of August 1882 was the Test that spawned the now fabled Ashes contest. The performance of Fred “The Demon” Spofforth was one for the ages, although the age of Test Cricket between Australia and the Poms was only five years old at the time. He backed himself and his Team to beat the Poms lead by the irrepressible Dr WG Grace and they did.

The Oval Test of 2019, where Australia  lost the “unlosable”, has been araldited into history by arguably the greatest innings, most certainly one of them at the very least, ever played by Ben Stokes. He will probably get “knighted” by HRH Elizabeth II within minutes of his retirement for that knock and Jack Leach will get an OBE for his momentous one run, I digress. “Sir” Ben backed himself and his batting partner to beat the Aussies and they did.

The Poms were stoked (yes, pun intended) when young Ben controlled the Duke ball and managed his batting partner Jack Leach. He was very patient (three runs off the first 70 deliveries he faced), he managed the Opposition’s competitive attack, applying his skills and taking the pressure off of his batting partner the sweating bespeckled Leach who faced just 19 deliveries in the day’s play. I suspect he and Leach drew on the support of their customers, err, supporters and come the end of the day, drew on the appreciation of their production techniques by their Opposition’s customers/supporters.

You need to back yourself in managing a business. You surround yourself with skilled people and draw on their expertise to help you manage the business. The expertise can be in production, sales, marketing, product development, the law and of course the most important of all….Accounting.

You need supporting information for your decisions, using appropriate KPIs, knowledge that accounting is up to date, reconciliations completed and issues addressed, correct allocations made, contracts made, processes put in place, sales prospects information, WHS responsibilities adhered to, statutory obligations met, how long can you make the list.

Running a business is not dissimilar to managing an Innings in Cricket, batting or bowling. When you bat you need practised skills, you need patience, you need to know when to leave the ball outside “off”, when to defend your patch (the stumps) and when to hit the ball and then you hit it hard and with purpose and preferably on the ground to give your Opposition no chance of catching you out. You need to call clearly and decisively with your business partners (suppliers, staff, customers, advisers) to negate the risk of getting run out (of business) by your Opposition.

As the bowler, you need to play to your Opposition’s weaknesses, don’t supply him/her with opportunity to take you out of the attack. You need to use the conditions to your advantage, keep the ball in good shape (preferably round) with a nice shine. You need to set the field and bowl to your strengths. You need your staff to support you on the field, moving in and out with you and be always on the look-out for opportunities to take out the Opposition.

You need to back your judgement utilising all your skills, the skills of those you have surrounding and supporting you. There will be times when you don’t succeed, learn from those times, plan better, budget better, play better and smarter not harder.

Stokes broke the Opposition and then took advantage of the situation putting runs on the board, literally, once he knew he had defeated his competitors and he backed his ability. He didn’t try and build his innings in “5 minutes”. He sized up his Opposition, met them head on, respected them and then wore them down and basically single-handedly broke them and then aggressively dismantled them, forcing errors and creating history with his performance. He backed himself and his batting partner Leach, applying his competitive advantage judiciously.

Over Bowled

The Cricket Tragic Accountant