17 January 2017

As the CEO of the world’s largest team building network, I am often asked what makes a great leader. There is a typical list, including a strong focus on results, an ability to develop effective strategies and plans – and to ensure those plans are carried out, decisiveness in the face of tough situations, an ability to be clear and firm in communicating those decisions, accountability for team performance, and the ability to manage setbacks with calm logic. The list goes on.

However, for me, the mark of a great leader is the ability to inspire. Didn’t we all have a teacher at school that was so passionate about their subject that they made learning fun? Don’t we all have that someone we look up to who designed, created, or did extraordinary things, often beyond the imagination of the norm? What is it about these people that makes them so inspiring?

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the lives of the great explorers - people whose own passion has inspired me to chase my own exhilarating adventures over the years: kayaking expeditions like the first decent of the White Nile, sea kayaking to Tasmania from mainland Australia, attempting to summit Amadablam, to name a few. These experiences have been intrinsic in the development of my own leadership skills.

Obviously, it’s not always practical or possible for people to set off on a jaunt up Everest or embark on an Arctic expedition to develop their leadership skills, but that does not mean that the benefits of experiential learning should be left untapped. With this in mind, about 3 years ago I set about to create a learning tool that would effectively develop leadership skills. The result of that labour is Catalyst Global’s recently launched team building and training game, Peak Performance - a tablet based interactive business game in which teams take the role of Expedition Leader on a 20 day trip to summit Mount Everest before returning safely to base camp. The game allows participants to experience firsthand the inspiration and drive required to be a great leader.

Passion Drives Want for More Knowledge

Passionate leaders are knowledgeable, offering well-informed opinions and solutions where needed. Their knowledge allows them to consider all angles – every possible alternative and the impact of each, and to facilitate the effective development of great ideas, inspiring vision and a well-thought out strategy. Great leaders use this vision and strategy to motivate and guide effective action. In requiring a team to absorb knowledge and apply it in the development of an agile game strategy, Peak Performance does just this.

Enthusiasm Encourages Communication

Passion and excitement spurs people on to communicate with those around them, motivating others to join the cause in the process. What’s more, passion and knowledge contribute to a positive attitude and helps grow peoples’ confidence – a confidence that is nothing short of contagious. Modelling this, Peak Performance places responsibility on individuals to develop knowledge on a particular aspect of the game and to effectively communicate that knowledge with their team.

Effective Leaders’ High Yet Attainable Standards

Inspirational leaders challenge people by setting high yet attainable standards for their team. They lead by providing their team with the training and support necessary to achieve defined goals, and ensuring that their people are well acquainted with clear plans and are well equipped to carry out those plans. Likewise, a leader’s trust and belief in their team’s capabilities enables them to give those around them the latitude to achieve.

Peak Performance provides knowledge and experience to develop experts across different areas. Bringing it all together, team leads ensure that those around them to realize their potential and are able fulfill intended goals.

Inspiring Peak Performance as Leaders of Our Own Domain

When we invest in and leverage our specific areas of passion, interest, and expertise, we enable ourselves to be leaders in our own domains. My hope is that Peak Performance will leave people with an enhanced realization of the role they have to play and, moreover, the inspiration and passion to apply their unique skills and talents to their team.