Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Federer Winning Ugly

I was enthralled by the Wimbledon men’s singles final between Federer and Roddick. Andy Roddick played the best tennis of his life and epitomized many facets of the classic Winning Ugly attitude. He stood his ground, fought for every point, never gave up, changed his game to absorb the better player’s game, and took his chances when they occurred. His greatest strengths were his endurance, preparation, and determination.

What to me really made an impact was a beautiful player, Roger Federer, Winning Ugly. This is the story of 2009. This is what we are trying to do at Saatchi & Saatchi, which for many years has been a beautiful, creative, award-winning, Nothing is Impossible company. Whilst keeping these characteristics, I’ve tried to encourage all our folks that we need to add Winning Ugly characteristics to our makeup for these tough times. If we are successful, then the new Saatchi & Saatchi will be even stronger than its creative predecessor.

Roger Federer didn’t really Win Ugly. What he did was refuse to lose. He didn’t fold, didn’t give in, and didn’t back down. He only broke Roddick in the very final game of the final set. Roddick played liked a champion but Federer never gave up believing. As Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is a habit”, and that’s what got Federer through. He simply wasn’t prepared to lose. He reached into his memory bank and remembered that he had won 14 Grand Slam tournaments. Roddick didn’t have this to fall back on. Federer's strategy was Winning Ugly personified. In real terms, it was “not losing”. Even though Federer was mostly outplayed during the game, he just would not admit defeat. He didn’t beat Roddick, he just refused to lose.

When these tough times end, those people that have adopted this approach will come out even stronger than before.