It is always with great pleasure I visit the Oval cricket ground with a group of old (some would say very old!) friends – a day commencing with a full English breakfast in the fine establishment that is the Fentiman Arms, concluding with an evening meal and a day interspersed with liquid refreshments. On this memorable occasion, I witnessed one of the most unexpected outcomes to an Ashes Series, with a fairy book ending for Stuart Broad’s international cricket career that could not have been better scripted – a successful and much heralded Test cricket career finishing with the last ball he faced, dispatched for a mighty 6 and then a wicket with the last ball he bowled in Test cricket to finish the Australian innings so that England won the game and drew the series. I know the “Urn” is still with the Australians!
It has been a fantastic Ashes series. But one that certainly kept players, management and spectators guessing what might happen next. Why? Due to injuries to key players like Ollie Pope and Nathan Lyons; JSO protesters; the rain: pantomime villain/Aussie wicket keeper Alex Carey’s run out of Jonny (JSO won’t get in the way of a game) Bairstow and both brilliant and ludicrous passages of cricket. You just did not know what was coming round the corner.
Undoubtedly, both squads planned and trained for the competition, but with all the twists and turns, I couldn’t help but admire the resilience, adaptability and collected nature that the teams displayed at The Oval and throughout the series. Undoubtedly, the disruption to playing squads, other distractions, the loss of play at the Old Trafford match and the delays to play at the Oval was mostly ignored to focus on the tasks ahead. Not dis-similar to our working lives I guess.
As I travelled back from London, I reflected on how we adapt in our professional careers to the unexpected. The extra analysis to a piece of work requested at the last moment, the surprising question in an interview, the unavoidable absence of a colleague, a decision taken by others that impacts upon oneself. No matter how much planning has gone on, it is your training, analysis and response that will determine if you progress regardless or are derailed. A strong team around you, a supportive leader with a vision and a collective willingness to have bought into a plan that will succeed for reasons that will hold in the most trying of situations is what we all need.
Whilst I maintain that it is good practice to lay out a plan with career and personal ambitions in mind, I also believe it is important to be alert to the unexpected. Often, the unforeseen is the creator of opportunities. Who knows your career could also have a Stuart Broad like ending.
As you take the next step towards both the expected and the unexpected, we here at ABPM+ are on hand to assist you navigate your career development and options. That is what we love to do and not just find you your next job. Contact us today to find out how.
Rej Abraham, Sarah Torrington, Matt Byrne, Alex Handford