Productivity

Game, set, match: Business lessons from tennis

Jessica Rowe
Culture Journalist

Jessica Rowe is a Melbourne-based writer with a passion for not-for-profits, the digital world and making a difference

Jessica Rowe
Culture Journalist

Jessica Rowe is a Melbourne-based writer with a passion for not-for-profits, the digital world and making a difference

Consistent training, determination and mental fortitude. Here’s what your business can learn from centre court.

Tennis champions aren’t stars over night. It takes years of training, hard work, early mornings and sheer determination – all while possessing an attitude to succeed and better themselves. Qualities that aren’t dissimilar to running a successful business.

So in celebration of Australian Open 2016, we’ve served up some business lessons to help your organisation become a winner. 

A close up shot of two tennis racquets with a pile of tennis balls

The right equipment

Elite athletes don’t win gold by wearing old sneakers or hitting balls with broken racquets. They train with the best. The same applies with thriving businesses. The right equipment, including the technology infrastructure to perform, can make a massive difference to how your team behaves and performs.

Swapping office chairs for stand up desks, the right monitor at the right height, or switching desktops for laptops (industry and professions dependant) could change how your team plays the game.

A slow internet connection can also prevent businesses from doing their thing. From video conferencing to data sharing, a day’s work could end up being a week’s work with the wrong connection. If it’s available in your area, NBN can also give your business that competitive advantage. 

For a mobile workforce, the right mobile solutions can make all the difference. Equipping them with smartphones and connected tablets can help boost collaboration and ensure deadlines are met. 

Practise makes perfect

Athletes don’t win Grand Slams by luck. Behind the scenes there are hours, weeks and years of blood, sweat and tears to become masters of their craft.

During non-competition phases, players train between 20-25 hours a week, which increases leading up to tournaments. The same theory should be applied to business.

If your job requires you to present, and you’re not comfortable in public speaking: practice. Practice in front of your colleagues, your team or even in front of mirror. Mastering a client presentation could be the difference between a signed and blank contract. 

Respecting your coach

Sports coaches are the stars off court – without them there would be no tennis heroes. Good business partners, much like a coach, can be mentors, advisors, motivators, facilitators, demonstrators and role models. We need them.

Your partner doesn’t need to be your best friend. You don’t need to socialise after working hours. However, respecting your partners and their experience, will improve how you work. Listen to their feedback, ask for opinions and absorb as much information from them as possible. 

Play to your strengths

Roger Federer’s famous for the SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger) and Novak Djokovic is famous for his backhand: they’re the moves that contribute to making them champions. In the business world, it’s no different.

Set yourself up to win. If your skills lie in customer service, ask to be customer facing, not behind the scenes in head office. If your skills and passion is found in data, ask to work on more strategic projects.

The more you exercise your business muscles, the stronger and more match fit you’ll be.   

Bouncing back

We can’t all be winners. Some of our most favourite tennis players have missed out on winning. What separates them is their ability to get back up. A never-give-up attitude is the difference between a player and a champion.

If you miss out on winning a pitch or you lose a client, find out why. Make it a time to learn and grow. Steve Jobs was originally fired from Apple and Richard Branson has had 14 Virgin companies fail – but neither let failure prevent them from pursuing their passions and becoming some of the world’s most iconic business leaders.  

Workforces are constantly evolving, and keeping up with trends can keep your business relevant.

Read about how Decentralising Small Business is changing how we work.

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