Byron's Babbles

Mount Everest Leadership (Part 1)

Posted in Coaching, Education, Education Reform, Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 5, 2013

Graphic Facilitation From Power Week Session 1

This past week during our Power Week Staff Training I modeled using a case study for facilitating learning for our staff. It was on e of the first sessions and I was amazed at how we then looked back to the case study I chose, Mount Everest – 1996, the rest of the week. I understand why Harvard University uses the case study method to teach their classes and am glad I had the opportunity to learn this method from Harvard first hand. Today, I begin Part 1 of a three part post to my blog using Mount Everest – 1996 as the focal point.


Graphic Facilitation From Mount Everest – 1996 Case Study Session

The case study of Mount Everest – 1996 also gave powerful imagery for the graphic facilitation we were also using for our week long of learning (see insert picture). If you are not familiar with the events on Mount Everest in 1996 I suggest you put Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster (1997) by Jon Krakauer on your 2013 must read list. 

There was both incredible achievement and great tragedy on Mount Everest in the spring of 1996. Ninety-eight men and women made it safely to the summit, but 15 did not return. Even some of the world’s most renowned high-altitude climbers, including Rob Hall and Scott Fischer reached the summit, but died during the descent because of a storm. Others barely escaped with their lives, and since then many have sought to understand what happened that day.

The first question that I asked the staff during the case study facilitation was: “Why do people climb mountains?” Here is the list that was developed:

  • Push oneself to the limit
  • Set goal to make it
  • See things and do things that haven’t been done
  • Rush
  • Ego
  • Recognition
  • Elite Club
  • Help others make it
  • Competition
  • The ultimate challenge
  • The love of doing it
  • The ultimate proving ground

As a leader, I get why some individuals want to make the climb. It is the idea of being a Trailblazer. Trailblazers go before others go. They don’t send someone where they are unwilling to go themselves. Trailblazers have been up the mountainous leadership challenges so others can come after. This is contrary to a travel agent who sends people places they have never been.

Today is the first day of school for the 2013-2014 year for our students. In my role as a Turnaround School Leader I am certainly a Trailblazer. From the list above I strive each day to be an effective Trailblazer leader from the love of doing this. My prayer is to help others involved in this important education reform work be successful and see and do things that haven’t been done before.

As we start school today I want us to help blaze the trail for our students in their world of education and learning. Our goal is for all our students to become lifelong learners. John Wooden said: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” When you are out of school, you are not out of the classroom. Life is the big classroom.

I love to learn and I want to share that love with others in the hope it will rub off. John Maxwell puts education in these three steps: 1. Learn; 2. Earn; and, 3. Return. Let’s not stop our learning with the formal education. Be an every day learner to be an every day grower!

2 Responses

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  1. get smart said, on August 20, 2013 at 5:40 am

    The very famous Mount Everest has been the subject for endless quotes & quotations by the likes of Edmund Hillary, Mallory, Krakauer, Messner, Allison & others.


  2. Are You A Sherpa? | Byron's Babbles said, on August 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    […] a case study of the Mount Everest -1996 disaster. I have actually posted about this before. Click here to read Mount Everest Leadership (Part 1) or here to read Mount Everest Leadership (Part 2). Out of […]


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