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 The Demise of "World-Class" Standards  

By Francis Wade



Clearly the hosting of the Cricket World Cup is a big deal and the various organizing committees have told the Caribbean 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 preventing 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.


Francis Wade is a writer and management consultant based in Kingston, Jamaica. His passion is the transformation of Caribbean workplaces, economies and society. He blogs at Chronicles From a Caribbean Cubicle.


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