Unexpected learnings

Today I have been at BlackLine customer conference. I find that events like this can have unexpected highlights and today was no exception.


There was a strong theme of ‘Trust’ running through the day and what better example than the keynote speakers: Phil Spencer; Mark Lindblom and Rupert MacInnes who spoke about their Everest in the Alps challenge which had been sponsored by BlackLine. I’d never heard of this challenge before and it is a seriously tough challenge. It is the ultimate winter sports endurance challenge. The challenge is to ascend on skis the height of Mount Everest. It involves 32 hours of uphill ski touring and only 3 hours of downhill, with a total of 20 individual ascents. Each day the teams climb between 2,000m-2,500m to reach the overall target of 8,848m. They spent 10-12 hours on the slopes on some days.

They were supported by seriously experienced guides, one of whom was a retired member of the SAS. When they tell you it’s a tough event you know it really is.


As you can imagine, there are many challenges including the fact that even if you wanted to give up for a day that you still have to ascend to get to your accommodation, so giving up really isn’t an option.

I took away a few messages, and these messages can be applied to work, to other sporting challenges and just life.

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A recipe for a trusted team

  • Common goal

  • Quality communication

  • Clear and consistent leadership

  • Emotionally in sync

  • Trust and mutual respect

Trust is everything

  • In team mates

  • In the kit

  • In yourself

  • In the experts

This is something that I shall ponder on some more. The combination of an extreme challenge and a great team lead to a totally inspiring story. As with any good story, you also consider how this could apply to your life. What can I learn for my role as a manager at work? What could I used for my channel relays? How could I apply this for my channel solos as whilst these are solo attempts, you are surrounded by others in training and people are there to support you during training and on the big day.

They have raised over £500k already and if you would like to donate, the link is justgiving.com/TeamBlackLine. They did this to raise money for research into childhood brain tumours.

What unexpected learnings have you had recently? How is trust and teamwork important to you?

#InTheBlack #Trust