• Fri. May 24th, 2024

7 leadership lessons from my Everest base camp(EBC) trek

I had an opportunity of a lifetime to complete a long-overdue bucket list of mine, To Trek across the Himalayan range and reach Everest Base camp situated at 5364 Meters above Sea Level.

It was quite a long trek of 14 days and we had the opportunity to go via Chola pass, one of the highest mountain passes of the world, walk on Khumbu Glacier, World’s longest Glacier and see Mount Everest up-close & Personal from Kala Patthar at 5700 m.

The whole experience left some Lifelong Leadership impressions on me as I also had a group of 7 Trekkers hence summarizing my experience in these 7 key areas:-

We are never fully prepared until the moment arrives:-

I dreamt about this trip since I heard about it from a colleague 6 years ago. It was difficult to plan and organize as I needed at least 18 days fully off the Grid and a group of friends with the right mindset.

I took intense Strength Training and Cardio exercises but as the date for the trek came closer, I was nervous as I was still not sure if I will be able to complete it or if I was 100% Ready.

However, I took the Plunge And completed the Trek successfully. Looking back, I felt I had at least 50% chance of canceling the Trek, but I decided to go for it.

In Many Situations, we might not have all the Data points we would need to make decisions and the best decisions are not always 100% Data-Driven.

Challenges which seem insurmountable can be overcome if you break it in small pieces:

Standing in Front of Chola Pass (5400 Metres)and crossing it seemed like an impossible task in midst of heavy Snowfall ,Rain & Sub-zero Temperatures.

My Mind immediately started looking for options to change the Route. But Our guide asked us to focus on just one step at time and whenever we wanted to Quit, just look back to Realize How far we have come.

Every Goal or Dream which is Too big can achieved by the system of micro steps towards the larger Goal. Even 1% improvement is 365% improvement in a Year.

Glory sometimes is just few blocks away When You want to Quit :

50% of the Trekkers who complete the Everest Base camp Trek, Finish the Trek when they reach the Base camp and skip Kala Patthar but the best & closest views of Mount Everest are from Kala Patthar.

It’s quite Natural that after completing a strenuous Trek of 12–14 days You would not want to take another 6-hour Uphill Climb to 5700 Meters,where every step is a challenge , however the best viewsare reserved for those who take this uphill journey to Kala Patthar.

We had every reason to do the same as half of our Team was Tired and Fatigued but we still decided to go ahead and we had the Pleasure of some of the most stunning views of Mount Everest & the entire Himalayan Range from Kala Patthar.

You can walk fast alone but You can walk far if you take Your People Along :

We met Another Team of Trekkers as we started Our Journey. All of them were Fitter and better Prepared than us. They were Great Individuals but possibly not a Cohesive Team.

Only 70% of Them Could reach the Base camp and only 10% could Reach Kala Patthar while we had 100% Success both at EBC & Kala Patthar.

We were not the best Trekkers but we were a well-connected Team. We focused on each other’s Strengths & Weaknesses and divided responsibilities between us.

One acted as a Scout to create a Clear Path, I Took ownership of the Logistics and there was a clear allocation of duties among the Team Members ensuring we all are in it together.

A team needs to have a Leader who pushes the whole team forward towards a common Goal, push Stronger Members & Help Members during their weakest Points.

We were slower as we took everybody along, but all of us achieved the Common Objective.

In times of crisis, just focus on the critical things which Move The needle forward

At Subzero Temperatures lot of things, we take for Granted in our Modern Lives (Hot Shower, Hot food & even a Mobile Network) were not available.

The only thing that kept us going was the Common Goal of Reaching the Base camp and all resources were optimized to achieve the Goal.

This experience of scarcity had a profound impact on me making me feel grateful for the basics of life which we take for Granted in our Modern day-to-day Life.

In real life, we always have some dichotomies. But in reality, we need so little to achieve what we set out for.

When the purpose is clearly set with clear Objectives, People find ways to reach their Goals even with limited resources and facing adverse circumstances.

Enjoy the Journey too, don’t just focus on the Destination:

EBC was by any standard the toughest physical challenge for me.

I looked it towards as a sense of acknowledgment knowing fully well that I am testing my limits.

I saw every step forward as progress and every day of Trek as a success clearly knowing if things get difficult I will have to come down while enjoying every single Moment in this Beautiful Journey.

Sometimes the Goals we set are Uni-Directional and raise our Expectations and we start associating ourselves with a Goal that becomes the only measure of our success i.e. getting the next promotion, Raising the next fundraise, etc., and when things don’t go as we planned we blame ourselves for the same.

Life is a combination of variables as explained in “Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housal and there are only very few variables we can manage for things to go as we planned to achieve a certain outcome.

The trek opened my mind and experiences which I never planned for,& midway during the Trek when I started not be weighed down by the heaviness of a Unidirectional Goal in my mind, I could take my own pace, enjoy the breathtaking views and enjoy the moments which I will cherish for life.

Choose Your A-Team, A Collaborative & Cohesive Unit:

Our group was a well-knit team of 7 people each with a unique Trait but most importantly believing in each other’s strengths & weaknesses. Somebody was always pushing the last Guy, Somebody planned the finances & Logistics, and somebody decided the route

But most importantly we trusted each other’s decisions in their expertise rather than trying to prove ourselves individually in each space.

As we grow, We are not successful just because of who we are and what we do but because of whom we work with, who knows us, and who is ready to follow us and put their lives & careers at stake for us.

You cannot be a successful CEO If you do not have a great Team and neither can You build a Unicorn Startup without a Great Team.

Successful teams complement each other with diverse skills and knowledge with each one knowing their role fully well.

As Jim Collins said in the Book Good to Great “Culture eats strategy for Breakfast” and a Collaborative, Cohesive Team outperforms many Benchmarks.

(The article is solely the opinion of the author. The views expressed here are solely personal and not in any way connected to any organisation or any political party )

Pritam Dutta

Writer a mountaineer, Entrepreneur, and Technologist.

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