In the hectic world of running a UK SME, executives must take on several challenges. Some of these challenges one faces as a team, supported by a collective unit, and others are faced on a more individual basis. Writing for the Leaders Council, Medical Engineering Techologies [MET] boss Mark Turner discusses one of the major individual challenges one of his colleagues is facing in aid of charitable causes.
Running an SME is a huge challenge. There are so many aspects to consider, including cash-flow, work in progress, pipeline, sales and marketing, future developments, staff management, ordering and stock, QA, fulfilment, client relations, delivery, environment and facilities, and health and safety, to name but a few.
This vast array of challenges demonstrates why teamwork and communications are so important. For example, in a football team everyone knows what their job is, hopefully they all have the same strategy and they certainly all have the same objective. Therefore, in leading any team, the first thing is defining the goal and the strategy.
The second priority is to make sure that everyone is working towards the same goal by the same means. Clearly defined roles with the opportunity to stretch oneself and make a valued contribution further enhance motivation. People need to know that they are contributing to success and the more success they have, the more that they will have. Part of a leader’s role in this sense is to find something positive in any situation and tell everyone on their team what a great job the unit is collectively doing.
However, some challenges are a bit more individual. Our sales professional at MET, Sarah Philpott, is facing a daunting challenge of her own in aid of charity. She will spend a minimum of 10 hours [20 hours for some people] in seawater at a maximum temperature of 16ᵒC whilst swimming 33 kilometres across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
It is not a completely solo effort. There is the trainer, the support from friends, family and colleagues, the support ship crew, and her pet dog, Bonnie. Sarah will be swimming across the English Channel [Straits of Dover] on September 14, 2020, to raise funds for two charities. One of these is Fifth Sense, an organisation that researches causes and cures for the loss of the sense of smell. The second is Worldwide Cancer Research. This charity funds research investigation treatments and prevention measures for a wide variety of cancers at institutes in many countries.
The calorie burn during the swim is likely to exceed 10,000, although we are not seeing a need for Sarah to lose weight. One estimate is that 750,000 swim strokes are required. The first Channel crossing was made in 1875 by Matthew Webb, with over 1,800 swimmers making the trip since. This makes the challenge more intrepid than climbing the world’s highest peak. Over 5,000 people have reached the summit of Everest since 1953. The South Pole is of similar popularity to the swim, with around 1,600 people overwintering during the last 70 years.
Sarah has participated in a relay swim across the Channel and in the Cycle Race Across America. She was also a member of the British triathlon team. She will be accompanied on the journey by a support boat. The boat crew have three main functions, navigation being one. This is actually a complicated task because of the tides. The actual distance travelled is usually much more than the length of the direct crossing because of the tides sweeping the swimmers up and down the Channel. The second purpose is feeding. The boat crew are not allowed to contact Sarah, so food is handed out on a pole. The third duty is to ensure that the swimmer gets out of the water before they become hypothermic, even if that decision is taken within a few hundred meters of the far shore.
Medical Engineering Technologies is getting fully behind Sarah in support of this magnificent effort and these charities that will be benefiting from her feat.
The charity Fifth Sense provides support and advice to people affected by smell and taste-related disorders. It is a unique organisation based in the UK, which works internationally to promote understanding, diagnosis and treatment. This is done by explaining the impact that disorders of these senses can have on sufferers.
Worldwide Cancer Research is a discovery stage charity. They have invested over $300 million into bold ideas that might one day develop into cancer cures. The emphasis is on new drug development. It is a charity which finds and funds pioneering, innovative research at the discovery stage into any type of cancer, anywhere in the world.