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StrategyJan 12, 2016

Serving Clients and Climbing Mountains

Emma Clark

At Credera, we help our clients face their toughest challenges. You might hear us liken our services to the metaphor of climbing a mountain: serving clients during a steep business incline or trough and helping them reach peak after peak. This summer the tables were turned and I found myself as the client facing my toughest challenge—summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.

While digital strategy, transformational change, and systems integration have obvious differences to trekking 19,341 feet up into the air, I couldn’t help but find myself drawing a number of parallels between the two experiences. Primarily, I would have been unable to achieve this challenge without my guide, Dismass, and his amazing team: 62 porters, six assistant guides, one logistics manager, and one head cook to be exact. There were moments of team bonding, emotional lows, and physical highs (literally). As a result, I learned just what it takes to summit the mountain.

mt. kili

Equipment

You must have the right equipment. Non-negotiable. Our hike began in the hotel room of Lake Duluti, as Dismass sorted through the piles of fleece, down jackets, windbreakers, and liners with a finger on his chin and a simple “take this… no… where is your [fill in the crucial mountain gear I neglected to purchase back in Texas]?!” The sense of urgency took me aback, but the fact of the matter was our outcome was a binary option: summit or come down early.

At Credera, we are experienced at equipping clients with the tools and resources they need to solve their toughest challenges. Whether that is technology, strategy, innovation, or insight. For example, we consider technology a tool that supports business strategy. For every engagement, we provide the client with the tools they need to face their challenge. Like Dismass, it is vital we openly discuss technologies, strategies, and ideas clients must consider to be successful.

equipment

Communication

On the mountain you are an open book. Your guide has to know everything—how much water you drink, how much food you eat, how much oxygen you breathe (among other, more personal details). Telling your guide every feeling, concern, and sometimes emotion, wasn’t just a matter of comfort but of safety. I entrusted my guides with my life.

Communication within your project team and client builds trust. You need trust in order to move forward and make progress. The success of any project depends on open and consistent communication. While communication may be considered the most essential characteristic of a team, it is often overlooked and inadequate. Credera’s role requires being honest when discussing assumptions, meeting milestones, admitting weaknesses, and uncovering issues. If a concern is ever in question, choose transparency.

communication

Commitment

In the end, you have to want it. If you had the passion, the desire, the dream to make it to Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, our guides would have done everything in their power to push you, pull you, carry you up that mountain. One team member struggled physically from day one. She summited simply due to the desire she held and the sheer commitment of our guide. Another member, although more physically capable, turned around on day five because she felt she had accomplished what she needed to and she was at peace with not continuing. While climbing a mountain is certainly physical, success comes down to mental commitment.

There is meaning in what we do together, as a consultant and as a client. Thankfully, we remain focused on the bigger picture together. We are dedicated to building lasting friendships with one another while achieving the client’s highest aspirations. While I’ll be the first to admit certain day-to-day activities don’t exactly light my fire, I do have a passion for helping people and always continuing to learn. I have a commitment to helping my friends, i.e. my clients, face and succeed against their toughest challenges.

summit1