Polar Explorer and International Speaker Ann Daniels knows all about building resilient teams. She and her teammate Caroline Hamilton were the first women in history to lead all female teams to the north and south poles. Here, Ann shares her tips for facing challenges, overcoming adversity and keeping your team motivated for success.
Ann believes that a mentality of consistently hard work and continuous improvement are valuable assets when facing adversity. During her North Pole expedition in 2002, when up against a seemingly impossible objective and under excruciating conditions – slow progress, extreme weather and carbon monoxide poisoning – she maintains that it was her refusal to admit defeat that set her team apart and contributed so much to their success:
“Despite our injuries and slow progress we kept going, taking every day as it came, overcoming every obstacle as it came.” explains Ann.
Described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘one of the top 20 Great British Adventurers of all times’, when she started training for her first expedition, Ann was a single mother of 18 month old triplets with no outdoor experience and a seemingly impossible ambition. However, a combination of hard work and her inability to give up paid dividends and against the odds she got on the team which started her incredible polar career:
“It’s about making a choice. Choose your attitude and then take the necessary action. Don’t just work hard when you’re feeling motivated but do it when you’re not. Choose to do a little bit extra each time.”
It is clear that it is this positive attitude, as well as her strong sense of self and fervent values, that have helped Ann to inspire others. She advocates vision and collaboration and believes that leading by example is key to building a successful and resilient team:
Ann said “Lead by example, don’t ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself, value everyone for what they have to give, celebrate small successes, be humble but not afraid to make decisions and work together for success rather than set yourself aside.
“Talk about the setbacks and work together to find a solution and move forward. Stay positive yourself and move forward together. Support the team through the difficult times and celebrate the successes.”
Even after achieving so much in her career, Ann strives to further her work in the Arctic and fulfil her ambitions. Her aim is to take a group of individuals facing difficulties to the North Pole to prove that everybody can have a fulfilling future. For Ann, team success is all about believing in others and working together:
“For me, most importantly, if everyone does all they can to not only perform at their best but to help each other achieve. That’s when the magic happens.”
Ann Daniels will share her ‘Lessons in Mental Toughness’ at Astley Media’s Road to Resilience’ event at Exeter’s RAMM on 5 October.