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4 Leadership Lessons I Learned From a Mountain-Climbing Crisis

During a team-building challenge to climb Mount Whitney, how did a group of individuals who were previously only connected by work email threads become a steadfast team?

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The ability to function when the going gets tough is incredibly relevant to today’s working world. Think about the situation we all find ourselves in now amid the Great Resignation and the “quiet quitting” trend. We need ways of hiring dynamic new  members (often remotely) and connecting deeply so that we can face these unprecedented challenges as a united front.

When I led a team of company leaders to the summit of ‘s Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, I did not realize that the most difficult part would be the descent, until my team member Kelly became severely unwell with altitude sickness. She could barely walk, yet our team struggled its way to the relative safety of the mountain’s basin, where we managed to send satellite communication for help.

What I knew and passed down to my team was that they’d been silently, unknowingly readying themselves for this moment even before they embarked on their mountain-climbing preparations. The work environment, its stresses and leadership challenges had all prepared this group to use collaboration and teamwork to survive.

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