There were several very exciting finishes in sporting events over the past two weeks, all of them in sports that I follow to some extent. The U.S. Women’s National Team won the Soccer World Cup in an amazing show of strength, endurance, and physical prowess. England won the Cricket World Cup for the first time since its inception in 1975, due to a slightly bizarre twist at the end of regulation time. And Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final, in an impossibly close match against Roger Federer that ended in the first ever fifth set tiebreak and the longest final in Wimbledon history.
Those of you who know me know that I do not usually follow professional sports. However, growing up in Germany as the daughter of Indian immigrants, I played soccer during lunch breaks at school and was exposed to cricket on extended trips to visit family in India. I am now married to a cricket-mad Englishman, so I can hardly avoid the game. My own sport was tennis, which I played competitively for many years, including on my college’s varsity team.
Many of my readers will have followed the journey of the U.S. Women’s soccer team. Their training, planning, and team work paid off with a second consecutive (and fourth overall) World Cup victory.
Few, if any, of you will have paid attention to the Cricket World Cup; suffice it to say that excellent playing, combined with a bit of good luck and interpretation of an arcane rule, won the day.
And some of you may have watched the Wimbledon Men’s Final, between two of the game's all-time greats, who have been rivals for more than a decade and who demonstrate incredible grace, humility, and sportsmanship even under immense pressure.
Lessons for Mere Mortals
We may not all be world-class athletes, but we can all benefit from the strategies on display.
If you are part of a negotiation team – whether as attorney and client negotiating a settlement, or as spouses or partners negotiating the price of a house – plan your strategy, assess your goals, priorities, and alternatives, and be clear about each person’s role. Your game plan and its execution are usually well within your control; and on occasion, a bit of good fortune may help you along.
And always remember that grace, professionalism, and civility go a long way towards ensuring a “win” for a competitive home team.