In Part 1, we discovered that Racquetball has some fascinating parallels with being an effective CEO. Being aware of your surroundings, keeping your goals in mind, being flexible, and minimizing wasted motion all relate to both the attitude of a smart racquetball player and a savvy CEO. Below are four more parallels that you can apply to yourself as head of your company:
- Versatility Be open to revising procedures to meet new circumstances. Every move of a seasoned racquetball player is not unique. Some are merely old moves that have been tweaked to accomplish something new. In your business, whenever possible, repurpose and re-use. If one product or procedure can be adjusted slightly to fill another purpose, you have saved the cost of creating something entirely new. Versatility gives you an edge.
- Anticipate the moves of others. Second guessing your opponent is a learned skill. As you watch how your opponent operates, you will be able to see which moves are predictable. Picking up on repeated patterns allows you to anticipate the next move. This is true for both racquetball and business.
- Aim your ricochets to have the best results. A racquetball player has to constantly redirect the ball. This involves meeting the ball with the racquet, adjusting the angle of the racquet so that the ball ricochets in an advantageous direction, and hitting it hard enough to accomplish that goal. All this must occur within split seconds. As CEO, you have to react to the situations that come at you. A wild or haphazard swing can be disastrous in racquetball; a knee-jerk decision can do the same for a company. You may have to react quickly, but when you react, make it count for your company’s benefit.
- Keep repositioning yourself. A smart racquetball player immediately returns to the center court after hitting the ball. Commanding the center of the court prevents the opponent from taking over that prime piece of real estate. By being at the center, the player also puts himself in the best position to meet the next challenge—from whichever direction it happens to come. If he allows himself to be crowded into a corner or pressed up against the wall, he loses the advantage of space. Without enough room to swing the racquet, he might miss the next volley. By maneuvering your company back to the best possible position after each major decision or challenge, you ensure that you will be able to respond proactively to whatever comes next.
Whether you play racquetball or not, the mindset of a great racquetball player has a lot to offer you as the owner or CEO of your company. By honestly evaluating yourself and applying the above approaches to your position, you can correct any weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths, making your business more resilient and stronger than ever.