When I first learned of the Everest simulation I didn’t think there was much to it to worry about. I thought it would be simply a fun activity. As I looked more closely at the introductory slides and videos I started to feel a little intimidated. This was especially true with the Simulation Tips slides. One of the tips said “you will encounter challenges that require calculations” and I immediately knew I was in trouble. I remembered how poorly I performed when calculating air consumption during scuba diving lessons many years ago that led me to decide not to dive . Another tip stated we didn’t have to stay together but we couldn’t receive medical supplies if separated from the Physician. This brought on fears of being separated from the group, getting lost and needing medical supplies. Did I say intimidated…I think I was closer to anxiety-stricken.
I persevered and found my role. I was the photographer. Relieved that I was not the team leader, I dug deeper into my role. I wasn’t just a any ole photographer, I was an Emmy award winning photographer and had been to the summit twice before. This time, I had my own agenda and even some secrets to keep from my fellow climbers. I wasn’t sure how I felt about holding back information from my team. It didn’t seem right, but I tried it during our first run, when I ended up being rescued anyway, I decided to spill the beans. We had some technical difficulties in any case, that first time and we decided to try again another day. We all shared some secretes that day which I feel was really good for the team to progress as one unit. A team has to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses to function well.
As a team, we actually made 3 attempts to reach the summit together. On the third attempt, we knew to look out for each other and were cognizant of each other’s needs. By the time we got on a role and were close to all of us making it to the summit, we had another technical glitch and one of our team members got rescued. We believe that there may have been a miscalculation. This was extremely disappointing for all, but I could tell that some felt it more than others.
For me the take-away was to be open and share all information, keeping secretes will only hurt the team. Working out compromises among team members will help the team get through times of crisis. This reminds me of my Strength Based Leadership Assessment where Harmony was identified as my strongest theme. Harmony, particularly seeking common ground and listening to each team member’s point of view got us as far as we did. If my team wanted to go back to Everest, I would definitely go with them. Maybe I’ll try scuba diving again as well.