The Mountains Are Calling

The Mountains Are Calling

Intentional. It’s a word that doesn’t get much attention. Sometimes we ask participants in our team development programs to share the most important characteristic they believe a leader should have. During the 9 years of doing this activity I’ve never heard anyone say, “Intentional.” However, I’ve given the word more consideration since reading a quote from Senator Mark Udall. The senator said, “You don’t climb mountains without a team, you don’t climb mountains without being fit, you don’t climb mountains without being prepared and you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain on accident – it has to be intentional.”

In 2007 Tommy Caldwell faced a mountain, literally. He set his sights on what many thought was an impossible rock climb – the 3,000 foot Dawn Wall on Yosemite’s El Capitan. There is no way he could climb it by accident. To be successful and reach the top, he had to be intentional. It took a whole year just to explore the Dawn Wall and plot out the route. In 2009, he intentionally teamed up with Kevin Jorgeson despite the fact that Kevin had never climbed on El Capitan. Tommy saw the potential in Kevin and began to mentor him. The two had to intentionally plan to be on the Dawn Wall, without coming down, for 19 days straight. They trained for, practiced, and attempted the feat over the course of five years. All of those intentional efforts finally paid off in January, 2015 when they reached the top!

Intentionality is just as important in work relationships. As a leader, I want to help my team be successful. To do that, I need to intentionally think about the best way to help each of the different employees. Time, energy, and resources must be invested into each individual. I must assess strengths and weaknesses, and put people in the right position to help the team be successful. One person might need more training or preparation for an upcoming task. Another might need some extra one-on-one time and direction from me. What it takes is being intentional with how I help each employee– not just leaving it up to chance.

The mountains are calling – start your team’s climb by being intentional today!

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