Instant replay. Whether you love it or hate it in your favorite sports, the question of whether or not to extend its role in baseball beyond home run situations, as it is currently used today, resurfaced in a big way on June 2, 2010.
That was the day that pitcher Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers would have pitched a perfect game — 27 batters up to the plate, 27 batters out with no hits, no walks, and no errors – except for umpire Jim Joyce’s blown call on what should have been the last out of the game. Instead, Joyce, a veteran major league umpire, mistakenly called Cleveland Indians batter Jason Donald safe at first base, and just like that, the illusive perfect game, which would only have been the 21st in history, was no more. The replay clearly showed that Donald was out, and Joyce later apologized to Galarraga in tears for keeping him out of the record books. But by then it was too late.
Baseball doesn’t yet recognize instant replay as a resource for getting calls right. What a shame for Galarraga, the Tigers, and the entire city of Detroit. It would have been their first perfect game.
As a result of this now infamous miscall which led to Galarraga’s imperfect game, ESPN’s investigative series, “Outside The Lines,” initiated an report titled “The State Of Officiating,” where they reviewed every play of every Major League Baseball game for two weeks from June 29 to July 11. Every call was examined, excluding balls and strikes, in 184 games. What they found was 20 percent of the close calls were wrong. That equates to 47 miscalls, several of which ended up altering the outcome of the game.
Perhaps you’ve never considered it, but in business, we’re constantly expected to make the right call. Despite our best efforts, however, we don’t always get it right — yet the way in which we respond in these circumstances will ultimately affect our continued success. By taking a second look at a difficult situation, you can develop a plan of action that will transform a bad call into a learning opportunity. When replaying a scenario, consider these points:
n Recognize what went wrong, and clearly identify the source of the problem.
n Identify tactics, procedures and practices surrounding the situation, and evaluate their effectiveness.
n Develop a plan of action by generating concrete solutions that can be implemented, both to correct the current problem, as well as to prevent any future reoccurrences.
n As you revisit the problem, envision the solution, and clearly visualize the situation occurring and resulting in your desired outcome.
These best practices may seem obviously simple, yet we are often moving at such a rapid pace that we neglect to take immediate action, and problems begin to compound rather than get resolved.
We “put out fires” by employing short term fixes, rather than investing the time in finding real solutions.
During the highlight of his career, professional golfer Jack Nicklaus was asked by a reporter if he ever made any mistakes on the golf course. Jack replied, “Of course I make mistakes. I make them all the time. But what I do when I make a mistake is something that a lot of people don’t do. When I hit a shot that doesn’t go where I want it to go, before I move from that spot, I immediately replay the shot in my mind to understand where I need to improve, then I imagine hitting that shot again in such a way that it goes just right, and I visualize the ball going exactly where I want it to go. I do this every time.”
The results speak for themselves. Nicklaus went on to win 118 professional tournament victories worldwide and a record 18 professional major-championship titles.
Whether you’re a fan of instant replay, or not, the fact of the matter is that replaying a situation can help you learn and grow even after making the wrong call.
Manny García-Tuñón, executive vice president of Lemartec, an international design-build firm headquartered in Miami, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.