The Weary Return – What are the Lessons from Kilimanjaro?

July 8th, 2011 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

Having spent seven days on a mountain, we have been reflecting on the lessons learnt and whether this is a good way to build commercial relationships. We can honestly say that through the fundraising, training and climb, we now as a team know each other better than some family members. In many cases, we have shared experiences, fears and had some of our most honest conversations in years. We were very lucky with our team; the 30 individuals who were all very different in age, background and seniority supported each other without exception.

If we break down some of our objectives and review how successful we have been, we may gain a clearer picture as to whether this time consuming and exhausting week had value for individuals and the business.

Improved Engagement – like many organisations we are aiming to improve engagement and create connectivity with the organisations that we work with. Having fundraised over £190,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care, we definitely have a sense of achievement and recognise the contributions that were made by the companies we work for in the achievement of that figure. We have a huge sense of pride that the work we have done here will make such a large impact on others who are in very difficult circumstances.

Personal Awareness – by putting our bodies under extreme and consistent challenge, we have a very clear picture of how we respond to physical and emotional pressure. Each day the altitude ensured that we endured headaches, nose bleeds and nausea, this is “absolutely normal” apparently. The response from individuals was incredible. Facing a minimum of an eight hour walk, each person maintained positivity and resilience. Some within the group showed beyond human determination with significant health problems and as a result gained the admiration of the group.

Emotional Intelligence – critically to maintain group morale, the individuals developed their interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. As many emotions and feelings were raw and open to be observed within this environment, individuals quickly adapted to what was needed.

In conclusion, the work started here has huge potential for the longer term development of the team and individuals as future leaders. By identifying and embedding the learning for each individual, this experience has the potential to become more than just another fundraising activity and a stroll up a very big hill. We feel that we have made lifelong friends and developed enduring professional relationships. Plans are afoot to meet up again – which has got to be a sign that our objectives were achieved.

If you are interested in hearing more about Zircon’s coaching and team development services, please contact or our rock and mountain climbing adventures in the future please contact

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