Acquiring Resilience

Yesterday’s Australian Open tennis final featured two players who had collectively won 9 majors.

The tale of the tape: Murray missed crucial opportunities in the first set tiebreaker at 4-2 to close out the set before bouncing back in the second set and building a 2-0 lead in the third set. In a dramatic few minutes the momentum swung sharply as Andy Murray’s resilience to Novak Djokovic’s consistent pressure forced a raft of errors. In the words of veteran tennis commentator, Pat Cash, Murray had a “meltdown, he gave up the fight”.

The subsequent media focus zeroed in on Murray’s collapse. That is how the media and many in business love to react. Find blame (individual), amplify the anguish (headlines), and confuse the “effects” (lack of resilience) with the “cause” (inability to convert and build momentum) because it is more visceral (suffering) and makes a better story.

How many times do you make or allow others to make the very same error when analysing defeat in a competitive tender, failing to convert a “hot” prospect into a client or establish your firm’s presence in a “hot” new market?

How YOU handle the disappointments, is the real learning curve.

  1. Do you beat yourselves up about your failure? (your shortcomings, your fees, your methodology)
  2. Do you seek to caste blame on others? (colleagues’ skills or priorities or the prospect’s people)?
  3. Do you look at what you “omitted” to do well? (Specifically, the trigger behind why you didn’t get on the plane to visit the client, the time wasted between meetings perfecting the presentation, the lack of client “trust” with your proposed approach)?

If your focus is solely on improvement (3) and you do it well, you will “win” more than you “lose”. If your attention is on the first two (taking defeat personally or deflecting it), you are setting yourselves up for repeat failure. You control your future success. You control the level of resilience within your team and your own performance. It is YOUR choice, don’t let others distract you from your goal for a cheap headline.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.


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