Management lessons in Maaribetta Trek!!
As part of our team’s 2011 annual goal setting/team bonding sessions in Bangalore, we had a trekking session in Maaribetta day before yesterday (Saturday). It was a team of 22 who came from all over India for the two-day sessions!
Maaribetta or Banathamaaribetta is a little known adventure destination, near Bangalore. We took the help of Woody Adventure Inc, an adventure event management company (Thank you, Raj! You referred the right organizers) in Bangalore. The hill is located 55 km from Bangalore near Kanakapura and 6 km on the Ramnagar road. The trek through the rocky slopes, thorny bushes made the trip very challenging and interesting. This place is also an ideal destination for photography – actually couple of eligible bachelors ensured that they captured their pictures in Maaribetta background for their matrimonial picture portfolio 🙂 🙂 !!!
The group was a mix of male/female and young/old. While couple in this group had experienced trekking earlier, for most of the participants, this was the first time trekking experience. Mr.Muniraj was our guide from Woody Adventure, and was ably supported by Sangeeth, a 3rd year electrical engineering student from BMS engineering college, Bangalore (he said, it was his part-time job!!). Through the entire trip, Mr. Muniraj was giving us lot of instructions and I found that there were many management lessons in them to remember and implement – read them below!
We reached the foothills of Marribetta at around 9.45 am (I have to commend the skills of the driver who drove through those muddy village narrow roads). Mr. Muniraj requested us to form a small circle and addressed us – “ We have two options for this trek. One – easy but takes longer time and the second one is moderately difficult but takes less time. I will suggest the second one. We have taken even 5th grade school children on this and they made it easily. Let me know your choice”. There was hustle and bustle with the team, when three of us opted for the second moderately difficult option, there was a sudden wave and everyone (even the ones who was skeptical about the whole concept of trek) opted for it.
- Lesson 1 – Give the options to the team. Set expectations – state the real scenario.
- Lesson 2 – When the leaders make the decision and set an example, it becomes easier for the team to follow.
Once our guide saw that the team is up for the trek, he went on with the instructions. “We need very minimal things with us – just water and some light snacks, caps and coolers. Avoid all fancy bags – if you have a small light backpack, take it.”
- Lesson 3: If your goal is on something high, keep your requirements minimal. Less baggage, more comfort.
We started walking and it was indeed a memorable one. Mr.Muniraj was so knowledgable and kept the team motivated through the trek with his instructions. While we did not spot any wild animals, he did show us the droppings/footprints of elephant, bear, panther, rabbits, porcupine, antlions. He also showed us the trees which are dangerous (itchy trees) and the antiseptic plants. He insisted that nature is beyond us and if we understand it, we will become very humble.
- Lesson 4 – Understand the big picture. You will know who you are.
- Lesson 5 – Take Small steps – one step at a time
- Lesson 6 – When you need support, ask for help
- Lesson 7 – Lead, follow or get out-of-the-way
- Lesson 8 – In a team, the leader leads the way and everyone has a part to play
At one point, I was almost stuck – perching on a steep rock, not sure of my next step. The guide saw me and said – “Feel the rock and focus on your steps”. It just hit me…….how true…..all I need to do is to focus on my next step and not on anything else.
- Lesson 9 – Focus on your next steps.
We had a wonderful time and came back as a satisfied team with more learnings to operate as a team!!
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