May 27, 2024


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Business Leadership: Empowering Lessons to Take Away From Mountain Climbing 

Peak Performance: Lessons in Leadership from Mountain Guides - Knowledge at  Wharton

There have been many famous business leaders around the world who have spoken about the lessons they have learned from mountain climbers. It was also the reason behind their quick business success in a competitive business world.

Naturally, this made us curious to know what they could have learned from their mountaineers that enabled them to be so good at their careers. And we believe that you might be just as curious as us. Hence, we decided to reach out to Yousef Hamed Al Refaie – one of the most accomplished adventurers, mountaineers, and explorers the world has ever seen.

He has been given the title of being the youngest man, the 24th worldwide, and the first Middle East and Arab to have ever completed the Volcanic Seven Summits Challenge.

Initially, Al Refaie was determined to make his love for exploring and mountaineering a professional scope. In 2015, he decided to start with his Volcanic Seven Summit Challenge with Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

After successfully venturing on that journey, he moved on to the Elbrus in Russia, Mount Giluwe in the continent of Oceania, the Ojos Del Salado in Chile, Damavand, Iran, and then Sidley, Antarctica.

As a professional in the mountaineering industry, we approached him and learned so much from his work and passion. As a result, we have learned valuable lessons from him that have contributed to why so many people in business have found quick success in their ventures.


The most important thing that mountaineers need to understand is that their work involves the force of nature – the destructive ability of the mountainous environment can result in dangerous situations for climbers.

The best approach to the object must be the realization that we are vulnerable and must always keep our ego in check. Moreover, we must listen to what our team has to say: motivation, tactics analysis, second opinions, or risk assessments.


Trusting your team is a foundational quality of a veteran mountain climber. This requires one to have proficiency, confidence, tact, and transparency. If you have to trust your partner with anything, you need to be convinced of their competence.

You need to inform your group if you are sick or cannot do a specific task. This way, the team can assess one another skills and work together to form a group of people who support one another through their unique skill sets toward their end goal.


Mountaineering is an endurance sport that requires one to understand all of its aspects and develop physical and mental strength for a successful summit attempt.

The veterans are the ones who know how to pace themselves and maintain just the right amount of energy to last the entire mountaineering journey. Of Course, other stresses of life from the environment can trigger one’s abilities. There are even times when such circumstances can put good friends against each other. Hence, those who have proper command over their mind and body can make or break their team’s success.