Tamara Simon's Weekly Blog
Business Insights for RTOs
from my favourite Movies, TV Shows and Books
(and some other bits and pieces)

Failure is NOT An Option

This month’s Blog takes inspiration from one of my favourite movies: Apollo 13 which also draws on two books: Lost Moon- The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, and Failure Is Not An Option by Gene Kranz.

I’m sure many of you have seen this wonderful film by Ron Howard and the amazing cast of Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise and  Ed Harris.

But if you haven’t, it tells the amazing true story about the ill-fated 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission in which NASA must devise a strategy to return the spacecraft to Earth safely after it undergoes massive internal damage, putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

It’s a story of belief, resilience, problem solving, systems and teamwork- skills and attributes every RTO needs to be a simple, profitable and compliant business which everyone loves.

So please enjoy my weekly Blogs as I weave the Business, People and Systems insights which can be implemented into any RTO from the abundance of inspiring and relevant quotes from this wonderful movie.

Business Lessons

Gene Kranz

We have never lost an American in space, and we’re sure not gonna lose one on my watch.

Failure is not an option.

And of course failure wasn’t an option for NASA because human lives were on the line, so some people may say this doesn’t have the same level of relevance for RTOs because the stakes are not as high.  And yes that’s true, to some degree.

But let’s look at it differently.

Have you thought about whether your RTO can ‘fail’ or not, and if you haven’t, then why not? 

Failure comes in all different forms but when we’re running an RTO, failure ends up looking like not enough money in the bank to pay the bills because:

  • There’s been heaps of enrolments but very few completions
  • Time is being spent on other important things rather than ensuring every single person pays before training commences and/or progressed

Because if this is your reality (or becomes your reality), then think about the impact on your students (it may mean they don’t get a job), your staff (they may lose their job) and yourself (maybe you can’t get a reference for your next job or worse still, you’re the owner and you lose your life savings).

Now I totally agree that there’s no point continuing to throw money at a problem and band-aiding things in the hope they will go away?  But we have to keep our eye on the prize because failure or the possibility of failure can creep up on us quickly; but it can also provide us with amazing opportunities, if only we open our eyes to it.

So are you approaching each and every day with the mindset that Failure is NOT an option which means you keep looking for profitable solutions, and are flexible enough to change the strategy when needed?

What’s Next?

Jim Lovell

I sometimes catch myself looking up at the moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home.

Jim Lovell’s dream to walk on the moon was never achieved but he understood the power of teamwork and determination which was needed by everyone to save their lives.

And we all need to be reminded, as we lead our businesses (RTOs), our teams and our clients/students that success is only achieved with the help of someone else.

Why?  Because we can never be good at everything and we can never know everything.

So whose help do you need as you build, manage and grow your RTO business?

And here’s my final thought:

Gene Kranz

The lunar module has just become a lifeboat.

Has your RTO become a lifeboat, bleeding from all its crevices and just hanging on?

If it has, what’s one thing you can do to ‘work the problem people’ so it changes from a leaking lifeboat to say a cruiseship?

Want some help from Tamara?

If you would like some help to turn your RTO ideas into profitable solutions by implementing simple systems, please check out my coaching services on my website.


Or contact me direct:

0438 262 727 or tamara@takeanotherlook.com.au

Next Week:       People Lessons from Apollo 13