Systems Rule Bathurst. Do They Rule Your RTO?

7 Lessons from the Great Race to help your RTO business
I'm very excited because this weekend is Bathurst weekend, a time to settle in to see the skills, strategy and contingencies of amazing drivers and their teams.

As Bathurst is one of the best examples of a Systems Driven Business, I wanted to share with you the reasons why simple systems are essential to your RTO business.

Too many RTO Owners/CEOs/Managers and their teams moan and groan about the rules and systems (or lack thereof) within their RTO.  And yet staff crave clarity which systems provide!

Consequently, they're ignored or dismissed as non-important.

Result: The RTO and team continue to flounder because whether we like it or not, systems are essential for success.

Don't believe me: Watch Bathurst.
My Dad and godfather are avid Holden supporters who flagged for many years ago at Lakeside in Brisbane so each Bathurst weekend, I always settle in for another great day of skill, excitement and hopefully a full Podium win for Holden.

And it's often a day filled with heartache and pure joy.

This was absolutely true in 2016 because I got the Holden podium finish I wanted but my favourite driver, Craig Lowndes, exited far too early with mechanical difficulties.

This meant his day turned from chasing his dream of winning the Peter Brock trophy, his mentor and friend on the 10th anniversary of his death; to simply driving each lap to finish in the best position possible for championship points.

I also saw Rick Kelly, a driver often cursed at Bathurst, lose his radio communication after lap 1 so he couldn't talk to the crew. This meant finding alternative ways to signal what was happening as he drove alongside Pit Straight including flashing his lights and turning on his indicators.

This got me thinking: there's so many simple systems happening throughout the race, what would happen if there weren't any?

One answer continued to spring to mind: Crashes and injuries because SAFETY is paramount.

But it's more than that and as I delved further, I've realised there's 7 reasons why rules and systems govern Bathurst.

7 Reasons Why Rules and Systems Govern Bathurst

1. Risk Management
The governing body and teams establish rules to ensure driver and crew safety including speed limits in Pit Lane, fire suits worn by Pit Crew, redressing correctly on the track and not-negotiable situations which bring out an automatic Safety Car.

Any breaches result in driver infringements which can cost you the race, and many drivers have paid the ultimate price.

2. Consistency
All drivers, crew and management need clear understanding about what needs to be done, how, when and by whom.

Even though drivers know what to do when they get in the car, they are so focused on getting quickly back onto the track that you'll hear instructions on the radio: Do up your belt, put in your radio, pump the brakes, watch your speed to ensure compliance with safety procedures and team systems.

3. Calmness
Under excessive stress and tension, systems and an external perspective from the Team Manager on the radio bring clarity and calmness to any situation eg 'Only fuel to go then you're away, yellow flag at turn 2- can't overtake'.

4. Adaptability
Anything can and does happen at Bathurst so documentation and systems provide not only the facts about what's happening eg who's pitting now, how many laps has the co-driver done etc; but helps determine what each team does in the uncontrollable situation of a safety car.

Deciding whether to pit now or later can make or break the race result.

5. Teamwork
It's a highly stressful environment especially if a driver loses time due to a slow pit, as demonstrated by Rick Kelly who communicated to his crew boss that he had worked his guts out to get track time only to lose it in the pits.

But Bathurst success is not because of the driver – if the crew, owners and drivers don't all work together, no matter how good a driver you are, you won't win the Great Race.

6. Communication
There needs to be clear and concise communication between drivers and crew so when they pit, everyone knows exactly what to do.

If a driver uses an unknown term to describe what's happening in the car, this will only ensure a longer pitstop as they struggle to find the cause and solution.

7. What If
Bathurst success is often determined by how quickly and accurately you adapt to a crash or unexpected mechanical challenges so before the race even begins, crews have documented procedures around the numerous 'what if' scenarios so they can be as prepared as possible for whatever comes their way on the day.

If it wasn't for the multiple 'old school' backup plans when they lost the radio including chalk signs and a handheld radio in the car to at least hear from the crew about track conditions, Rick Kelly and Russell Ingall would've been out of the race after about lap 10.

So what's this got to do with your RTO business?

Everything! Documenting how your RTO operates (what's in your and your team's heads), knowing your numbers and thinking ahead of your clients/students and competition are critical to success.

What's Next?
So what's ruling your RTO: Chaos and working on the run OR clarity and streamlined systems?

Not sure?

Then please start on pole position and drive your RTO through the Bathurst Business Race by completing each of these laps.

Lap 1: Do you have documented procedures for every every position including yours?

Lap 2: Is there a weekly check of the numbers to ensure you have adequate cashflow and profitability?

Lap 3: Have you developed back up plans developed for when things go wrong, staff leave unexpectedly, technology fails or external factors eg COVID-19 impact on the RTO?

Lap 4: Do your team members have clearly documented roles, focus and KPI expectations?

Lap 5: Is meeting client/student needs at the forefront when developing products, services and procedures?

Lap 6: Are your procedures reviewed at least every six months for relevance, accuracy and simplification?

And here's my final thought:

If you're not able to successfully complete each lap, then I'm sorry to say you have work to do to in the pits to become the 'Bathurst' RTO Business which is driven by systems, quality, communication and success.

And I know you're probably thinking and maybe saying out loud, 'I don't have time to do that'. To which my response is usually, 'how's that working for you right now'?

Why? Well unfortunately because many RTOs don't invest the time and money needed to achieve this success, it really is a simple choice:

Embrace systems and watch your profit and productivity flourish OR
Ignore at your peril.


If you want some affordable help to take your RTO from Overwhelmed to Optimised, then why not join me inside the RTO Business Club – the only membership program designed specifically for anyone running (or aspiring to run) an RTO.

Providing PD which isn't about compliance to help manage the business side of the RTO.

Author: Tamara Simon

Tamara Simon is Australia's Only Dedicated RTO Business Coach who's driven to making your RTO life easier.

For over twenty years, she's been helping timepoor RTO Owners, CEOs and Managers get out of OVERWHELM so they can

- Get back in control and on track

- Grow their business... simply

- Reignite their passion for training

Find out more about Tamara Simon, her RTO Business Club and how she can take your RTO from Overwhelmed to Optimised here:

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SImply request a copy of my RTO $uccess Blueprint to find out.

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