Reaching the Summit in Business

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The analogy of leadership akin to scaling a steep mountain is apt for many a business owner, CEO or principal. There are plenty of challenges and the need for teamwork and trust are beyond question. Both scenarios can throw extreme conditions towards even the most experienced leaders.

Rainer Petek has taken this analogy and created a unique platform from which to view leadership, introducing clients worldwide to his ‘mountain guide to North faces in your business’. What started out as a one-off request for the professional mountain climber to conduct management team exercises soon became his career; it was this moment that sparked his first book, and his subsequent journey into leadership training.

“In the reflections afterwards, I discovered that this experiential kind of training was very effective for the participants and they also were highly inspired by my personal experiences and stories,” he said.

“My biggest inspiration was always to work with people and help (and watch) them grow. It doesn ́t matter whether this happened on the mountains in the past or in business nowadays: to help people or teams to reach a new level of performance or development is a highly rewarding job.”

Encouraging intrapreneurship plays a big part in Rainer’s work, as he firmly believes it is essential to the success of any organisation. It is these people who find and solve many of an organisation’s problems, and are committed, passionate and loyal members of a team. Without intrapreneurs, innovation and progress may stall.

“In order to be able to deal with the highly dynamic environment, organisations need people at all levels who think and act like owners and are able to make fast and smart decisions. It ́s not a nice-to-have-thing, organisations really need it.”

“An intrapreneur is someone who sees a problem, an issue or an opportunity and decides to own it and to find a solution for it… Intrapreneurs create new business by thinking constantly about opportunities.”

In order to encourage intrapreneurialism, Rainer urges business owners to redefine their leadership role and break free of the fear and politicisation that often circles around forward-thinking staff. Just like on the mountains, it takes a team to reach the peak, with each member bringing their own strengths and skills to carry the group to ultimate success.

Rainer suggests business owners take a critical look at the type of leader they are portraying and ask themselves;

“Who am I as leader? The one that feels obliged to have the ideas and that makes all the decisions? Or, am I the one that feels responsible to create a system, where smart ideas, innovations and intelligent decisions emerge naturally?

“In reality this can be the crucial transition for leaders.”

Once a leader has the strength to carry out this type of self-observation, they are more equipped to welcome intrapreneurs and reap the benefits of a more fluid, dynamic and future-focused team. There is not an organisation on the planet that could not benefit from more creativity and innovation in its ranks.

As for intrapreneurs themselves, Rainer’s advice is to “have the long wind and not give in early”. It takes patience, fortitude and strength of will to break through the barriers and work around those who strive to maintain the status quo. Intrapreneurs need both leaders and colleagues on their side, so must work hard not only on their ideas, but convincing others of their merit.

For leaders and intrapreneurs alike, Rainer’s final advice is “don’t climb solo”.

“Although you could have been the source or the original owner of an idea, you should have the ability to let go your baby or at least open up some space for others to become co-owners,” he said.

Maintaining upward momentum climbing a mountain or in the boardroom requires team work.

See Rainer in action at the Australian Intrapreneurs Summit in Brisbane on the 14th of March where he is delivering the closing keynote.

He is in Australia for just two days. If you would like to book him to speak for your organisation or event on Friday the 15th of March contact irena@drirenayashinshaw.com ASAP.

To read more on Rainer Petek, visit: www.rainerpetek.com