7 business and life lessons we can draw from Roger Federer’s #20grandslamwin

I’ve done a quick survey around the office and the streets at home, and guess what? I can honestly say I can’t find anyone who doesn’t love Roger Federer (or who isn’t pleased he just won the Australian Open last weekend). Can the Swiss tennis maestro do no wrong?

Federer’s probably the best known sportsman in the world right now. He’s just won three of the five last grand slams aged 36, which contradicts those who assume he should be too old, too slow, or simply past it. No way!

Who knows what has led to the incredible renaissance of this elite superstar? If we wind the (Swiss) clock back a little, Federer had a four year drought up until last January (2017), where he didn’t win one major at all… zero, nada, niente.

Well, this got me thinking… What can we learn from the great man’s rebirth over the past twelve months, and can these learnings have a place in the office and our lives generally?

Working in the ‘people business’ – I am an executive recruitment consultant, and a communications coach, trainer and facilitator – I’m constantly observing behaviours. Here are my observations on Roger Federer:

  1. Federer has a rock solid self-belief system. Experts say sport is played 70% above the neck. Federer’s self-talk must be awesomely positive. What do you say to yourself about yourself at work?
  2. Maintaining fitness (and winning) at 36 years of age in international sport is a massive achievement. Mentally and physically Federer works so hard. I’m told the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. What do you need to be doing more of in your life?
  3. Federer surrounds himself with family and has a great team to train and support him. We can’t do it all by ourselves. Who have you chosen to be on your team, in your inner circle, both at work and socially?
  4. Even with #20grandslamwins, Federer still has a coach (Ivan Ljubicic). Why? He never stops learning. You could seek out a couple of wise heads to act as your business mentors or engage professional coaches.
  5. Be Smart. Federer won’t be playing every ATP tournament anymore. His body just can’t handle it. Are you making smart choices when prioritising the time you spend with clients, colleagues, family and friends?
  6. Plan B. You must have one. Federer could have crashed out after Cilic steamrolled him in the fourth set. But no, he switched it around with a better serve and a few different shots to win the fifth set. Last year against Nadal he was down a service break. Again he had to switch things around. Have you got a Plan B (or C) for when something important isn’t working for you? Think “change it up”.
  7. In post-match interviews Federer joked with commentator Jim Courier and enjoyed a laugh with comedian Will Ferrell. He said when he’s having fun, he plays better. Allowing yourself some light stress relief can enable you to keep winning – try that in the office. “Keep it classy” though!

Yes, Federer reminded me that the little things done well, done often, can get you there in the final set. As for the other big question, why does everyone love him so much? You will have to help me to explain that one (I bet he stole a block of chocolate when he was ten, but no one’s fessing up back in Switzerland)!

What have you seen when you were watching Roger Federer play? How can you apply your observations to the world @work?

Laurie Serafini

Laurie has an extensive business background, having spent over 25 years in sales and marketing. His consultative approach in recruitment is to truly understand each client’s brief; and then apply Slade Executive Recruitment's proven methodology and in-house research department to map the appropriate candidate market. This helps him arrive at a creative ‘people capital’ solution, finding quality talented candidates. Laurie’s background in leisure and elite sport gives him a strong affinity with his chosen sector.

Laurie Serafini
Senior Consultant
Commerce, Entertainment & Sport
Slade Executive Recruitment
Level 7, 15 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9235 5100
lserafini@sladegroup.com.au
sladegroup.com.au

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work
4 comments on “7 business and life lessons we can draw from Roger Federer’s #20grandslamwin
  1. Gabrielle Reilly says:

    Great piece Laurie. You aced it!

  2. Thanks Gabrielle, Federer is a world champion and there’s certainly learning there for us in business about mindset, approach, and execution of plans and strategy. Federer is doing all of this every week, just like we need to!

  3. Ross Clennett says:

    Very good article, Laurie. You nailed it, those seven points are spot on.

    PS congratulations on the many positive mentions you score in Paul Roos’s recent book. Clearly you (and other Fitzroy players) made a big impression on the young Roos in his early Lions career with your attitude to training, commitment to the team, never taking the easy option and always improving. Great stuff.

    • Thanks Ross, definitely some good business and sport lessons to learn from Roger Federer. As for Paul Roos, yes he’s a good friend from the old footy days – you know I taught him everything he knows!

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