Bears and Brandy
Is a challenge that can drive you up a tree!!
In challenging time haste makes waste!
Everyone knows that bears love picnic baskets!
What you should know is just how much bears love black berry brandy.
Packing for a canoe trip is not complicated for example:
Only pack what you are willing to carry
Don’t put food in you personal pack
You don’t need to smell pretty in the woods so leave those sweet smelling personal items home
Transfer liquid items into plastic containers with leak proof seals
Etc. Most of what you just read is common sense and not hard to figure out.
What you want to remember is bears can’t read but they do have a wonderful sense of smell.
It was six in the morning as were breaking camp early to make up for lost time. A bear was also up and decided to visit our camp. This bear did not just mosey into camp acting nosey as bears often do. No this bear went quickly and directly to Tom’s nicely rolled up down sleeping bag.
The bear immediately took the sleeping bag and went for the nearest and tallest white pine on the campsite. We were all dumbfounded and could not imagine what the bear could possibly want with Tom’s sleeping bag.
The bear shredded the bag with his claws and found what it was looking for…a sweet smelling plastic bottle of blackberry brandy. Oh what a delightful moment in this bears life and what a frightful moment for Tom. Tom not only lost his brandy but he also was watching his next four night of sleeping comfort come floating down in the form of a blackberry scented goose down snowstorm.
Tom exclaimed that he thought that in his haste he could save time by rolling the brandy bottle in his sleeping bag. He said he knew the group had to get a move on since we had lost a day of travel due to a previous day of storms and that he was saving time and couldn’t see at the time the implications of his decision.
The bear eventually worked its way down the tree and strolled off into the woods with the remnants of the bag in its powerful jaws.
We all along with Tom recognized that it was now 8:30am and realized that we had fallen further behind and would have to push ourselves even harder throughout the day in order to meet our tow boat arranged pick up time on the following day.
Haste during challenging times does make waste!
Our individual view of reality as consultants is based on our feelings that our consulting beliefs are true and real and selected from authentic information we have observed.
How did we find our first class guides?
We decided that we would look for our future guides from the people who signed up for our trips.
What did we look for?
The key was to watch for natural wilderness aptitude and skills as well as high levels of emotional intelligence.
What were the key behaviors that our guides were always on the lookout for?
Enthusiasm, appreciation for the environment, empathy for adventurers that were having difficulty, acts of initiative, contribution to group moral and expressed interest in guiding and sharing their views.
How did we engage our potential guides?
Trips 1, 2 & 3 - Each candidate became a GIT (Guide in Training). Support the guide!
Trips 4 & 5 - Each GIT took the lead with the guide in tow to provide supervision!
Trips 6 & 7- Two GITS guided together.
What was our final event before hiring as a full time guide?
Trip participants were not asked to evaluate their guide’s performance!
Instead we had a steak campfire dinner after each trip and we listened to the stories about the completed adventure! Listening to their stories told us more that any evaluation form ever could.
We did all the above for 18 years! We had only one unpleasant outcome in all those years! We received a call from a customer who indicated that their guides told them that after dinner was served they were no longer available to prepare two lake trout for a late night snack! This was contrary to our customer’s previous experience on other trips ~ an unpleasant story to say the least.
What did we do? We gave them their money back!! No need to say more.
No talent discovery or engagement process is perfect but keep at it because the benefits far exceed the imperfections. The time and effort you put into your talent discovery and engagement process will contribute to the pride and ownership your guides/employees take in your organization. You customer’s stories will be a major contribution to your organizations future.
Questions our blog community would like to hear your responses to:
· How do you identify talent in your own organization?
· How do you discover talent from outside your organization?
· Who do you have watching for it?
· How do you engage new hires?
· Or do you ask people to jump on to a fast moving train and find their own seat and fit
We had been guiding canoe trips for years. And we took certain routes because we felt they offered the adventures we had promised our customers. Mark our partner helped create new routes and was constantly coming up with new ideas that were appealing to both our other guides as well as our customers.
One of Mark’s innovations was to include night travels on those perfect evenings when the moon was full and the night sky cloudless. To sit around a campfire at night is peaceful and meditative but to travel at night safely was sensory awaking and confidence building.
Traveling at night you hear the beavers working, the swirls of your paddle as you poke it in the still water, as well as, the sound of the canoe gliding through the water. Your vision adjusts to the darkness and a whole new trip unfolds and you begin to realize that by getting out of your comfort zone you have awakened the opportunity to discover new wonders.
We believe that accepting the challenge of the night paddle contributed to building the confidence of both our guides as well as our customers.
What do you think? Have you had a similar experience?
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