Game, set and match

It is the beginning of July and this week, we are in the midst of that iconic summer sporting event, Wimbledon; conjuring up images of sporting icons, crisp tennis whites, grass courts and strawberries and cream.

In tennis, you are not competing against the clock or your personal best. On the day, your game is only as good as your ability to react to the opponent across the net. You cannot decide what order of shots you will use before the match starts; you simply have to stay focused in the moment and respond to the shots your opponent plays you.

It takes talent, skill, years of training, hard work, early mornings and determination to become a champion at tennis, while at the same time possessing the drive to succeed and continuously improve.  These qualities are, unsurprisingly, not dissimilar to many of those required to run a successful business.

‘New Balls Please’.  Do they make a difference and can they provide a competitive advantage?

Yes, if introduced at the right time.  New balls are bouncier and move much quicker off any striking surface. When used for the most powerful stroke, the first serve, they give the greatest advantage, as they travel faster than an older ball, which should make them harder to return.

However, this gain in speed comes at a cost. The benefit is counteracted by reduced accuracy.

The hair on a new tennis ball tends to be smoothed flat, while a ball that’s been knocked around a bit will be fluffy (we all can relate).

Should the first serve go astray, the player will use the older fluffier ball for their second serve. Although these move slower, they are easier to control so the player is less likely to concede a double fault. As the match progresses, by continuing to introduce new balls at predetermined stages, both old and new complement each other and give a player a competitive advantage.

The same can apply to a thriving business. Continuing to bring in fresh experience and talent to complement your existing management and bringing on board new skills at the appropriate time, can help your organisation gain a competitive advantage, playing against the elite….on your ‘Centre Court’.