Only a few human beings on earth have had the opportunity to climb 29,035 feet above sea level. This was the rare opportunity Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay felt when they conquered the Everest on the 29th of May 1953.
According to the “Papers relating to the Himalayas and Mount Everest,” in 1865, Everest was given its official English name as recommended by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. He chose the name of his predecessor, Sir George Everest, despite Everest’s objections. If the geographical fact that “the higher you go, the cooler it becomes” is anything to go by, then it would be true that climbing to the summit of Mount Everest would be one of the most challenging calls a human being can make. The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, a country in South Asia, also regarded as the 49th largest nation in the world by population, hosts this formidable mountain. It is also the home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest – regarded as the highest point on earth’s face.
Only someone who has climbed an arduous mountain knows what it takes to make it to the top. For 32 years, about 7 major expeditions tried and failed to reach the summit of the Everest.
Was this so because of the harsh weather and rugged terrain of Mount Everest?
What was the differentiating factor between the expedition that succeeded and all those that had failed?
To answer both questions, we need to understand the backstory.
Under the excellent leadership of Sir John Hunt, 350 porters, 20 Sherpas, and 10 climbers embarked on one of the most organised expeditions ever. Leveraging skill, a well thought out strategy, intelligent collaboration, and one another’s strength, every man contributed their quota in successfully ascending the Everest. No one had done this before. Previous expeditions lacked the coordination and teamwork Sir John Hunt was able to gather. Tenzing is quoted saying, “You do not climb a mountain like Everest by trying to race ahead on your own or competing with your comrades. You do it by unselfish teamwork, slowly and carefully. Certainly, I wanted to reach the top myself; it was the thing I had dreamed of all my life. But if the lot fell to someone else, I would take it like a grown-up and not be a cry-baby. For that is the mountain way.”
Like the Everest, no matter the goal an organisation has, or the strategy developed to achieve this goal, not much can be achieved, if teamwork is lacking. Collaboration is the most excellent strategy for achieving uncontestable results. Someone said it is better to have a great team with a weak dream than a great dream with a weak team.
It takes teamwork to make any dream work. If you want to climb Mount Everest, you need a Mount Everest–sized team – not in terms of quantity but quality. After working with clients for over 28 years, at pcl. we have mastered the art of working with organisations to build well-knit teams that accomplish excellent results. Do not leave your success to chance. Leverage our expertise in facilitating value-driven team-building retreats and interventions that deepen your team’s communication, vulnerability, and collaboration to achieve your vision, mission, goals, and objectives.
Head of Advisory, People Transformation
- “Papers relating to the Himalaya and Mount Everest” from the proceedings of the London Royal Geographical Society of London (April–May 1857)
- National Geographic: Everest 1953: First Footsteps – Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay (Published the 3rd of March, 2013)