Mount Everest: Where Partnerships Are Forged & Loyalty Is Tested

by Johnny Kovacevic

Every year just under 1,000 courageous, thrill seeking people attempt to climb Mount Everest, only half succeed. At 8,848 m, Mount Everest is the trophy climb for many mountaineers if not all.

The time frame to summit is small and conditions can change rapidly. You will need enough energy and mental will power to sustain 12-18 hours of climbing to summit and get back down to base camp 4. The actual climb and push for summit being roughly 7 days. Being physically fit and mentally strong helps your chances but doesn’t guarantee you will summit or survive.

Over the years Everest has taken many lives and for some people the dream of a lifetime quickly turns into a fight for survival. Once you pass 8,000 metres, what climbers refer to as the death zone, the average person takes 30% of oxygen into their lungs. This is where most fatalities occur and the role of Sherpas become pivotal to your survival.    

Sherpas are required to constantly monitor weather conditions, check equipment, climbing gear, oxygen tanks, secure ropes, prepare ladders, are required to set up camp, assess the climbing routes and their client’s physical and mental state, all under extreme conditions.  

Loyalty to their client, their role and their reputation is tested the entire journey. The stakes are high as their clients look to them for guidance, motivation and every decision about which direction to take next. Each decision either helping them with their ultimate goal of summiting, surviving and in some cases the wrong decision may see them never make it back.    

Does your company support like a Sherpa?

Think of yourself and your company as a Sherpa and the role you play when it comes to ensuring your business partners achieve their goals:

  1. Are you prepared to help your partners navigate through challenging business conditions?
  2. Do you understand their strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Is the right support structure in place?
  4. Is your communication clear, regular and effective?
  5. Is your strategy designed to increase performance, get the best out of your partners and ensure they utilise best practice behaviours in order to succeed?
  6. Have you thought about their entire journey, mapped it out and considered what they will need and when?
  7. Have you supplied them with the right tools and equipment?
  8. Is your relationship built on trust and honesty?
  9. Can they rely on you?
  10. Have you built up enough loyalty that they would happily recommend your product or service to potential clients?  



Like Sherpas, you play a pivotal role in helping your business partners succeed and achieve their goals. By giving partners the right tools at every stage of their journey, ongoing support and motivating them through challenging times, you become the Sherpa that helps them summit their own Mount Everest.   

Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first two men to summit Mount Everest. This monumental occassion occurred at 11:30 am on 29 May 1953. While Hillary claimed that he and Norgay reached the summit together, Norgay claimed Hillary was up their first. A true partnership is about people working together, acknowledging and sharing their success. However it happened, Edmund and Tenzing remained lifelong friends. 

When was the last time you helped a business partner achieve their goals and did it create long term loyalty?