In business, you take risks all the time, says Jamling Tenzing Norgay
Anand Adhikari December 31, 2014
Jamling Tenzing Norgay is a much sought after motivational expert in the corporate world. His late father Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese sherpa, was the first to climb Mount Everest with New Zealander Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Jamling, who has penned a book Touching My Father's Soul, himself climbed Mt Everest in 1996. In an interview with Anand Adhikari on the sidelines of the BT-MindRush event in New Delhi recently, Jamling discusses the similarity between business and mountaineering, among other things. Edited excerpts:
Q. You studied business administration at a US university. Can things like leadership, teamwork, etc., be learnt by going to a management school?
Q. How do you resolve differences?
A. In business, you take risks all the time. Your client trusts and relies on you. You are basically his guide. As a business manager, you have to make sure that the capital is protected. Life is not a straight line, there is a zig zag. There are obstacles on the way... You have to make sure to adapt and adjust to the changing situation.
Q. The post-2008 global crisis hit the corporate world like an avalanche. How do you deal with rough weather or sudden changes?
A. In our world, we have no idea what is going to happen. When we are climbing a mountain, the chances of coming back are 50:50. There is no guarantee of making it to the top. This is irrespective of whether you are the best or the worst climber in the world. It all depends on the conditions. You should not mess with nature. You [have to] learn to respect it.
A. On April 18, 2014, 16 sherpas died in an avalanche. That's a huge loss. It is a hazardous terrain. [But] we take risks. If you are at a wrong place at the wrong time, something is going to happen to your life. You come back and then try to work out another route. But this year, as a mark of respect for [our] sherpa brothers, nobody climbed.
Q. There is not much motivation left when you are climbing down after achieving success. How do you motivate yourself then?
A. You come back again. You have to keep trying. Never push your luck. Don't force it. If you force it, you will make it, but you will not come back alive. A lot of people have made that mistake. So, a smart climber will go as far as possible, as far as it is safe. And if they feel it is not safe, the best decision is to come back down because you can always do it later.
The mountains will always be there. You can always come back next year. My father tried six times and never gave up. On his seventh attempt, he made it. In his sixth attempt in 1952, he was just 400 metres away from the summit, but he came back down because of bad weather. Otherwise, they would have made it to the top, but they wouldn't have made it alive. The next year, my father made it. Always be patient.
Q. Tell us about the corporate interest in engaging with a motivational expert like you?
A. There is not much sense of adventure... People don't take the time out to try adventure. There are beautiful mountains just a few hundred kilometres from New Delhi. We need to get more people outdoors. The children have to go outdoors more. It's very important. Look at Europe, where kids start skiing at the age of four. Here, people give a TV remote or tablets to kids to play games. We have to change that mentality.