Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Three Business Lessons Learned from Mountaineering

What does success look like?

Grace Vandecruze, an accomplished leader in the financial services industry, recently answered that question for us when she visited our campus to speak to our Consumer Experience team.
Not only is Grace a trailblazer among insurance executives, she's also an avid mountaineer and has summited some of the world’s highest mountains.
Along her journeys, she has learned many lessons about success and how to achieve it as part of a team—and she shared a few of them with us.

Here are three key takeaways we’re applying to our transformational journey as an organization:
1.     It takes a team to achieve a major goal.
You can’t climb a mountain alone. It takes an entire team, and each person has a role to play that helps everyone successfully complete the journey. Make sure you connect and leverage relationships and the strengths of others. 
In business, it’s no different. At CUNA Mutual Group, we exist to help people achieve financial security. As we build new capabilities and transform our organization to better meet the needs of today’s consumers, we’ve faced challenges and learned we can overcome these challenges when we’re aligned and working together.

2.     Understand the value of small steps.
When you reach the top of a mountain, your journey is not complete. In fact, you’re only halfway there—you still need to make it back down. It’s crucial to keep your focus every step of the way.
Summiting a mountain is not a linear journey, and neither is an organizational transformation. As we work to design better experiences for our customers, we’ve experienced many twists and turns along the way. However, taking an agile approach throughout our teams has helped us navigate more efficiently, and we’ve seen the value in taking iterative steps to move closer to the end goal. 
3.     There is no failure—only learning and adapting.
In mountaineering, there is no failure. Mountaineers 
view any setback or challenge as an opportunity t
learn and rethink the strategy.” -- Grace Vandecruze 
“In mountaineering, there is no failure,” said Grace. “Mountaineers view any setback or challenge as an opportunity to learn and rethink the strategy.” Adjusting your approach doesn’t mean failure, it means you learned something.

There are many lessons from mountaineering that parallel with the business world. For us, the biggest takeaway is that success will come as the entire team moves forward together. It’s not just about making it to the top—reaching any long-term goal takes time, teamwork, and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Which of these lessons will you follow as you climb on to reach your major goals?