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What consulting firms can learn from Roger Federer

What consulting firms can learn from Roger Federer

Roger Federer is one of the most adored and respected tennis players of all time. He is the most consistent player on any surface and holds the record for winning the most major tournaments. Here is what consulting firms can learn from “The Maestro”:




Put Your Strengths to Work

He has the most amazing backhand motion of any player I have seen. His stamina, agility and mental toughness helped him hold the #1 world ranking for a record breaking 302 weeks and reach #3 in the world this year at age 34.

Evaluate your strengths as an organization and focus on them. Determine the industries and type of clients you can best serve to add significant value to their operations and help them be the best they can be.


Stay Humble, Stay Honest

Roger is incredibly humble and is always calm and focused. He always maintains his composure. He is humble when he wins and accepts defeat with grace when he loses. Contrast that with the poor sportsmanship of John McEnroe back in the day and a few of the other players on the professional tour today.

Listen to your clients and become a true partner and trusted advisor. Earn their respect through proven ability and business prowess rather than boasting about your expertise. If you make a mistake, be honest about it and then fix it. Make sure your client gets the credit for all improvements you jointly achieve.


Dress to Impress

He dresses for success on and off the court. You will always see him in a blazer before and after a match. Bottom line: he is very classy guy.

Share your business attire tips and tricks with everyone in your firm. Also check with your client on the appropriate attire for your team when you are onsite.


Branding is Everything

He is a tennis icon with unbelievable branding (his own and Nike), yet he comes across to the public as 100% genuine.

Develop a solid plan to promote your business to your target market. Create a brand that is a strong reflection of your work and company values. Your branding should assist, not hinder, your ability to speak to your work.


Give Back

Roger gives back. In 2003, he established the Roger Federer Foundation to help 270,000 disadvantaged African children, advocating for their access to education and sports. He has also done fun things like hosting a cancer patient at the all England club (Wimbledon) on her 18th birthday.

Provide opportunities for your employees to do community service individually as well as with teams. Look for organizations that can benefit from pro-bono work and help them be more successful. Develop a matching program to support your employees’ donations.


Continually Seek and Develop Expertise

The man knows not one, not two, but seven languages. He speaks English, German, French, Italian, Swiss German, Swedish and Spanish.

Hire people who speak the “different languages of business”. Hire people with deep industry and technical experience. Continue to grow and develop that expertise to keep up to date on emerging industry trends to stay competitive.


Promote Work-Life Balance

He balances tennis with his family life. He is a loving father of two sets of twins. I wonder what they will do for their first sport.

Focus on work-life balance and get input from your employees on things you can do to help them thrive in a role that requires extensive travel.


Be Strategic

He is a tennis genius. His serves are strategically placed and he beats his opponents based on intelligence rather than aggressiveness and power. Check out his stats, they speak for themselves.

Do your best, do it well and then share it. Publish case studies that demonstrate how you help organizations generate more revenue, reduce costs and transform thinking.


When Challenges Arise, Stay Positive

Roger is confident and always believes he can win no matter what the score is. In his career, he has come back to win ten matches in major tournaments after being down two sets to love.

Work can be very unpredictable and challenging. It’s easy to have lots of energy and excitement when everything is going to plan, but it’s during the tougher times that the best consultants and team leaders stay positive and keep believing they will succeed.


Work Smart

Unlike most tennis players (no matter the skill level), Roger has been able to stay physically healthy for the vast majority of his career. In fact, he holds the record for playing in the most consecutive major tournaments. He competed in 65 tournaments straight-just over 16 consecutive years without missing one of the four major tournaments due to injury or illness! He has stayed injury-free by training intelligently and surrounding himself with the best and most knowledgeable coaches and trainers.

Understand what helps you get things done in the most effective and efficient manner. Educate yourself and your team on best practices for completing your work without spending excessive time and energy. It’s not how hard you work, but how smart you work.


Accept that You Can't Control Everything

Roger is able to stay composed and concentrated by only focusing on the things he can control. You will never see him complain about the weather conditions or his opponent’s antics. He keeps a laser-like focus and applies all his energy on his strategy and game-plan.

Focus on the work streams that you have control over. Don’t build stress over the things you cannot have an impact on. Practice emotional acceptance and recognize that you can only have total control over your own actions and thoughts.


Have A Plan

He is known for “doing his homework” before every match. Even if he doesn’t know who his next opponent is, he will use all of his resources to find out the player’s style and weaknesses to develop the perfect game plan. He never takes a match for granted, which is one of the many reasons why he is rarely upset by a weaker player.

Create well-thought-out and detailed work plans for successfully completing your projects. Leverage your resources and turn them into strengths. Clearly define your assumptions and understand your dependencies to best avoid surprises down the road.


Roger Federer is a true champion and will always remain one in our mind. Long live the King!

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