Ivan Lendl – a model non-exec?

September 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

The impact of Ivan Lendl on Andrew Murray’s tennis career has been hugely significant in the last year culminating in Murray winning both the Olympics and the US Open.

 At the risk of betraying a lack of understanding of tennis, and mixing my sporting metaphors, a few characteristics of the working relationship between the two of them provide some useful pointers for when ambitious companies are looking at appointing a non-exec.

Real life, relevant experience – Lendl had been there and done it before. Experiencing the failures and also achieving success.

Shared long term goals – Lendl could see the potential and was willing to work for an extended time to see the results.

Focussed objectives – Lendl identified specific areas that Murray was to work on, that could make a real difference.

Professional relationship – there is mutual respect from both sides. They enjoy each other’s company, but also give each other space.

Brings and develops confidence – Murray notes that just having Lendl around was a calming influence, taking the pressure off him.

You could no doubt take this further, and there are certainly other examples of lessons to take from sport into business. The recent success of Team GB cycling and Dave Brailsford being one.



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