Returning to Base Camp

Thanks to Natalie Ashdown from Open Door Coaching who posted this interesting and insightful blog post by Paula Jones-Hunt.  It takes me back to the Oxfam Brisbane Trailwalker (100 kilometres) where I lead a team in 2011.

The main challange for the team was successfully reaching each checkpoint as a team, before assessing our options for the next section. As a leader it it about bringing the team with you, maintaining team sprit, using their strengths and inner determination to reach the final goal.  In the story below, as Paula states it is like climbing Mt Everest and asking critcal questions on the journey …

I recently heard a story about the journey of climbing Mount Everest.  As this story was told to me, it takes a massive effort to reach the first milestone that climbers call “base camp”.  From here they will attempt the next level. In most cases they attempt this next level a number of times, before successfully completing it.  After each attempt to climb the next level they return to “base camp” to assess their options.

When businesses and managers introduce change, whether that be a cultural change, process improvement or new program, the success of the program can be linked to a number of factors including: the planning involved, the implementation plan and ensuring that the momentum you have created, continues.

What if during the implementation there was the opportunity to return to base camp to regroup and continuing the momentum?

Returning to base camp gives you an opportunity to take stock of what has already occurred, what challenges have been faced, opportunities to make changes and improvements. A chance to see the forest for the trees!  A chance to acknowledge that not everything has gone to plan and an opportunity for stakeholders to have further input to the way forward.

Even if you are a manager who is wanting to try something different.  Sometimes the every day gets overwhelming and whatever you are trying to do differently or implement gets lost along the way.  Don’t give up on it.  Take a moment to breathe and return to base camp!

Ask yourself the following questions:

When it was working well, what was I doing?

What wasn’t working well and what could I change to make it work better?

What could I stop doing in order to focus on what I want to achieve?

What is the best way to move forward from here?

Whilst momentum may have slowed, by returning to base camp you will re-engage your team/stakeholders, re-energise everyone involved and allow the momentum to gain speed once again!

 What initiatives/projects/changes are you working on that would benefit from a return to base camp?

3 Responses

  1. So true!

    It’s amazing how often we see people/departments/organisations repeating their mistakes and are then left wondering why the results are always the same.

    Having a clearly articulated and ‘bought-into’ vision is key. From the vision we build objectives (much better if they’re SMART) and target milestones where we re-assess where we are, what we’re doing (in terms of vision alignment) and what we need to do next. We can and must learn from failure.

    However someone with far greater insight than me once said: “Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.”

    Hence the reason to re-group, debrief, discuss, plan accordingly and try again.

    Great blog by the way Tony!

    Best wishes,


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