Friday, July 17, 2015

Game.Set. Match. Business lessons from Wimbledon

Photo courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti

Wimbledon is a special place for me.  It’s not just about the tennis, but I went to high school, lived and got married there.  

So the fact that my recent visit back to the UK just so happened to coincide with Wimbledon tennis, made the trip even more special.

In the past I have written about the business lessons to be gleaned from Wimbledon and this year, was no exception. 

Being loud doesn’t win you fans
My main observation this year was that more and more players are grunting their way through their game.  To the point where, frankly it became irritating and a real turn off.

Maria Sharapova, in particular, makes a noise that is reportedly over 100 decibels.  In the UK papers, viewers were saying that they put the sound on mute, so they could watch the game in peace. Not a bad idea.

One tennis player observed that the grunting distracted the opponent too, drowning out the sound of the ball, so it was impossible to judge the spin and timing.

From a business perspective, I am sure many of us can think of unhappy clients who shout and complain loudly about whatever irks them, but does that work?  I suspect not.  Just as in the tennis world, it certainly doesn’t win you any fans.

Expect the unexpected
Fortunately there wasn’t much rain this year, but when it did come, the play had to stop and for some players the interruption took them off their stride, as they waited for the roof to go up.  But as John McEnroe observed, that’s part of the game and you have to deal with it.

Just as in business, there are bound to be curve balls that come your way, and it is how prepared and ready you are to deal with them, that is key.

How you lose says much about you
As in any sport, there are winners and losers and how you accept your losses says a lot about you.  In particular I am thinking of Roger Federer.  He is such a class act.  Always professional, always the gentleman.  We could all learn from him.

David vs. Goliath
On a positive note, it was lovely to see some new and young players get through to the quarter and semi finals, especially a Canadian.  These newbies have nothing to lose, and so play some of their best tennis against the icons of the tennis world.

Likewise, as small business owners we can compete with the big guys and not let ourselves be intimidated. We have a right to be in the game, and who knows, we could just win.

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