First Plan, then Adapt

Today I was reading about one of the iconic scenes in Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark).

Apparently it was the last day of filming on location and there was a final complex and very physical sword v. whip fight needed to wrap things up.

Having prepared and practiced for many hours, with an expert swordsman especially engaged, the morning of the shoot came and Harrison Ford came down with dysentery or the like. What to do – push through regardless with the actors being totally unable to focus – and certainly uninhibited displays of athleticism would have been out of the question! – or to adapt the scene. It was not the easiest decision because they had invested both time and money in their original vision but it would not work if they didn’t adapt …

I am sure you all know the scene I mean – the one where Indiana just takes out his gun and shoots the swordsman. It is a scene that sticks in the mind and, in my view, has made much more impact and is remembered over the years, whereas just another swashbuckling fight would probably have blended with all the others in our minds.

So why am I talking about this in the context of Career Transition and Change?

Well, it can’t be denied that any career transition is far more effective if it is planned and then well executed, but it is also a fact that there are times when the best laid plans go awry. At these times, it is easy to be so fixated on pushing your plans forward that you fall into negativity and depression, trying to stick to your script even when every indication is saying that, today, that path will not work. It is so easy to sink into a spiral of demotivation that can take days to get out of.

So I urge you to think of Indiana Jones and ask yourself ‘if I can’t do it this way, what other way might work?’ – you might just come up with something far more effective and very simple.

Having said that do not ever think this will take the place of planning.

A good plan has the resilience to accommodate adaptation – whereas – no plan is chaotic, tiring and often comes across as totally unprofessional.

I will talk about all the advantages of having a great plan in another post, but for now remember – ‘if it won’t work like this today, what other way might work out even better?’

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