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Business lessons you can learn from tennis pros

The secrets of success whether on the court or in the business world aren’t as different as you’d think. By P Patel

Practice makes perfect
Athletes don’t win Grand Slams by luck. Behind the scenes there are hours, weeks and years of blood, sweat and tears that make them the masters of their craft. During non-competition phases, players train between 20 to 25 hours a week, and this increases during the time leading up to tournaments. The learning from this is to bring a sense of purpose to your work every day. Treat every day like ‘game day’ and resolve to learn from your mistakes and just get better. And try to master every facet of your job. If your role requires you to present, and you’re not comfortable speaking in public—practise. Mastering a client presentation could be the difference between a signed and blank contract.

Respect your coach
Sports coaches are the stars off court. Without Toni Nadal, there would be no Rafael Nadal. And without Richard Williams, there would be no Serena and Venus Williams. Good business partners, much like a coach, can be mentors, advisors, motivators and role models. Once you’ve found someone good, ask for opinions, bebate and absorb as much information as possible. But while making the most of their contribution, also acknowledge the role they play in your success.

Play to your strengths
Novak Djokovic is famous for his backhand and Andy Roddick for his huge serve. These are the moves that help make them champions. In the business world, it’s no different. Set yourself up to win. Find ways to leverage your strengths and smartly manage your weaknesses. This holds true for businesses as well. Those businesses that activity maintain and improve their strengths do a lot better than those that take them for granted.

Don’t be afraid to change tactics
Tennis, like any game, is also about strategy and keeping your opponent guessing on just where you will send the ball or what stroke you will use. Changing up their game usually works for players and in business that is also needed to stay ahead. If a particular approach has worked in the past but isn’t working now, don’t be rigid. Maybe a newer approach you scoffed at earlier will do the trick. Roger Federer is now famous for the SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger) and it has largely been a hit because he, and then coach Stefan Edberg, weren’t afraid of trying something new.

Work with the best equipment
Elite athletes don’t win gold by hitting balls with broken racquets. They train with the best. The same applies to your business. The right equipment, including the technology infrastructure to perform, can make a massive difference to how your team behaves and performs. Find out what your team needs to get to the next level and help them get there. Whatever industry you are in, there are always bigger and better processes, software, infrastructural advances, HR initiatives, etc that you can use to your advantage. Arm yourself and your team with the best so that you can reach for the sky.

Love what you’re doing
And last, but definitely not the least, you have to love what you are doing. If you don’t feel the love, your clients will know you’re not passionate about your product, service and company. Your passion is what will help you get through all the challenges and disappointments and strive towards success. So be honest with yourself. 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz

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