Global teamwork takes you higher

By Heidi Coraizin

I came across this quote the other day, and it reminded me of a moment I experienced with a group of people not too long ago:

“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together” – Vista M. Kelly

My friend and I were hiking up Lion’s Head in Cape Town, South Africa. Upon reaching the summit, we gazed out across Cape Town and my friend’s eyes fell on Table Mountain, and she suggested we should plan a hike up Table Mountain and spend the night at the top. Without hesitation I agreed, as it seemed to be a great idea, something I have never done before.

The very next day arrangements were starting to be made, dates were suggested and numerous people were asked to join. I did not comprehend the amount of planning that this all entailed. Various lists were drawn up and updated numerous times. A list of what to bring along, a list of what not to bring along, a list of groceries to buy, a list of duties assigned to each hiker. Each person was then allocated specific items to carry in their backpacks to share the load.

The day finally arrived, and we were all packed and ready to make our way to the top. The group consisted of eight people with various hiking experience as well as various fitness levels. Some were friends and others were strangers I just met. Short introductions were made and our hiking guide briefed us on the intensity and duration of the hike.

It started out with loads of chatting and excitement amongst the group but as the incline started to increase we began to really feel the weight of the backpacks. Soon we were taking more frequent breaks and sharing snacks as we all walked along the mountain trail, helping each other along.

Global teamwork takes you higher

Six hours later, with aching backs and tired feet, we reached the spot where we were going to settle for the night, an old cabin on top of the mountain with no electricity or running water. We unpacked our backpacks and started on our assigned duties for dinner. Each person knew what they had to do and what was expected of them.

A fire was made, the table was set, food was prepared and we all came together and enjoyed a warm meal. With our bellies full and the tiredness starting to creep upon us, we all rolled out our sleeping bags underneath the stars and shared stories.

Looking up at the stars, I realized at that moment that each person in the hiking group had contributed to this very experience. It was a team effort, and without each person’s contribution, no matter how big or small, we would not have had this memorable moment.

When I joined the ThinkSmart team a few months ago, as a newbie I had all the typical thoughts go through my head. What is the team dynamic like? What is the culture at ThinkSmart? Will I fit in? How does one build relationships when you are in the Mother City, eating biltong and drinking your second cup of rooibos tea when some of your team members are so far away they have not even hit their snooze buttons yet?

It soon became apparent to me that the team I interact with daily is a group of individuals who are passionate about what they do and are invested in ThinkSmart and the clients we interact with. A group of individuals that not only love building workflows but who all have the same goals and vision for ThinkSmart.

This team dynamic reminded me of the Table Mountain hike and how much you can accomplish when a group of people can come together as a team and know what is required from each member and know the importance of their role in the greater scheme of things.

Even though we are a global team, based in various parts of the world, and some of us might wake up to snow-covered backyards while others might be walking along the beachfront in the summer sun, and others might be looking up at the night sky at that very moment, no matter where we are in the world we come together as a team: the ThinkSmart Team.