High-performance or ‘just my job’?

Kenton Cool at Everest basecamp

Are some achievements down-played? 

We’ve all experienced times when we’ve congratulated a colleague/friend/family member on a fantastic achievement and they’ve responded modestly saying with a shrug, “Thanks, but I was just doing my job”. This can often detract from the achievement, moving us to think ‘OK, perhaps it’s nothing special’. But the reality is, there are examples of high-performance surrounding us every day and we believe these should be celebrated and applauded wherever possible. After all, what gets noticed gets repeated.

For example: Doctors and Nurses saving lives in A&E every day. Of course, they are ‘just doing their job’ but it’s a job that few of us could turn our hand to. Their level of professionalism, medical knowledge, competence and resilience ensures they operate at the outer-reaches of performance, on every single shift.

How about the customer service agent at the end of a helpline who has dealt with hundreds of customer complaints all day, yet when they speak to you they are patient, kind and helpful. Sometimes they might even ‘bend a rule’ to help resolve your issue. ‘Just doing their job’ but improving your day significantly at the same time.

This approach of performance as ‘business as usual’ is part of the DNA of ICC. Our very own Co-Founder, Kenton Cool, has achieved something truly remarkable this week, yet we bet our bottom dollar that when he’s interviewed about his achievement and is asked, “how did you do it”, he’ll respond with, “well… it’s my job”. His job as a professional mountain guide provides him with access to mountains all over the world, but he chooses year after year to go back to Everest in Nepal. The pull of the mountain is strong, his love for Nepal is plain to see, and his bond with long-time Sherpa team-mate, Dorjee Gyelzen, will last forever.

Yesterday Kenton summitted the world’s highest mountain for the 17th time, battling unseasonably cold temperatures, an unstable weather window, and the ever-present dangers of the death zone (over 8,000m). An Everest summit push is always fraught with anxiety: for Kenton, his client, his Sherpa team and everyone at home watching his tracker. The levels of execution required are beyond what most of us can imagine – it’s definitely high-performance in action!

Well done Kenton, we’re all really proud of you.

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