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Game – Set – Match

Tennis as a lens for Business Impact

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Growth comes through a variety of ways and means. If we take a good look, we can find references to practically any concept from almost anywhere, that is, if we are looking. Sometimes they seem to appear out of nowhere and those can be the most fun ones to explore. In this article, I am exploring how business can be like a tennis match. To win in tennis, the ‘game-set-match’ must occur. First, you win a game. After winning a few games, you win the set. If you win the correct number of sets before your opponent does, you win the match, which declares you as the winner.

Now, let’s look at how the game-set-match concept positions you as an influencer in your business so that you can impact others.

First – Winning the GAME: the qualities you have that separate you from others.

Second – Winning the SET: the path you take which fuels your qualities.

Third – Winning the MATCH: the connections you build along the way.

The unique element of tennis is the constant back and forth with the ball. So methodical and so specific to where it can land. What makes a winner in tennis is how well the individual plays the game, organizes their sets, and rejoices at the conquering of the match.

GAME – Set – Match

The game represents the qualities we bring to the table daily. These qualities are Gratitude, Attitude, Multitude, and Exactitude. Being grateful for what we have and what we make of our seasons directly impacts what we say and do, which is our attitude. A positive attitude attracts more than a negative one. The more authentic and real we show up with a positive attitude, the deeper our multitude becomes (those whom we impact and influence). Having clarity around our why, our what, and our how creates an exactitude element – people know what they can expect from you.

The quality of our game is the primary predictor of our character.

Game – SET – Match

After wining four to six games in tennis (first one to six wins, unless you go 4-0) you win the set. Having won a set you can determine what the quality of your game is for that day. The set signifies the path we take to spur on our business goals. Our path must include ways to have Sustainability, Expandability, and Trainability.

Without sustainability your business will eventually cease. Sustainability comes through being able to expand your current reality. In tennis, after one set, your opponent will understand how you operate. Creating different moves (in tennis and business) will drive your business forward and will keep people coming back to experience what you have to offer. This expandability comes through training. Learning how to hit the ball with different angles of the racket is like solving problems and meeting needs from various angles. Each opponent you face (each client/potential client you talk with) is unique.

The path we walk is the primary producer of our value.

Game – Set – MATCH

Winning in business means that people who you serve with products and services know, like, and trust you. You have become an influencer and have impacted them in some way to align with you. For your business to be successful, your customer and clients need to be engaged with. The relationships we build are of vital importance. Those connections are how we celebrate taking the match. We must be Marketable, meaning that the value we deliver is something needed. We need to be Approachable so that others can get to know us, which builds the like and trust factor. There must be something Transformable in what we bring. If we cannot better someone’s current reality, our businesses will not survive.

This brings us to the last two elements of the match, being Companionable and Honorable. Ever notice what happens at the end of a tennis match? The two opponents come to the middle, shake hands, and offer words of encouragement and support to each other. Seldom do we see this not happening and when seen, the crowd reacts. The same thing happens in our relationships as we build them. The deeper our level of connection is and the authentic way we connect is what brings results.

The connection we build is the primary producer of our integrity.

(Photo by Tony Duffy)

Tennis is a global sport. It has reaches across all levels of demographics and regions. Much like our businesses. Our impact will be directly contingent on how we are seen by others. The better we are at business, the greater our positive reach becomes, globally.  

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