All bets were on the pro tennis player and his partner to win their Celebrity Shootout match during the National Pickleball Championships this past week in the Dallas area. Since the event was at my racket club, I watched the match between these two teams: top-ranked mixed doubles pickleball player Ben Johns and former top-ranked U.S. tennis pro John Isner vs. top-ranked mixed-doubles pickleball player Anna Leigh Waters (Ben’s partner) and top-ranked PGA golfer Scottie Scheffler.
It was a major upset: the pro golfer and female pickleball pro whipped the pro tennis player and the male pickleball pro. What happened? In this match, Isner made way too many mistakes because he was playing tennis on a pickleball court. At one point, his pickleball pro partner jokingly asked him to go stand off the court to give them a better chance.
As a tennis player who has tried pickleball, I can relate. It’s hard to resist using your grooved tennis strokes to try to power the ball over the net in pickleball, but that isn’t a winning strategy. Golf pro Scheffler didn’t have to fight old habits to learn how to play pickleball, so he executed pickleball strategies and shots amazingly well.
The same is true in business. When there’s a disrupter in your industry, it isn’t an advantage to stick with what you’ve always done before. In fact, it’s probably a big disadvantage, but most of us aren’t comfortable with making changes.
How do you approach adopting new strategies to address changing factors?