Even if you don’t follow tennis that much, the recent Women’s Semi-Final at Wimbledon was not only enthralling but also offered some interesting insights.
The semi-finalists were Serena Williams from the USA and Maria Sharapova from Russia, seeded 1 and 2 respectively. They had played each other 20 previous times and Sharapova had won only two of these. Most importantly, those wins were over 11 years ago, in 2004.
So here was Maria’s opportunity to win Wimbledon by beating Serena. However, the game was over in two sets as Serena dispatched Maria as if she was seeded in the low thirties.…..but why? Because Maria just played the same way as she always did, and therefore she lost. She had no new game plan to deal with Serena’s fast serve or hard ground shots. And she will continue to lose to Serena if she keeps doing the same thing over and over again.
As Albert Einstein reportedly said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
It is the same with our life and job challenges. For example, the way we deal with our clients. We all have a certain manner and disposition when we discuss things and have what has been come to known as a “shtick”.
We get so fixed on doing the same things in the same way because it suits us and it’s comfortable. Then we wonder why we keep getting the same results. It’s what we do and we have always been doing it that way. But if the usual way isn’t working it can get in the way of our winning.
But if we are listening and in tune with our customer at meetings, we will be able to sense when our normal approach isn’t working. What we need to do is change the approach and not just continue in the same way we always have.
Sometimes we need to think about being like a chameleon. I’m not suggesting we change who we are or what we stand for, but be more adaptable to the scenery and different circumstances and, in particular, the mood of the person we are talking too.
Things change so quickly in our modern and digital world that we need to be in tune with them and adapt as required, just as quickly. Sport can provide a great lesson in life and in business, which is why we probably use so many sports expressions such as ”stepping up to the plate.”
We need to stay in tune and listen to what our customer is saying and align ourselves to their needs and wants, which sometimes may mean changing ours. If we don’t, someone else will.
Have you caught yourself doing the same thing when circumstances start slipping away? Have you got ways to adjust?