Learning from Andy Murray

Watching Andy Murray’s astonishing recovery from two sets down at Wimbledon this week suggests there is much we can learn from him. If we remember his performances from a number of years ago, we can see a huge transformation both in skills and physical condition. These are some things to think about:

Responding to adversity
Murray clearly had a hard time in the first two sets of his quarter-final. However, he dug deep and found a way back, taking on the challenge he faced. We’ve got to be able to do that when driving change in Purchasing, because we’ll face just as many knock-backs as Murray did.

Preparing thoroughly
Andy Murray has changed his strength, endurance and body to be a better player. Watching him today, compared to four years ago, we can see huge improvements in the way he performs. How do we prepare as professionals? We need to understand a broad range of skills and techniques, and be able to apply them extremely competently to get the best out of our category and negotiations. Ask yourself how well you are prepared, how much background reading you have done, how comfortable with analytical tools and techniques and processes you are. If you think you could improve in any of these areas, make a plan for yourself to build in that extra skill base.

Really evaluating your opponent
In this week’s match, it seems that Murray may have underestimated his opponent initially. When the full strength of that opponent became clear, he faced a period of challenge and difficulty in the match. However, by reappraising his opponent and understanding what he needed to do to be victorious, he managed to stabilise his position and overcome that opponent. In our world, we need to have a good understanding of the opponents we face, and we must make sure that we do not underestimate their strength and position.

Taking strength from the crowd
Andy Murray drew great encouragement from the crowd at Wimbledon. He says in a post-match interview that the crowd, “definitely got right behind me and made a huge, huge difference.” In Purchasing, we need to understand who our supporters are, and we need to be able to use them to encourage us and push us forward during times of difficulty.

Emphasising your strengths
Murray clearly faced some challenges during his match. However, he was able to rely on a couple of great strengths, his background and service, to sustain him during the most difficult periods of play. Understanding our strengths, and utilising them as appropriate will always help us get through difficult situations. However, we really need to understand what those strengths are and how they will work in particular situations.

Relying on your training
Faced with some real challenge, Murray had to fall back on what he knew to work, from hours of training—not abandoning it because it didn’t work, but embracing it because he knew it did. We can do that. Where we have training in core skills, we should go back to those areas and make sure we apply the training as well as we can.

Trying something new
It doesn’t necessarily have to be completely new, but certainly something not tried in the current situation. In his match, Murray started by retreating a long way behind the baseline and waiting for his opponent to make mistakes. His new thing to try in the match was getting a lot more aggressive and attacking his opponent. What could you try in a category that hasn’t been tried already?

Being persistent
Murray never gave up. You shouldn’t either.

Keeping your goal in mind
It might seem easier for Murray: win Wimbledon. However, I bet he was really focussed on the next point, the next game on the way through this. Making sure your goal is clear and in focus at the point at which you are working will get you through the next part, while still working towards your overall goal.

There’s a lot to think about here, and much we can learn. Hopefully, we can learn more from Murray this afternoon.

Mark McEnroe Hubbard thinks about purchasing a lot and tennis a little; the intersection is always entertaining.

Learn more from Positive Purchasing.



About Mark Hubbard

I set up a specialist purchasing consultancy and a business focussing on seeking innovation. I work all over the world with clients, helping purchasing teams develop new ways of delivering value for their businesses. I love thinking about how purchasing works, and how it can be better, and I'd love to share some of those thoughts with you
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