Mountain Meetings

People would be really surprised at how many meetings occur on a high-altitude climbing expedition. When I climbed Aconcagua (the highest mountain in South America at 22,000 feet—you definitely don’t want to miss this chapter in my book!) I flew into Mendoza, Argentina and landed in the morning. We had our very first meeting with our guides that night, to do an equipment review. The guides sorted out all our equipment, and made sure we had everything we needed for the two week climb. Everything missing was purchased or rented the next day.

We met every day after that, throughout the entire climb, covering the day’s logistics, weather, instructions on whether we would be roped that day, or use crampons etc., and I was very impressed at how the guides conducted the meetings.

In fact, I have long since patterned my own corporate meetings with teams after the way I saw my mountain guides conduct their meetings.

Climbing meetings are brief, with a clearly defined agenda. The meeting leaders (guides) were always on time, well prepared and had specifically defined results for each day. They focused on positive dynamics, and made sure that everyone was involved, and any concerns or issues were brought up and addressed.

In other words, they created the kind of meeting environment where everyone felt secure enough to speak up, because as I mentioned in my last blog, on a mountain, not speaking could mean the difference between life and death.

...they created the kind of meeting environment where everyone felt secure enough to speak up

The guides kept the meetings short, and when everything was covered the meeting quickly ended, and we were ready to start the day.

For your meetings:

  1. Keep them brief.
  2. Have a clearly defined agenda.
  3. Always be on time, and well prepared.
  4. Have specifically defined results for the meeting.
  5. Focus on positive dynamics, making sure everyone is involved. Address any concerns or issues that are brought up. In other words, create a meeting environment where everyone feels secure enough to speak up. This can make or break your team’s success.