Last year I spoke at a women's event about told my inspiring story of skiing across the Greenland Ice Cap (one of the worlds most hostile environments) and how a team of four of us managed to achieve this in 30 days. Afterwards, a young lady who works for a large international organisation, approached me and said how wonderful it would be if I could speak at her organisation and inspire some of her colleagues, particularly as they were going through many challenges at present.

Arctic scene

Now this particular individual works behind the scenes in the organisation in a role that is very important but perhaps not as glamourous as other roles within this organisation. She is not a Senior Manager, or a Director with access to large training budgets, but she knew that the message she heard that evening would be of real value to her colleagues and would help them to be inspired during these tough times.  She approached all the people that she thought could help with budgets but to no avail, it was not deemed to be top priority for people at her level currently.

However, she did not give up.  We had several email communications back and forwards and eventually after a lot of conversations, she had to express defeat as there was no budget available and she knew that my time was valuable and I would charge a fee.

By this time, I was intrigued. Here was a woman that was showing perseverance and passion.   In the face of adversity in her organisation, she was not giving up.  This is precisely the spirit that I talk about, and others are inspired by.  So I decided to help her and in the course of our discussions, we have found a win-win solution and I will be speaking to her colleagues later this year.

I intend to find out from her who her boss is, and make a point of writing a personal letter expressing how vital this spirit of perseverance is, and that she should be positively recognised in some way for her efforts and for not giving up.

So, are there people in your organisation that are being ignored?  I heard Margaret Heffernan deliver a brilliant workshop at the Women Presidents Organisation annual conference in Vancouver last week, on the topic of Willful Blindness. What do we miss in organisations because we are not looking out for it? It made me think, and reflect on what the key assumptions behind my business are that I might be missing.

Look out for signs of someone trying to tell you something, make time to truly listen, and be prepared to embrace information that may come from diverse routes!