“Do you reckon we have a chance this year?”

“Absolutely! We’ve got a really strong side, which is balanced throughout, and I’m hoping that we can lift the trophy this season,” I replied.

A little conversation cropped up on the bus, while our Rajasthan Royals’ management team was on our way to a private adventure resort in Lonavala, for a three-day team-building offsite over the second weekend of March 2021. With just four weeks to go for the season to get underway, you would imagine the franchise would be hard-pressed to get things sorted, but the focus here was on an additional, key factor that could determine how the Royals fare this season – teamwork!

An itinerary, along a set of COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, was floated a couple of days prior to everyone arriving in Lonavala. A first in many ways, the sole purpose of the offsite was to make sure the team's vision was irrevocably aligned, and that there were enough opportunities for every member to put forth their grievances in a way which would enable the 'team' to find decisive, unambiguous solutions before the start of the upcoming IPL season.

It is no secret that in order for a team's purpose to be potent, it needs to be compelling to its members, and compelling it was when the offsite started on the first day with an introductory session at lunch time. With as many as eight new members on the team who had been recruited recently, and other members meeting each other after a year’s gap due to the pandemic, it was an activity that enabled each member to get a fair idea of the who's who, and also reconnect on a personal level.

From traveling together in a military truck, getting changed into army uniforms, to receiving training in counter terrorism, self-defense and real-life + jungle survival, the first day was full of high voltage activities which really instilled in our group a sense of togetherness and team spirit.

This group of young, bright and enthusiastic individuals then addressed our respective phobias the next day, but again - as a unit. Trying out adventures like rope challenge, rappelling, paintball, riding an ATV, swoop swing and rocket ejector, while some also finding the time to play with dogs and horses. To wrap up the evening at dinner, our 30-odd member squad squeezed into what we would like to call 'the biggest dinner table ever'.

The final day is what really defines the Royals' mindset - 'Supporting Each Other To The Top' - as the team embarked on an early morning trek to a nearby hilltop, guiding, motivating and looking out for each other, while also making sure that their own steps were falling at the right place.

At the hilltop, a pleasant breakfast ensued, where the members had a fun time reflecting on the past couple of days, and discussed their key takeaways. The afternoon saw the team’s Chairman Ranjit Barthakur conduct a heart-to-heart session which aimed at providing clarity of thought and redressal of grievances to many individuals in the team, post which everyone either relaxed by the pool or played a match of cricket before reluctantly leaving for their respective homes.

“When you are in a team environment, it is important for individuals to be cognizant of various situations, and consequently make decisions where the focus is on your team. We need to be conscious of all members equally contributing to conversations, respecting each other’s opinions and emotions, and then equally contributing in achieving the team’s objectives. The key here is to communicate more clearly, effectively and efficiently,” said Mr. Barthakur.

“It is also important for individuals and teams to draw inspiration in their daily lives from the smallest of incidents, things or situations, and if you can do that, you can do wonders because you have the will,” he added.

COO Jake Lush McCrum, who was at the heart of proceedings during the offsite, concluded with a side note that placed emphasis on how a truly cohesive unit that functions with a single purpose, can accomplish wonders. “Traditionally, people across industries are always more focused on individual goals, but the fact of the matter is that if we want to achieve the organization’s goals, then we need to align ourselves to work together towards fulfilling a bigger purpose and vision, and that is what we have tried to accomplish here. For us, the most important aspect is to transform the Indian society through cricket, and we can only do that if we're all working as a team, and not individually.”

“We also understand the ever-evolving dynamics of a team, and even with today’s teams being more scattered, digital and heterogeneous, the challenges and their solutions still remain the same. Our success depends on a core set of fundamentals which make a good team, and we are very mindful of that here at the Royals.”

~ Devansh Singhania, Communications Consultant