Three key World Cup and Wimbledon tennis lessons

What a difference a day or two makes in sport, politics and business.

Last week I wrote a blog on expertise and the concept of flow on the eve of England’s semi-final against Croatia.

Sadly England came up short and they lost. The euphoria that was gripping the nation similar vanished overnight alongside the anticipated upsurge in beer and food sales.

I also wrote about tennis stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal heading seamlessly towards the final when in fact neither made it despite heroic attempts in the quarter finals (for Roger) and semi finals (for Rafael).

Sports unpredictably mirrors the worlds of business and politics, where you can never be certain of the outcome, no matter how knowledgable and informed you might be.

However, both the tennis and the football provided three invaluable lessons for us all to takeaway and apply to our own professional lives.

Review and learn from your mistakes and weaknesses

Gareth Southgate and his England squad will have banked their experiences from this world cup so they can withdraw them in two years time should they make the Euro 20 finals. As a group, they will analyse their mistakes and try to improve areas where they perceived themselves as being weak.

Similarly in business, it is always useful to review and preview your PR and marketing to ensure you can plug weaknesses and learn from your experiences.

What activity works and can be developed further?

What doesn’t and needs to be rethought or reinvented?

How can you keep things fresh and exciting?

Experience really counts and should never be ignored

Sport is a young person’s game apparently – except when it comes to winning tennis grand slams.

Remarkably when thirty one year old Novak Djokovic competed in the semi-finals, he was the youngest player. Nadal, Isner and Anderson were all in their early thirties too.

Younger players German Alexander Zverev, Austrian Thiem and Australian Nick Kyrgios are finding it really tough to break through, not through lack of effort or skill but simply because the top four or five players operate at a higher level and are still extremely motivated as they chase more slams and more records.

Experience counts when you’re devising and implementing PR and marketing strategies because you know what is likely to produce results and what won’t give you a good return on your investment.

And you know the PR banana skins to avoid.

My most recent favourite PR gaffe is Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci’s 10-day tenure as the shortest-serving White House communications director in history. Incredibly for a PR person, Donald Trump’s appointment had forgotten (or never known) to repeat the phrase “off the record” during an expletive-ridden rant about his colleagues in the White House.

Funny as it is from my point of view, it is an easy mistake for people to make if they are not used to how the media works.

Experts make a difference – use them when you need them

Although you’re watching individuals compete on the centre court at Wimbledon, behind each player is a team of coaches, fitness trainers, nutritionists, psychologists and other experts who all contribute to the ensuring their charge has the greatest chance of success when they step onto the grass, clay or hard court. The players know they cannot win by themselves and invest appropriately.

Similarly businesses and professionals need to buy in expertise as and when they need it to ensure they optimise their opportunities to communicate clearly and concisely with the people they want to reach.

This not only includes hiring specialists but also experts who are able to protect manage PR and marketing activities. After all, most businesses are SMEs and don’t need full time marketing departments but periodically want to access a wide range of experts.