Reading the Play

Adam Callender
2 min readNov 16, 2021


Photo credit: Wan San Yip on Unsplash

When we consider complex sports like football, motorsport. Players benefit from assistance from others, such as Coaches in getting different perspectives, the bigger picture. The same is true of navigating situations with lots of moving parts.

Complicated systems have many moving parts, but they operate in patterned ways. The electrical grid that powers the light is complicated: There are many possible interactions within it, but they usually follow a pattern. It’s possible to make accurate predictions about how a complicated system will behave. Gökçe Sargut and Rita Gunther McGrath

In motor racing, it is about the tyres to use, when to pit and when to push, to overtake. It is anticipating the ebbs and flows of the race.

In cricket, seems the most complicated. Despite the huge popularity of cricket in many countries all over the world, many people tend to think of it as a complicated sport with esoteric rules that harken back hundreds of years. It is true that the sport does have many more rules than most other sports. Jessica J Smith

Amongst the complicated situations patterns can be seen, observations made with the benefit of distance and of reflection.

Things we can consider.

When being called upon to attend a meeting, it can be great to consider the following factors:

  1. What is the broader context to the meeting? Is it a routine meeting, is there key factors or exceptional circumstances? An example can be a change in legislation, triggering a meeting to review the impact on the organisation.
  2. What are the Sponsor intentions? Those that called the meeting and support the meeting have agendas, it can be useful to consider what they might be? For instance, business leaders may be seeking to socialise a strategic direction and looking to understand if it sounds or looks okay to us.
  3. Useful contributions sought from us. We may be known for having formal or informal power, plus a set of skills, experiences, and perspectives. Which combination of these might be called upon for this meeting?

On a mountain bike, coming to grips with a complex single trail, keeping my head up and looking ahead beyond the next few metres, is essential to make the most of the trail and stay on the bike avoiding a messy fall. The trees and rocks can really hurt.

When we have taken time to think about points 1–3 above, we can excel in an important meetings. When we walk in preoccupied by other matters, it can be a mess, disrupting the meeting and frustrating everyone in it. Causing damage to our personal brand and relationships.

Happy to discuss!



Adam Callender

Sydney based, Adam coaches and mentors career professionals, leaders and business owners. He is fascinated by humans, motorsport, mountain bikes and technology.