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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

3/29/2007

The Demise of "World-Class" Standards part 2

The report reproduced in part 1 was instructive, and gave some important clues as to why an emphasis on standards, even "World-Class" standards, is insufficient for companies.

Clearly the hosting of the Cricket World Cup is a BIG DEAL, and the various organizing committees have told the public over and over that this could not be business as usual, and that the event would have to be organized along World Class standards.

I think that the problem began when the organizers committed an error in assuming that what is World-Class is always better.

However, if there is one lesson to be learned from the empty stadia for Caribbean companies it is this: World-Class standards are meant to produce a particular experience for First World people. It is an experience that First World people desire, and often pay a premium to have.

However, World-Class standards do not necessarily produce an experience that Third World people enjoy, and this, I think, is what is at the heart of the reason why St. Kitts was forced to gave away so many tickets to school children in order to help fill the stadium.

Essentially, the organizers neglected to ask themselves what it would take to create a particular experience for Caribbean people. I believe that they assumed that we would appreciate the World-Class standards all by themselves, and be happy with them.

Well, they were wrong. From the very beginning, the experience of the ICC Cricket World Cup across the region has been that:
  • we had very little say in the "runnings"
  • ticket prices would prevent the average citizen and cricket fan from attending
  • the same prices meant that the crowd would be more upscale, less experienced in the game, and therefore quite different
  • tickets were hard to get, ordering was complicated, some tickets could only be bought as part of 2-match deals and the information on getting them was scarce and often blatantly incorrect
  • we were restricted from doing the things we always do to enjoy cricket matches -- eating what we want, wearing what we want, playing music the way we want, etc.
  • they were trying to "change Caribbean culture" according to Stephen Price, the tournament's commercial director
The organization seems to have left a little something behind on the floor of the planning room.

Yet, this oversight is not unusual -- many companies do the same with their over-focus on standards, and lack of focus on the customer experience, and here in the region, it gets them in all sorts of trouble.

For the ICC Cricket World Cup, there is a small window of time to get things right, and to reverse the customer experience that currently exists. Hopefully, someone will take the opportunity.

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2 Comments:

  • I am connecting to this along a couple of different lines here. Given that my formative years were spent in JA, I can relate to the atmosphere that would exist at cricket mathces or other sporting events and other things that make JA the unique place that it is. Conversely I was`educated here in the US so I look at the business setting with a different pair of eyes. I can't say that I would do things differently if I was part of the organizing committee despite that fact that there appears to be a lack of the local touch that makes the Caribbean what I remember it to be. But now I am wondering, does this mean more foreign involvement in JA or the Caribbean for that matter will result in an erosion of culture?

    By Blogger Mushtaq, at 3/31/2007  

  • Mushtaq,

    Good question -- I don't think it means an erosion of culture, unless the company fails to understand that cultural differences are important to understand.

    By Blogger fwade, at 4/12/2007  

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