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Mount Everest 1996
Transcript of Mount Everest 1996
Mount Everest 8,850 meters above sea level
1953 first successful expedition by Hillary and Norgary
In the 80's commercial expeditions started
Until 1996: 846 successful ascents and 148 deaths
Over confidence & underestimation of risks
Lack of experience
& physical skills
Escalation of commitment
Lack of planning &
Lack of communication
What should they've done?
"With enough determination any bloody idiot can get up this hill." (Hall, LEADER)
"Experience is overrated. It's not the altitude that's important, it's your attitude." (Fischer, LEADER)
“I think the biggest obstacle is probably taking time off your job and leaving your family for two months.” (Weathers, CLIENT)
"When it came the time for each of us to assess our own abilities...it seemed as thought half the population of the Base Camp was clinically delusional"
Leaders acknowledged that several clients didn’t have high altitude climbing experience
During the expedition several members felt ill, but they didn't give up
Leadership style doesn't matche situational control.
Charismatic leadership is employed in a transactional way that doesn't evaluate possible future changes.
High distance of power: people were unwilling to tell their opinions and always followed the initial instructions given to them.
"We had been specifically indoctrinated not to question our guides judgment” (Krakauer, CLIENT)
Tendency to stick to an ineffective course of action when it is unlikely that the bad situation can be reserved.
Huge initial investment (60,000 $)
Because of the physical suffering they need to achieve the result
Personal relations affected by past failures influenced the decision making process
Desire of fame (advertising through the clients)
"If a client sees that the summit is close and they are dead set on getting there, they are going to laugh in your face and keep going up.”
(Cutter, expert climber).
Explains how the set of decisions one faces for any given circumstance is limited by the decisions one has made in the past, even though past circumstances may no longer be relevant.
Take for granted various steps and best practices
Several past experiences played a role in planning future decisions
Excessive relief on weather timing used in the past 5 years
General sense of false perception: several season of good weather have led people to think of Everest as benevolent
Conflict with Sherpas about increasing wage.
The ropes weren't affixed on time
Too many climbers in queue for ascending
Inadequate equipment: oxygen supply related problems, few and old radios
Inefficiency of supplies: lack of bottled oxygen and high altitude tents
There was no trust between the peers, diffidence
"I attributed my growing unease to the fact that I'd never climbed as a member of such a large group, a group of complete strangers" (Krakauer, CLIENT)
“But the trust in one’s partner is a luxury denied to those who signed on as clients on a Everest ascent”. (Boukreev, GUIDE)
Communication distortion: oxygen misunderstanding
Non assertive communication style: timid and self-denying behavior of Beidleman (guide)
Languages barrier: Boukreev (guide) has poor language skills
HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)
HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)
Hypoxia: condition in which the body is deprived of oxygen supply
They underestimated the weather conditions and ignored the signs of the imminent storm
-73°C wind chill
Allow 2-way interaction (downward/upward) to encourage assertive communication
Improve relationships and interpersonal trust with meetings before the expedition
Encourage acknowledgment of differences in culture and seek common understanding
Increase the number of radios and use better equipment
Confront with other climbers who reached the summit before to have a different point of view
Group involvement and participation in order to stimulate problem solving and creativity (example: brainstorming)
Have both a charismatic and transactional leadership style
Delegation of decisions to the guides in case of emergency
Set strict rules ... and respect them!
Some climbers gave up reaching the summit.
5 people, included the leaders of the two expeditions, perished during the descent.
Many climbers were critically injured.
Lack of experience & physical skills
Leaders should select the right costumers
To set strict recruitment criteria to ensure members to have adequate skills, choosing people with at least one high altitude experience
Increasing physical training
Forming smaller teams with qualify members
Stimulate creativity by encouraging brainstorming
Strengthen formalization to guide the thinking
Involving in the decision making process skilled people external to the expedition to support teamwork
Delegation of responsibilities (and rotation of the decision makers) to have an effective communication and gather feedback to identify "emergency spot"
Taking in consideration the other groups actions
Lack of Planning & Formalization
Leaders should plan in advance, inform about the risks and follow the action plan
Having contingency plan to reduce risk
Written regulations manual delivered in advance
Allow guides and team members to speak with the leaders to have constant feedback of the current situation
Having more than enough supplies
Thank You !
From mt Everest to mt Brè
we are all driven by a common goal
some of us were connected before starting
moreover we shared similar background
we didn't have a lot of time
absence of a leader
there were some issue caused by our different decision making styles (directive, analytical, conceptual, behavioural)
From mt Everest to Markstrat
Some of you reached the ''Everest summit'' and some others didn't...
Could this be related to a decision making issue within the group's members?
A lot of time was lost trying to overcome logistical problems
Most of the climbers reached the top after the turnaround time
Some climbers were left alone and got lost in the snowstorm
M.A.Roberto, G.M.Carioggia. ''Mount Everest 1996''. (Harverd Business School,2003)
Janis & L. Mann. ''Decision Making: a psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment''. (New York: free press, 1977)
A. Korsgaard, D. Schweiger & H. Sapienza. ''Building commitment, attachment and trust in strategic decision making teams: the role of procedural justice''. (Academy of management journal, 1995)
E. Jones and R. Nisbett. ''The actor and observer: divergent perceptions of the causes of behavior''. (General learning press,1971)
Michael A. Roberto. ''Lessons from Everest: the interaction of cognitive bias, psychological safety and system complexity''. (Working paper 2002)
M. Useem. ''The leadership lessons of Mount Everest''. (Harvard's Business Review, 2001)
M. Buelens, K.Sinding, C.Waldstrom, R.Kreiter & A.Kinicki. ''Organisational Behaviour, 4th edition. (Mc Graw Hill,2011).
P.J. Montana & B.H.Charnov ''Management 4th edition''. (Barron's 2000)
David C. Thomas. ''Cross-Cultural management''. (Sage 2008).
Robert Markowitz FILM: Into thin air: death on Everest (1997)
The groups ignored weather conditions
Bad health conditions