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Our Asian Partners Climbing to the Summit

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Do you remember reading Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid?

I do – but in my wildest dreams I never thought that 20 years later I’d be reliving the experience during a ShoreTel event in Singapore.

In fact, it was a corporate training session like no other I’d experienced before

This year, for our FY15 Partner Kick-off in Singapore, the ShoreTel Asia team decided to do something a little different. We invited our strategic distribution and reseller channel partners from Singapore, Malaysia and The Philippines to a two-day “adventure learning simulation” training event with corporate trainer Peak Teams in Singapore on 4 and 5 September. We had close to 50 register, representing 15 ShoreTel reseller and distributor companies.

Walking into the room on a typically humid Singapore morning on the first day was a shock – we found ourselves shivering in icy and breezy conditions designed to simulate the adventure that we were all about to experience. In front of us we could see a climbing tent that had been pitched in the conference room and a giant screen with a picture of a climber on a snow-swept mountain, so we knew we were in for something different.

Once everyone had arrived, we formed into five teams (still shivering) and warmed up by watched some adrenaline-pumping climbing videos on the big screen. Then, Bruce Downing, ShoreTel’s Asia Managing Director, burst from the tent to let us know that we’d all be climbing Mount Cook, with a team goal of reaching the summit, a towering 3,754 metres and New Zealand’s highest mountain.

Over the next two days, with a limited time and depleting budget to achieve our goal to reach the top of Mt Cook, each team had to work together, making decisions and creating plans and strategies to deal with the challenges that faced us on the trip up.

Rather than the typical product or sales training sessions, this event was designed to strengthen the relationships ShoreTel has with our channel partners and build on our capability to collaborate as a team. ShoreTel’s success is built on the long-term relationships we have with our key partners in the region, and our ability to work together to achieve our business goals.

Each time we confronted with a challenge and had to make a choice, we were able to bring this back to the guiding principles of our business plans we develop with our partners and how we need to continually make decisions and changes along the way to achieve our overall business objectives.

Along the way, we had to deal with falls and frostbite, running out of food and money. Unfortunately, my team tried to summit too quickly, the weather closed in and we ended up turning back suffering from frostbitten fingers and toes.

By the end of the second day, I felt like I’d really climbed the mountain! The simulation was a great learning experience for me, fine-tuning the way I do business in terms of time management, leadership, business planning and even work-life balance. Working together as teams, the event also forged and strengthened the relationships we have with our partners.

We had similar feedback from our partners who attended, with one delegate writing that the event “refreshed our planning process and challenged our decision skills but it also paved the way for us to learn something from the other regional partners.”

A number of partners also said that they were already looking forward to next year’s adventure. Big wave surfing or kayaking down the Okavango Delta?