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  • Writer's pictureDeshun Bester


In the previous blog, I shared the importance of BaseCamp Moments. The idea of spending sufficient time resting and recovering. Doing so provides us with the raw materials for peak performance. In a sense, we cannot begin a new adventure without having had enough time to replenish and resource ourselves for the journey to come.

Hopefully at this beginning of a new business year, you have a sense of Tackling The Summit® of 2024 with great hope and excitement.

How to Tackle The 2024 Summit

1.Define the Mountain

It sounds easier said than done, right? The reality is that business leaders are always climbing several mountains at the same time! The trick is to know which mountain you're one and at which time, so that you can structure your approach to the correct peak and route. Defining your mountain has to do with being very specific about what it will look like when you get there.

The more detail, the better. How high is this mountain? What kind of weather can be anticipated? How many stopover camps will there be? What safety measures need to be in place to avoid or reduce risk? As a business team, you questions may look like: What will indicate success? How long will it take? Which potential disruptions could influence or impact our approach? How will we measure progress, etc.

2. Identify Camps

Camps on a mountain are basically progress markers. Arriving at camp is an indication that you've made headway and reached higher than you've been before. Each camp can also be a place of temporary safety and rest. On Mt. Everest there are 4 rest camps, simply known by there numbers; Camps 1-4.

If you are setting a business goal - whether over a 12 month, 2 year of 5 year period; it is important to define each camp and what success would look like when you reach it.

Many of the teams we've worked with use the periodic nature of a calendar year (for instance, quarters) to create these 'camps' for their journey. Q1= Camp 1, Q2 =Camp 2, etc. This helps the to break to set achievable goals within a realistic timeline, whereby progress and performance is measured. Clients have used this methodology for a wide variety of their goals: Sales, Projects, Compliance deadlines, etc.

Once you've achieved a camp, it is important to return back to Base Camp to in order to recalibrate, recover and plan for the journey ahead.

3. Where is your Base Camp?

Remember, BaseCamp is the 'ground zero' of your journey. It is right at the bottom of the mountain. On Everest, climbers do iterative rounds to and from Base Camp, in order to acclimatise and regroup. In your team, you want to answer the following questions:

a) When do we return to Base Camp?

b) How long do we stay in Base Camp?

c) What do we do while we're in Base Camp, etc.

Typically a climbing team will do a debrief on how the climb went. They will also check into each climber's wellness status, as well as general strength to continue on. Any climber who requires extra rest and support can stay in Base Camp when the rest of the team keeps climbing. The most important thing is to continue to add value (even while not climbing).

Base Camp is also a place to take a good look at climbing resources: Equipment, food, shelter, etc. Communication tools are checked as well as personal equipment. Nothing is left to chance, because you cannot do a quality check-in while on the slopes.

A fun aspect of being in Base Camp is the amount of 'free' time a climber has. This is a good time to socialise and strengthen team bonds. Plenty of rest is required as part of the recovery process, before going back up the mountain.

4. What could the Ice-Fall look like?

A striking feature on the South Col route on Mt. Everest is the Icefall This is the gateway to the higher slopes on the mountain and every climber must pass through it. The Ice Fall is a glacier which moves at a really slow pace, so the dangers of it is not always visible. However, a sudden crash of a serac (a pinnacle of ice on the surface of a glacier) or wobbling of the ladders which mark the route, can create sudden disruption and volatility.

Each section of the route can present your team with different challenges.

As you strategise for the year, make sure that you spend some time looking at all the different scenarios that may occur on the way to your summit. It is especially important to plot the way out of potential disaster, before it may actually happen.

The Icefall scenario planning aspect helps everyone on the team to call on their individual strengths and provide opportunities for every team member's value to be displayed.

There are the 'quick responders', the 'action group', the 'safety and security people' and the 'clean up the mess group'. When you scenario plan for emergencies, having a clear idea of what roles and processes should be followed is essential. This approach can literally be the difference between the life and death of a project.


In the end, success is achieved through sustained focus, discipline and a consistent effort.

As you and your team reset your strategy and move into the possibilities of a new business year, may you find value in revisiting the analogy of climbing Mt. Everest.

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