How do you put a team together? What do you take into account when evaluating potential team
Physical Fitness - As individuals, each team member must have the requisite physical fitness to
be able to walk for 8 to 9 hours per day, and cover approximately 20 to 25 km daily over varying
terrain while carrying a backpack weighing up to 20kg. In certain areas there are footpaths used by
Lesotho herdsman and traders, in most areas, no footpaths at all. The terrain is definitely not flat.
The trail is principally a sequence of ascents and descents, some gentle and some steep. When
contouring to maintain height, this is often down walking along a sloping surface without a path
and this can place stress on knees and feet.
Mental Fitness - The ability to persevere regardless of the weather, personal pain, or fatigue, and
with due consideration to the impact of one's own performance on the group as a whole. The
group is only as fast as the slowest member. This is a hike with few choices. The hills wont go
away, the weather will be what it is. Starting the hike, each member must be mentally prepared to
take what comes.
Maturity - A team is merely a collection of individuals. Group function depends on the individual
attitudes of each member. The team is to be together for 12 days or so and each member must
manage his own thoughts and behaviour to minimise the negative impact on the group and
maximise the chances of successfully completing the hike. The best definition I know of maturity
is the ability to adapt one's behaviour (not value system) to maximise the potential for positive
outcomes in a relationship. Once the team is put together and the hike starts, it is key that all
members demonstrate maturity in their interactions and prevent unnecessary conflict and contain
disproportionate responses. Complaining does not change reality, it merely creates additional
stress. Conflict between members does not contribute positively to group well being.
Group Size - There are some challenges logistically as group size increases. The larger the group,
the more difficult it may become to ensure that all are ready to start on time in the mornings and
after tea or lunch breaks. Time spent waiting for the team to regroup after climbs or slow sections
may also increase. Stress increases as the variance in individual performance increase.
Organising support teams to carry up supplies also becomes difficult as more volunteers are
needed for larger group support. Travel logistics is also impacted.
Our group of to six proved to be cohesive and easily manageable. All members had the maturity
needed and no-one was short of mental fitness. For some, particularly myself, fitness improved
on the hike making it easier as we progressed from day to day.