What has team work gotta do with success?

I recently read the article, a reprint by Readers Digest on Tenzing Norgay. He was born the humble son of a Nepalese yak herder and became famous after he was one of the first two people in history to reach summit of Mount Everest on 29th May 1953.

Many people asked him “Who actually reached the top first?”

Read his reply to this burning question as recorded in his biography “Tiger of the snows”:

“The rope that joined us was 9m long but I held most of it in loops in my hand, so that there was only about 1.8m between us. I was not thinking of “first” and “second”. I did not say to myself, “There is a golden apple up there. I will push Hillary aside and run for it.” We went on slowly, steadily. And then we were there.

Hillary stepped on top first. And I stepped up after him. If it is a discredit to me that I was a step behind Hillary, then I must live with that discredit.”

What a beautiful honesty he displayed:) It was simply we did it together.

Along the way, he also shared about how two other teams tried but did not reach the summit. Yet the teams, exhausted as they were, “did everything they could to advise us and help us.”

“It is only because of work and sacrifice of all of them that Hillary and I were now to have our chance at the top.”

As Hilllary and Tenzing started their ascent, they had another team ahead of them to help cut the steps for them. “The steps cut by others made the going easier for us.”

And on 29 May, the morning of ascending the summit, Hillary’s boots were frozen and they had to de-freeze it for over an hour over the stove. Although they both woke up at 3.30am, it was only at 6.30am that they went on their journey.

And yes, what a journey. His life changed after that victorious moment.

And for all the preparation,slogging, Hillary did not take a picture of himself at the summit. He took one for Tenzing and lots for the mountain.

Wow. What an incredible pair.

Imagine if you were the first to summit the highest mountain in the earth. Yet you do not have a single picture of yourself at the summit.

Here are two men, both of different nationalities, one is a New Zealander and the other a Nepalese yet with a common goal.

Tenzing trained hard and was chosen to summit because he has enough experience and also he was found to be “more fit that anyone else” when the doctors examine him at the base camp.

Team work is the precursor of success. Success is never achieved alone.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, he again outlined the factors that led to a person achieving success. It is due not just to his talent but also to the circumstances that helped him become who he is.

The ingredients for success are simply these:

– talent

– diligence

– perseverance

– hunger

– humility

– gratefulness and teamwork. 

‘As I covered up the offering, I say a silent prayer …”Tuji che Chomolungma. I am grateful…”‘

Are you grateful for the opportunities that come your way? Do you use them wisely?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  – James 3:7

Useful links:

About Tenzing Norgay

Wikipedia: Tenzing Norgay

A brush with chinese ink@Kampung Temasek

It was the first time I combined chinese ink with a debriefing session using the “Knowing Me Knowing You” booklet and also Yong Tau Foo team scorecard. After a 2D1N stay at the rustic and scenic Kampung Temasek at Ulu Tiriam, JB where we did various activities like square foot gardening, outdoor cooking, building a raft and also pitching a busha, tying knots, it was my turn to wrap up the 2D1N session with the YTF tools with all the members.

The night before was the first time in many years I slept on a cold hard floor in the hut and windy as it is, the cacophony of bats, toads and other night creatures proved to be a different sort of experience for me. I realised that I am not such an outdoor person and as gunghu as some of my team members when a bat happily came into our hut.

Being a city folk, I went back to the safety of the attached bathroom and only came out after the bats left – when we accidentally discovered that switching off the lights made the bats exit! My two other hut mates were more adventurous and probably more at ease with these living creatures than me!

The de-brief was conducted in the cool shade of the big central shed and though all the members had never held a chinese ink brush before, they gamely joined in and tried to draw “Fu” or  “福” and also a picture of bamboo or “竹” despite just a brief lesson by me. As bamboo were used for building the shed and the make shift raft, I thought it make great sense to include how to draw them during the de-brief.

The de-brief was also a chance for the participants to give their input about what they think the rest of the members were – Chilli, Fishball, BeeHoon or Bittergourd, which traits stand out well during the 2D1N where they interacted!

Here are some pix of them during the activity:

Team building for Ai Tong Choir@HK

A session was held for the 37 students who were on a choir tour in Hong Kong from 6-10 Nov. They were on a school choir tour together with 4 of their teachers and 1 choir director. The itinerary included choir exchanges with renown choir like Hong Kong children’s choir as well as performing at the promenade@Avenue of the Stars. The team building session I conducted was to help the students to gel better and get to know one another’s strengths and motivators. It was held at the Harbour Plaza Resort City’s function room, a resort hotel that is in the New Territories, Hong Kong. Despite a full schedule in the day, they were enthusiastic and very engaged with the activities. Kudos to the Ai Tong students(P3-P6) who came across as well disciplined and keen to learn.

Click for more pix

Group sharing - the Chilli's
Group sharing - the Chilli's
What's your score? Scoring using Yong Tau Foo Team© scorecard
What's your score? Scoring using Yong Tau Foo Team© scorecard
Group pix - the Bittergourds
The puzzle

Team Building with Animation

A session was conducted for about 20 teachers at Victoria Sec to see how team building skills (as in Yong Tau Foo team@) can be applied in working together for an animation project – “To create a bookworm” by Animagine, a local animation company which also did the highly successful NE Mation series for schools.

Participants were given hands-on session on how team strategies can help them deliver better outcomes and what to avoid when working in teams. The final animation product, a bookworm that slurps up his book!…mmm delicious
Here’re the pix, enjoy:)

2nd Preview at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves – Marina Bay Link Mall

It was a great and fun Sat morning. 7 adults and 2 kids. Seems that the previews are great for family outings too 🙂
My last preview I had youngest participant, Jeremy at 8 years old. This time round, the age limit was pushed to a 4 year old, Toon Toon. Did the young boy understand YTF?
3 adults who signed up fell sick and couldn’t make it last minute. A few were held up with work committments.
“Very casual yet engaging” is probably what summed up the feelings of those present. A couple of other feedback were useful for the product development too! Thanks folks for making time to come.

Pssst. The youngest participant still remains as Jeremy, 8 years old from HK-SIS. A precocious kid he is:)
The participants came from different industries and occupations – engineers, teacher, translator, education travel and system analyst for software.
Best part of all: get to drink good coffee and tea, nice cakes and yet learn about team strategies in a relaxed and fun manner. Work can be fun and should be fun!
Enjoy the pix.

One activity that we were doing...
One activity that we were doing...
Part of the group pix
Part of the group pix

Yong Tau Foo Team© Preview Launch of new series

It was an interesting group of people who turned up for the preview at SingCapital on 29th Jul (Friday). The youngest in group was Jeremy who is 8 years old. It was the first time I conducted a workshop for mixed group of participants. The ten people at the preview ranges from a Vietnamese scholar studying at NUS, trainers, ex-principal, teacher, two directors of their own companies and 2 primary school students from Hong Kong.

Enjoy the pix!

What's the time?
What's the time?

The group
The group