Aug 2001 issue
RETURNING TO EVEREST: THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A VISION
One of the most common questions I was asked last year was " Why are you going back to climb Mt Everest? Didn't you guys climb it in 1998?"
Far from being annoying, such opportunities allowed me expound briefly that a mountain can be climbed by many different routes. If pushing standards mean climbing progressively harder routes on the same mountain, returning to Everest would only make sense to a mountaineer if he/she wanted to improve on what was done previously. If you wanted merely to taste the achievement of getting to the summit of the world you could always opt for climbing by the easiest route with the maximum level of external help from eg. professional guides, sherpa porters and so on. So the attempt on the north ridge of Everest was one such example of self-expression but it needed some explaining - after all, some people already think climbers are on the lunatic fringe of society (!).
We had a clear vision and reinforced it in every media release, on our website and in every face-to-face contact opportunity. This helped overcome objections and various minor setbacks.
Striving for higher professional standards demands a vision. Only by having a vision and working gradually to it can there be some sense of direction and achievement. In August1999 I had a dream to lead a climb of Mt Everest from a harder route. We kept to this vision until the project's completion in Jun 2001.
In the months ahead I'll be outlining some tools you may find useful in helping you or your associated to keep focused on the goal.
Ask your work team or divisional associates if they have a personal or professional dream; a goal, some vision. And then ask them to write down what they are doing to achieve it. Someone who needs more than 10 minutes to do so may need to think a bit more about their work and goals.