Leadership Lessons From “Everest”

Linda LaitalaBusinessLeave a Comment

“The longer you look at it, the harder the climb will be.  It’s a far distance to the top; keep your head down and take one step at a time”.   

Those words of wisdom, offered by a Sherpa guide to a mountain climber, ring just as true for the entrepreneur.

Everest, the movie, is based on the epic climb that left Camp 4, May 10, 1996.  On their way to the summit, climbers trudged
through the “Death Zone” aptly named because once you hit an altitude of about 26,000 feet, human life can no longer be sustained and the body literally starts to die.  As muscle mass deteriorates and body decays, climbers are taxed to make life and death decisions.
Compare the climber’s situation to that of an entrepreneur.

  • Business can be an extreme environment.  It’s fast-paced and uncontrollable.  You have to be able to take action and make your move based on what’s happening at the time.
  • It’s an advantage to surround yourself with people who have a healthy belief in themselves, which is not to be confused with arrogance.  They are critical to a team’s success.
  • Agility is the key to survival. You must be able to react quickly, move efficiently and remain steady as the world shifts around you.  Complacency can lead to extinction.
  • Consider the achievers: are they people with a perfect track records or the ones who have been beaten, bruised and taken risks?
  • In the movie, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer made seemingly minor choices about how teams were structured. These decisions had enormous impact on the perceptions people had about their roles, status and relationships This in turn, constrained the way people behaved when obstacles and dangers were encountered.

Climbing Mount Everest is not for everyone, but if you’re interested in getting a taste of the movie, check out the trailer:  Everest

Facts about Mount Everest:
— 29,029 feet high
— There have been over 6,000 recorded climbs, although not all made the summit
— 225 people have died on their journey
— Oldest climber -76 years old
— Youngest climber – 13 years old
— First blind climber reached the summit in 2001
— The cost to buy a permit to climb Everest – $25,000

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