RM Tips and Strategy

What Happens if you get Hit by a Bus?

Adrian Treacy
November 20, 2023
In the fast-paced world of business, unexpected challenges can strike at any moment, demanding a proactive approach to ensure continuity. This article explores the metaphorical 'hit by a bus' scenario, emphasising the importance of a comprehensive business continuity plan. The piece offers practical strategies for planning the unthinkable, including role identification, cross-training, succession planning, and knowledge sharing. Is your organisation ready?

What Happens if You Get ‘Hit by a Bus?’

Navigating the Unexpected: Ensuring Business Continuity Amidst Life's Surprises

In the hustle and bustle of the business world, the unexpected is an unwelcome guest that can arrive unannounced at any moment. 

Picture this: you're strolling down the street, immersed in your daily routine, when suddenly, metaphorically or, in some unfortunate cases, literally, you get hit by a bus. While the latter might be a rare occurrence, the metaphorical bus is always lurking around the corner, ready to throw a curveball at your organisation. 

So, what happens if a key player in your business suddenly becomes unavailable? Are you prepared for the unforeseen?

This brings us to the crucial concept of business continuity, a strategy that goes beyond dealing with everyday challenges and takes into account the "what ifs" of life. 

Specifically, planning for the unexpected and ensuring the smooth transition of responsibilities if a key individual is unable to perform their duties due to unforeseen circumstances. Like in the majority of Car-Hire companies where the pricing strategies and execution are in the hands of one person. 

Let's dive into why having a plan in place is essential for business continuity.

The Human Element: A Fragile Link in the Chain

In any organisation, certain individuals play pivotal roles that keep the wheels turning smoothly. These key figures might be decision-makers, project leads, or experts in a particular field. The sudden absence of such individuals can create a void that, if not addressed promptly, can lead to disruptions and chaos.

Consider a scenario where you are the CEO of a Car Rental Company, the driving force behind its vision and strategy, who is suddenly unable to perform their duties. 

Without a plan in place, the entire organisation might find itself in a state of disarray, struggling to make crucial decisions and maintain momentum. It's not just about the skills and knowledge that person possesses; it's about the relationships, the institutional memory, and the intangible elements that make a business thrive. And specifically in the Yield Management domain, it can have a big impact on the pricing strategy and the execution of that strategy not to mention managing the distribution channels.

Planning for the Unthinkable

To mitigate the risks associated with unexpected disruptions in your company, organisations must proactively plan for business continuity. This involves identifying key roles within the company and developing strategies to ensure that operations can continue seamlessly, even in the absence of a crucial team member, like your Revenue Manager

1. Identify Key Roles:

Start by identifying the positions within your organisation that are critical to its day-to-day functioning and long-term success. These could be leadership roles, key technical experts, or individuals with specialised knowledge that is not easily replaceable.

2. Cross-Train Your Team:

One way to ensure business continuity is by cross-training team members. This involves providing employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to step into different roles if the need arises. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, you create a more adaptable and resilient workforce.

3. Succession Planning:

Succession planning is like having a bench of skilled players ready to take the field. Identify potential successors for key roles and ensure they receive the mentorship and training needed to step into those positions if required. This not only prepares individuals for leadership roles but also creates a smoother transition in times of crisis.

4. Documentation and Knowledge Sharing:

Don't let crucial knowledge reside solely in the minds of a few individuals. Encourage the documentation of processes, best practices, and key information. This not only aids in training new personnel but also serves as a valuable resource in times of transition.

At WeYield, we have created an online internal wiki that gathers all crucial information, procedures and knowledge, in order to maintain the continuity.

The Ripple Effect: Impact on Stakeholders

The repercussions of not having a business continuity plan in place can extend beyond the internal workings of an organisation. External stakeholders, such as clients, partners, and investors, can also be significantly affected. Imagine a key account manager, responsible for maintaining relationships with major clients, suddenly becoming unavailable. Without a backup plan, the organisation risks not only losing that client but also damaging its reputation.

Case in Point: Lessons from Real-Life Scenarios

Several high-profile cases highlight the importance of business continuity planning. For instance, when Steve Jobs, co-founder and visionary behind Apple Inc., took medical leave, the company had to navigate a succession plan to ensure stability. While Apple had a plan, not all organisations are as prepared.

In contrast, companies like Google have been proactive in addressing potential disruptions. Their detailed succession plans and focus on leadership development have allowed for smooth transitions during unexpected events.

The Road Ahead: Implementing Business Continuity Measures

Now that the importance of business continuity planning is evident, the next step is implementation. Here are some practical steps to get you started:

1. Conduct a Risk Assessment: 

Understand the potential risks to your organisation, internal and external. This includes identifying key personnel vulnerabilities and assessing the impact their absence would have on operations.

2. Develop a Business Continuity Team:

Form a dedicated team responsible for creating and implementing business continuity plans. This team should have a clear understanding of the organisation's structure and operations.

3. Regularly Review and Update Plans:

Business continuity plans should not be static documents. Regularly review and update them to reflect changes in personnel, technology, and organisational goals.

4. Test the Plan:

Conduct drills and simulations to test the effectiveness of your business continuity plan. This not only helps identify potential gaps but also familiarises team members with their roles in case of an actual emergency.

At WeYield, the Product & Innovation team (tech department) has built a disaster scenario and a recovery plan. Every year, a team of two engineers is selected (not the same crew members each time) to start all clients piloting apps from scratch. They isolate themselves for 48 hours and run the plan from A to Z. They practise and report all the issues and fixes they found to improve this recovery plan.

5. Communicate and Educate:

Ensure that all employees are aware of the business continuity plan and their roles within it. Communication is key during times of crisis, and an informed workforce is better equipped to handle unexpected challenges.

Conclusion: Embracing the Unexpected

In the grand scheme of things, getting hit by a bus might be a rare occurrence, but the metaphorical bus, representing the unexpected, is always on the road. Business continuity planning is the seatbelt or parachute that ensures you're prepared for the unforeseen twists and turns that may come your way.

By acknowledging the vulnerability of key roles within your organisation and taking proactive measures to mitigate risks, you not only safeguard your business but also build resilience.

For us in WeYield, your Revenue Manager (Pricing Manager) is one of the most important and key members of your Car Rental team. They are the pilot that is flying the metaphorical plane that is your business. Yet in most organisations they operate in a vacuum, with nobody else in the company that fully understands their roles. This could be recipe for disaster.

At WeYield we offer an array of web-based tools designed to help you understand your business, control market prices, and forecast future trends. Collaborations with industry leaders like ForwardKeys and Data Seekers enhance the depth of our insights. Furthermore, our partnership with Rate-Highway, enables automated management of public prices, streamlining your operations. This could be just the help your company needs to be prepared for the unexpected!

So, as you navigate the dynamic landscape of the business world, remember that the key to success lies not just in how well you drive but also in how well you prepare for the unexpected detours that may lie ahead!

Published by
Adrian Treacy
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Customer Success Manager at WeYIeld and also Founder of Quantum-Leap Consulting. I help our clients to think more about 'why' they are doing what they do and how to maybe improve their results. As a Success Mindset coach I also help people to understand the 'why' behind what they do so that they can understand 'how' to get different results.

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