Guiding a Crew - 3 Tips for Project Managers

Shawn Berney guiding Pillow Rock on the Upper Gauley River, WV (Fall 2000)

As another summer long weekend arrives, I spent some time reflecting on it being 21 years ago this spring that I arrived at the New River Gorge in WV.

I left my job at Radio Shack - a job I had been working for around 5 years since grade 10 of high school - packed up my volkswagen golf with camping / paddling / rock climbing gear and and headed for the hills of WV.

In the following week, I would paddle some of the states most spectacular and challenging rivers. Hooked, I spent the next 3 years travelling between WV and Kamloops, British Columbia learning the trade of adventure guiding.

Here are several of the lessons that I learned as a guide that help me in Project Management:
  1. The boat moves forward best when we are all paddling together. If we aren't paddling together, we look like an epileptic spider bouncing down the river.
  2. If you want reliable results, be disciplined in your approach and ask for things in a calm way.
  3. Sometimes you are the guide, sometimes you are the crew, and sometimes you share the responsibility and paddle together. Always know which one of those you are doing.

Shawn Berney riding the pillow with his crew on the Upper Gauley, WV
(this photo taken a few seconds before the image on top)


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