The combination of practice and theory, is the unique concept behind the “Leadership in the Mountains Course,” a part of Keel’s internal leadership program. In early May of this year, the Keel team which consisted of 16 people, had the opportunity to take part in the program.The program comprised both theoretical teaching and practical activities; with a special focus on team problem solving and coordinating tasks. This enhanced the team members’ personal leadership skills, and strengthened their ability to work together. There were many precise tasks, built-in surprises, and obstacles to overcome. Everyone in the team was exited to embark on this trip, and we were all appropriately geared up for mountain climbing on Ukraine’s highest and most beautiful peaks.
Once we arrived, we did not know what the next couple of days in the mountains would have in store for us, but nevertheless, we ventured off with a great feeling of excitement and suspense. The initial climb was no picnic: the harsh weather conditions stressed our bodies, and the unpredictable tasks set by the instructors stressed us psychologically, as well.
Nevertheless, the completion of the tasks provided us with the important theoretical background for understanding the practical psychology behind leadership. At the end of each stage of the program, all our activities and decisions were analyzed and discussed within the team. These lively reflective ‘lessons learned’ sessions with the course coordinators, served as the glue that integrated both theory and practice into one.
The Petros Peak was down, and the Hoverla was on. Climbing the highest mountain in Ukraine – the Hoverla – was the acid test which brought out a healthy mix of chaos, stress and reflective mistakes. It was the ultimate test for the team, and highlighted how teamwork is so essential, and why we are dependent on each other to lead and lift as a team.
In order to complete this program, we were forced to work as a team in moments of high stress, and feeling on edge. It taught us to communicate when the pressure is on, and emotions are running high – which is the complete opposite to inter-office relationships. We have now learned to talk and listen when it is crucial to cooperate in an efficient manner.
The course was a great chance to get to know our fellow co-workers, and a wonderful opportunity that brought us together. We went to the course as colleagues, but came back as friends. We got high, and were empowered to get down to work with a deeper Keel approach – which is a much more stable one.