WimbledonTennis is my favorite sport. I learned to play on clay and on hard courts, but in my heart I wanted to play on grass. And not just any grass. I wanted to play on the grass courts of Wimbledon.

In honor of the upcoming Wimbledon fortnight, I’m going to share five lessons from Wimbledon that we can apply to our work. These lessons originally appeared in one of my most popular newsletters.

Read on to learn more.

1. Stand Out From The Crowd

Grass courts. All white tennis attire. The green backdrops. Turn on a televised tennis match and these images let you know immediately that you are watching The Championships – Wimbledon. From the distinctive crossed rackets of the Wimbledon logo to the familiar Wimbledon colors of green and purple, the Wimbledon brand is well defined.

Like it or not, your organization must develop and present a distinct identity. You must consistently communicate who you are, what you do, who you reach and the difference you make.

2. Have A Game Plan

Successful players know their own strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. They develop game plans designed to take advantage of their best weapons and to capitalize on opportunities provided by their opponents.

Successful nonprofits
· Know their external environment
· Play to their strengths
· Stay flexible to capitalize on opportunities.

3. You Can’t Play Doubles Alone

Although not as popular as singles, doubles is an integral part of Wimbledon. Doubles teams are partnerships that take advantage of the strengths of each player. It is not uncommon to see competitors in singles form successful doubles teams.

In the nonprofit world, effective collaboration can enhance the ability of each organization to meet community needs and can often result in more effective use of each organization’s resources.

4. Don’t Play A Clay Court Game On Grass

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event played on grass. Grass is a fast, slick surface, the ball bounces in strange ways, and weather is often a major factor. Players must be able to adapt their game to compete effectively. The nonprofit environment is constantly changing. To be effective, you must anticipate and adapt to these changes.

5. Take Advantage Of Rain Delays

Wimbledon is famous for its rain delays. These delays often turn out to be opportunities. Time and again I’ve watched players raise the level of their game or successfully use new tactics after unplanned time in the locker room. All of us get caught up in day-to-day activities and feel we can’t take time out. The reality is that taking time away often leads to new ideas and new strategies for advancing our mission.

About the Author:
Judith Rothbaum, (www.judithrothbaum.com) is the publisher of the Learning Exchange News – a guide for the time and resource constrained nonprofit.

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Posted on 21 June 2006

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