A selection of inspirational speakers spoke at our World Class Leadership Summit, including Brendan Hall and Polar Explorer Ann Daniels. Former Red Arrows pilot, Justin Hughes, shares his insights into the importance of having a plan B. He discusses why planning for every eventuality and being able to focus on adaptation is crucial for success.
Plan B, known unknowns. These are ones where you kind of can anticipate that something like this might happen but you don’t know if it’ll happen and you don’t know when it will happen or exactly how it’ll play out in practice. So you can’t have a perfect plan you know we’re talking about plan B. It’s not ‘Oh Plan B doesn’t work let’s do Plan B’. There’s a million Plan Bs. It’s kind of the things that you can’t quite script but you need to prepare for them. The way we do this because you can never anticipate what’s going to happen only one day is almost a cultural approach to always thinking about Plan B. So on the red arrows for instance we’d have a weather brief in the morning, a Met brief for two minutes at the end of the brief every morning. We’d talk about a technical problem. So it’s almost that we do two minutes of professional development every single day, constantly just reminding yourselves about technical stuff that you might forget. Every time we fly, we’d have a sortie brief and at the end the sortie brief we’d talk about what might go wrong in some context, you know. What could go wrong today? What’s specific about this particular task? As I said you can never anticipate the thing that will happen. But what does happen is if you’re constantly having this conversation you kind of start to build this mental database of things that might go wrong. And when they go wrong you dip in the database. You won’t be perfect you massage that to the situation you’re facing. You don’t make it up.
The decision that we made in the crew room with our feet on the table having a coffee with a few minutes to think about it is always going to be better than the decision you make under enormous stress in the heat of the moment. We make the high-pressure decisions in low pressure environments.