For those who are not football fans, January 1, 2012 was the date of a big game between the Cowboys and the Giants. The Cowboys and Giants have been big rivals for many years and the winner of this particular game would make the playoffs and have a chance to continue their journey to the Super Bowl while the losing team would be done for the year.
I am sure both the Giants and the Cowboys spent many days, even weeks, preparing for the game. They may not have known the playoff implications that would be involved, but being the last game of the regular season, they knew it would be an important game.
What do you think went into preparing for the game? I would imagine, both teams watched a lot of film of the opposing team to try to gather some intelligence about their offensive and defensive plays and line-ups. Both teams practiced plays over and over and over until they neared perfection. They prepared for all kinds of positive and negative scenarios that could arise during the game. In short, I am sure we can all agree that both the Giants and Cowboys started the game with an in-depth strategy for how to win.
What happens when Eli Manning, quarterback for the Giants, gets the play call from the offensive coach, relays the play to the team in the huddle, comes up to the line to hike the ball and sees that the Cowboys are set, defending the play perfectly? Does he go ahead and run the play because that is the strategy and the play that was called in? Sometimes he will, but many times he calls an audible. For those who don’t know, an audible is when the quarterback changes the play just before hiking the ball. You will see Eli Manning many times pointing to the defense and screaming numbers and words to his team mates. In many cases, these numbers and words are keys to a new play. He does this because the defense is prepared to stop the play that was called. He knows that now is the time to call an audible.
The Take Away
In executing a business or personal strategy, sometimes it is necessary to be like Eli, identifying when it’s time to be flexible and adaptable and call an audible. We can never be 100% sure of the obstacles, challenges, and opportunities that will come our way, but you cannot discount the importance of the preparation. Just like the Giants and Cowboys spent time preparing for the game looking at different scenarios the opposing team may throw at them, we can look at scenarios that may occur as we are on our journey of winning our own game. The more we can define those scenarios and be willing to call an audible when they occur, the better chance we’ll have of succeeding.