PMI Bangalore Chapter


PM Essence

               Lessons from a Carrom Board Game

– Sumukha Rao

We like to play and play hard, be it at work, business or at home.


Carrom is a “strike and pocket” table game of Eastern origin similar to billiards and table shuffleboard. The objective of play is to use a striker disk with a flick of the finger to make contact with and move lighter object disks called carrom men / pawns, which are thus propelled into one of four corner pockets. The aim of the game is to pot (or pocket) one’s nine-carrom pawn and the Queen before your opponent. It is a very popular game in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and surrounding areas.


Carrom is a tad different and can be played as an individualistic game where you compete with other three people playing around you or can be configured to be a team of two players playing with the rest two. In short, it can be an individual or a team game.


Well, I am not here to talk about the games that we play but what I have observed and understood from it.


The Carrom Board – Playing field


A Carrom board is a level playing field that gives equal opportunities to the players to achieve the goal. The field is generally finite with boundaries and set targets.


In business, we have market share and size that determines the goal and regions, which provides the boundaries to work within. Once you know what you want to play, you also need to know where and how to play to be more effective.


I am a firm believer that god sent us all with equal brains not keeping colour, sex and religion. The way we condition it to work for our benefit is the path we choose.


The Red Pawn / Queen – Goal


To achieve anything in life, you need a goal. In Carrom, the goal is in middle of all the pawns. You may clear all the other pawns before clearing the red / queen or can clear the red / queen earlier if you have the clarity and the path. That means to say that to achieve the goal, you need to have clarity before embarking on a journey to achieve the end result.


You may have many distractions or walls to climb, but you will be able to scale the heights only when you have a goal, the path to take and the dogged determination to achieve.


Striker – Idea


You may have a goal but you should have your ideas to achieve it. In today’s fast paced and high networking world, people tend to pick someone else’s idea and run with it but are they achieving their goals? The striker in your hand is what you use to strike and not others.


You are the idea and idea is you. You will have people around you, who agree, contribute to your idea and be a part of success.


Pawns – SMART Goals


You need to clear the pawns on the board, however you can also use them to distract others and create a barricade against your competition. The pawns I generally call are SMART goals that allow you to measure your path to success. To achieve a larger goal that may be currently distant from you, you need to be able to see the progress and these pawns / SMART goals allow you to measure.


You cannot eat the entire plate of food all at once. You need to eat it one spoon at a time. SMART goals allow you to slice, create smaller chunks and measure the progress.


Red Spots and the lines – SOWT Analysis


There are boundaries and set guidelines in any game. You need to play within the limits. However, there is some space to manoeuvre you moves. Understand that every move you make is maybe to your advantage or your competition’s. Taking a measured approach is always better and SWOT analysis gives you the pointers for your Do’s and Don’ts. Being prepared is always better than reckless driving.


Opponents – Competition


Don’t underestimate your competition. You may be good today but they will come back better tomorrow. You may have a weakest player against you but the moves you make determine the outcomes. While you maybe only one playing against him, he may have a good backing behind him cheering him to win.


Understanding and respecting the competition is important. Learn from them.


Powder on the Board – Team


On a carrom board, the powder plays a very critical role. It makes the journey of the striker which is on its way to hit the pawns or the red / queen smooth. A team is very important, a team that believes in your idea, the organizational goal and willing to put themselves behind you to ensure success.


The better powder / team you have, the better and faster the results would be.


Direction Indicators – Directions


There are direction indicators on the board suggesting you the paths to take. These are guiding principles. While some deviations are allowed, it is important that you follow the rules and regulations of the land. Also be ethical and maintain trust with employees, customers and ecosystem around you.


Integrity with personal credibility is most important to run right business.


The Game


Finally, being passionate and enjoying the game is important or else you will lose the steam to continue your pursuit to achieve your goals and the success at end.