Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When And How To Audible

Calling an audible
Plans are important.  They tend to take luck out of the equation, or at least minimize its importance.  Without plans, we seldom reach our objectives or, if we do, we aren't aware of our arrival.

On the other hand, when plans are carved in stone, they can do far more harm than good.   I suspect more goals are not realized because of inflexibility than complacence.

In football, the pointy ball version, there is a solution to the problem of "plan attachment."  The solution is called an "audible."

An audible occurs when the quarterback, with a play in mind, reaches the line of scrimmage, surveys the opposing team, and realizes the play he intends to run will, in all likelihood, not work because of the defensive alignment. He has seconds to make a decision.  Change the play; do not change the play.  If he decides to change the play, he must alert the other ten players of his revised intention.

For an audible to be effective, a number of things must occur.  First and foremost, the quarterback's judgement of the situation must be correct.  Second, his revised plan must be appropriate.  And third, he must get the message to his fellow players all of whom are still focused on the play they believe they are about to run.

So, how does that football strategy apply to us?  The answer is simpler than reading a defense.  Whether we have a team assisting us with the execution or not, when it becomes necessary to change our plan, call an audible.

For example, let's say that today you plan to write a new chapter of your novel, which you've aptly named, Changing Things.  It is the story of a person who is fed up with failure and chooses to have the life of their dream.   This book isn't a whim.  You've already written 30,000 words, and it's going very well.

Today you have a writing plan.  To make it work you have rescheduled two appointments to give yourself the private time you'll need.  You've done the research necessary to write the chapter. You've installed all the computer and application updates.  You're ready.

You sit down to write, and, at that moment, there is a peace shattering explosion outside. The lights go out and along with them your computer screen.  You look outside and see wisps of smoke curling out of a power transformer, the one dangling from the pole in your back yard.  It's decision time.  There is no possibility of writing the way you had in mind. Your original plan simply will not work. You must call an audible.

I'm sure you get the idea.  The point is, there is always a way.  It may not be the way you had in mind, but there is a way, and it has the same chance of success as your original play, if, and this matters, your transition is done in a timely and positive manner - in other words, if you audible effectively you will win.

Bert Carson