I was at an event a couple of days ago listening to several people speak about the benefits to business of supporting different charities, and given it is #ThrowbackThursday, I want to reflect on the most recent Alpine challenge that I took part in, in order to raise money for Restart Rugby. Restart Rugby was founded to support professional rugby players forced to retire through injury or illness.
This year, a group of 20 or so individuals were thrown together with the sole focus of reaching the summit of Mont Buet. Except this time, one of the charity’s main beneficiaries was with us all the way. Ed Jackson was told he would never walk again, yet we witnessed him achieving something that was quite remarkable. I am sure many of you will have seen the videos and pictures that were released in the aftermath of the climb and I can assure you that it was as emotional as it looked. Ed had us all in tears with his inspirational words!
I’m not writing this to give you details of what happened, nor am I gloating about our achievements. I simply want to share my thoughts on why a trip like this continues to be at the top of my priorities and what the benefits could be to any organisation wanting to develop employee engagement.
Of course, the physical advantages speak for themselves when it comes to climbing mountains and the sheer beauty of the Alps is something that you only appreciate when you’re in the middle of them. However, it is the idea that sharing a common goal and experience brings people closer together than simply just sitting in an office all day. On that sunny day in September, we met with a few polite handshakes and introductions and we left 3 days later giving out hugs like we had known each other for years.
Walking, talking (and even sharing 12-man bunk beds!) is an amazing way to connect with people. There’s something about staying in a refuge in the middle of the mountains that takes away any potential barriers, it erases any notion that some people are at a higher or lower level than others and it brings out humour in the most unexpected ways. It ultimately leads to conversations of greater depth than anything that can be achieved in an office.
And what happens when people have deeper conversations? Deeper connections, better understanding of what makes people tick and eventually, a greater opportunity to build trust. And creating trust in any organisation is paramount to achieving sustainable success.
So, if you’re looking at ways to improve employee engagement or to strengthen the bonds between your workforce, then I would highly recommend getting out and finding that goal that can be shared together. Get in touch to see if I can help!