Standing majestically at almost 30,000 feet above sea level, Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain peak. Mountain climbers train for several years to conquer Everest by honing their physical fitness and mental toughness. Yet, very few make it to the top. Since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the peak to reach the summit in 1953, only about 5,000 people have reached the top.
As We Near the Summit
The difficulties of the ascent become more intense as one approaches the summit. The path from the last camp to the peak is called the “death zone.” The combination of thin air and harsh weather conditions gives rise to disorientation, hallucinations, and several other health-related obstacles. However, for the fortunate few who persevere, an extraordinary moment awaits when there are no further steps to climb.
As CSS approaches the upper echelons of our industry, the ascent has become increasingly demanding. We must hone essential leadership skills like strategic thinking, relationship building, risk-taking, authenticity, humility, objectivity, resilience, stamina, and decisiveness. These skill sets can guide CSS to face the challenges on our path toward excellence.
From The Dance Floor to Being on the Balcony
I recently read a McKinsey report about a study conducted by Harvard Kennedy School professors Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky about a novel concept called “shifting from the dance floor to the balcony.” This analogy paints the difference between executing daily tasks, calling it “being on the dance floor”, to stepping back to gain a broader perspective, calling it “being on the balcony”. The professors explain that the most influential leaders can seamlessly do both.
Keep sight of your responsibilities on the dance floor as you continue to excel in your day-to-day role. Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, who climbed the ranks to lead the company, shares valuable advice, “Approach your current role as if you’ll be doing it for the rest of your career. This mindset encourages investment, improvement, and the pursuit of greater efficiencies.”
As for looking from the balcony, there are three viewpoints you should embrace:
•Look at the future of our industry.
•Look at the whole organization from a broader perspective. Go beyond your immediate role and responsibilities and try to understand every aspect of your company.
•Look at the stakeholder landscape and be knowledgeable on environmental and societal issues.
Rekindling the Humane Spirit
Amid the ongoing conflict in West Asia, losing innocent lives on both sides is a tragic reality that weighs heavily on our hearts. It’s a truth we must never forget, hatred begets hatred, and violence begets violence. The atmosphere of hate and the call for war are exacting a heavy toll on innocent children whose lives are being marred by violence. It is the younger generation whose psyche we must reshape so that peace may finally prevail.
Let us come to a collective understanding and embrace the value of “agreeing to disagree”. Let us be tolerant toward one another and raise a generation that respects the belief systems of others.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of their skin, their background, or their religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love is the essence of our humanity.”
Let us remember the power of empathy, understanding, and our capacity for positive change. Tenacious mountain climbers face daunting obstacles and treacherous conditions to reach the peak. We can also overcome adversity and work to build a world where humanity, compassion, and love triumph over hatred and violence.
The journey may be arduous, but we can rise to greater heights and achieve the impossible with perseverance and a commitment to a better world.
Let us pursue excellence with a heart full of hope and a vision of a brighter future in the year ahead