7 lessons for entrepreneurs from Steve Smith

Steve Smith is the recently sacked captain of the world champion Australian cricket team.

He’s also the top ranked Test batsman in the world.

Smith was fired after admitting to asking one of his players, Cameron Bancroft, to tamper with the ball, which is tantamount to cheating.

World reaction to his behaviour has been scathing. Like a tsunami.

It almost seems a little over-the-top.

What are the lessons an entrepreneur can take from this?

  1. Do the right thing, always.

Discussing ways to cheat with your colleagues over lunch is not the right thing. Asking the junior player in your team to cheat on behalf of the team is not the right thing. Cheating is not the right thing.

  1. The cameras are watching.

There’s no getting away with anything nowadays. Facebook, cellphone cameras, Daily Maverick, someone out there is always paying attention.

And the evidence will soon be on the internet where you will be judged by the court of public opinion.

  1. Don’t underestimate the crowd’s reaction to your mistake.

Smith called a press conference after his player was bust on camera rubbing sandpaper on the ball, then hiding the paper in his underpants.

He admitted to the crime, apologised, stated that he’s learned from his actions and won’t do it again. Incident over, let’s move on.

He clearly had zero understanding of how massive the admission would be perceived by the public, otherwise perhaps he would have been a bit more careful in his press conference.

  1. Don’t implicate other people.

Steve had no choice but to share blame with Bancroft, but he did not have to say that the “leadership group” concocted the plan to cheat.

All that did was cast a pall over all the senior players in the team.

If you’re going to take one for the team, take it alone.

Don’t drag them down with you into the fires of hell.

  1. Don’t lie.

If Smith has lied (for instance, if the coach was aware of the cheating), then it’s game over for his career.

Coming clean for cheating is admirable, unless you tell a lie again.

  1. Always be professional.

The media is now re-hashing every other interview where Australian players acted childishly or criticized other teams for cheating, piling on the embarrassment.

You never know when the light will be shone on you.

Always behave professionally, which includes not pointing fingers a others.

  1. Don’t be arrogant.

The starting point of the tsunami of righteous anger being hurled at the Australian cricket team is that they have had a culture of arrogance for many years.

Other professionals and fans have been treated with disrespect and insolence, whilst the Australians have carried themselves with a holier-than-though attitude, as the self-appointed carriers of the spirit of cricket.

That’s all good and well, until you stumble.

Then it’s not just about justice. It’s about taking you down a notch.

Smith and his team have been arrogant, and now they will pay a higher price than necessary for rubbing sandpaper on a cricket ball.


Also published on Medium.