K2, sometimes called Savage Mountain, is located on the Pakistan-China border. It has the highest fatality rate of any mountain in the world, with approximately one in four climbers not making it back alive. One of the challenges of K2 is its sustained technical difficulty; its face is characterised by more than 45 degree angles with a rocky and icy surface, combined with sudden life-threatening changes in weather conditions. Climbers assemble at the base camp to attempt to summit this majestic mountain each year, typically between June and August.
Clearly most managers do not face challenges of this magnitude in their day-to-day work. However, by looking at such extremes we can identify concepts that can be applied valuably in more benign environments.