Teamwork is given a lot of lip service in the business world. On the side of a mountain, tethered to fellow adventurers by a rope and straining to achieve something you’ve been training more than 12 months to do, the concept takes on new meaning.
Mark Gregg, a C. T. Bauer College of Business MBA (’88) and founder of Kiwi Energy, has spent much of his life doing things others only dream about: skydiving, rafting the Zambezi river, bungee-jumping in New Zealand, paragliding, bobsledding the Olympic bobsled track in Park City, Utah, trekking in Thailand.
Gregg’s most recent accomplishment was scaling Mount Rainier in July, something he and his team had tried and failed to do a year earlier. This year’s summit, achieved after a grueling training regimen that included six months of weight training, stair-climbing and hiking with a 60-pound backpack, was “one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” Gregg says. “When we gained the summit crater I felt a wave of emotion that practically lifted me off my feet,” he says.
“It was a beautiful sunny day and all I could think of was that I had been preparing for this moment for 18 months and had finally made it.”
Though not every business leader is destined to find their bliss on the side of a mountaintop, there are clear parallels between the challenges Gregg pursues for fun and the strategies that work in business, he says.
Here are two that have revealed themselves to this former Bauer student that will no doubt resonate with both current students and other alums:
“Seemingly endless and/or impossible tasks can be completed successfully. I initially learned that running the Houston marathon, when, after seven miles it seemed impossible that I could run another 19, yet I did it. That ‘knowledge’, if you will, helped propel me up the three-day climb of Mt. Rainier, and helps me every day to face the complex, intractable problems that arise in an oil and gas exploration business.”
Secondly, Gregg says, “Common human traits such as wanting to dominate, control, etc., have to be subordinated to a desire for the team to succeed. Again, this helps me every day as I work with my multi-disciplinary team, particularly in sharpening my focus on getting everyone lined up and motivated to achieve a common goal.”
Gregg may have come to greater appreciation for teamwork through his recreational pursuits, but he first learned it at Bauer, he says. “I had a rewarding experience at Bauer that taught me the power of teamwork, great analytical skills and project management,” Gregg says. “In particular, I was able to put it all together in the real-world in Dr. (Betsy) Gelb’s class – our management consulting team performed consulting projects for Houston-based companies.”
By Julie Bonnin
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
About the Bauer College of Business
The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.