So… there you were in the big meeting at your organization, when all of the sudden you were tapped to lead a team to the deadly summit of K-2. Well, not exactly, but close…a major building project. Does someone want me dead?  Is it a test of my leadership skills?  (Meh, a little column A, a little column B)

Or maybe this honor has been bestowed on you because you climbed a foothill before and someone above you saw you in a North Face hoodie, once, from a distance.

Or maybe you are the leader of your organization and you’ve done this kind of climb before. You remember the stress, drama, sideways energy and the toll it took on you, your team and the organization. What you need is a Sherpa. Someone who’s been there and done that and still has all their toes, fingers and a nose.

Someone who lets you lead your expedition but helps pick the right mountain, train your group of climbers and map a path that gets you to the summit AND back down. You want to live and come back in one piece to the pats-on-the-back or org. ticker tape parade, or just the cheesy appreciation plaque/certificate on the wall that reminds people “You got something built”.

Having played Tenzing Norgay’s (First Sherpa to reach Everest with a tall bee keeper from N.Z. named Ed Hillary) roll for 25 years, I’ve seen a few ways organizations attempt “climbing” building projects.

Here are 4 typical stories:

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