Friday, September 11, 2009

The Reduplicative Process

The reduplicative process is the act or instance of reiterating – do over & over again or repeatedly, sometimes with wearying effect. The reduplicative process – the stuff champions are made of.

Read On:
I first learned about the reduplicative process from one of my favorite contemporary artists, Alex Katz. In his exhibit, Alex Katz Paints Ada
(, the artist explained that he repeatedly painted his wife over and over again, sometimes in the same outfit, but always from a different angle, to a point that viewers were unable to delineate what was rehearsed versus what was improvised.

I was reminded of the reduplicative process Wednesday night when I witnessed Roger Federer’s advance to the U.S. Open semifinals. It was the 22nd time in his career (
that he has advanced to a tennis grand slams semifinal. The next closest streak for a tennis player was 10 by Ivan Lendl. For me this is one of the greatest records in modern sports history. I can only think of the endless hours Roger has practiced every given situation he would encounter on his quest to be the all time greatest player in the history of tennis. When I watch the Maestro (his nickname), I no longer know what he has practiced versus what he is improvising on the court. Roger has mastered the reduplicative process.

Key Learning: Execution is vital to business. Employ the reduplicative process whether you are making a sales call, a management presentation or a speech. Guarantee your audience will not know what you have rehearsed or what you are improvising on the spot.


  1. Interesting example to use, tho RF's success not only came from his reduplicative effort, but the adaptation to the current situation (i.e. the opponent's strengths and style). In business, apply reduplication but with adaptive customization as well. Great thought starter, Jimmy.

  2. Fewer things done well... and over and over and over, with small adjustments to make it better each time. A very good idea indeed.

  3. Also applies to positioning and corporate communications. Consistency and repetition to make your messages stick.