RoBe Event: A Different Perspective on Risk Management

Swiss alpinist Dani Arnold at the Breitwangflue in the Bernese highlands
On October 25, 2019, current and future students of the CAS for Boards of Directors as well as alumni and guests were invited to the lecture with professional mountaineer, mountain guide, lateral thinker and Rochester-Bern brand ambassador Dani Arnold.

The highlight of the event was a brilliant, impressive multimedia show followed by an interview moderated by Prof. Dr. Petra Joerg, mountaineer and CEO of Rochester-Bern. The focus of the rousing show and Dani Arnold’s exciting stories was to discover parallels between the world of mountain sports and the business world.

Dani grew up in the Schächental valley at 1720 meters above sea level in the canton of Uri. There was no soccer field in the steep mountain valley. For this reason, he buried his professional soccer dreams and started out very simply; with hikes, easy high-altitude tours with his father, climbing and trying to scramble up the frozen stream next to his parents’ house with two ice axes.

In his likeable “Urner dialect”, Dani talks about his irrepressible desire to go further and further, to be out more, to climb harder, to progress faster, in order to be able to experience great adventures in the mountains again and again. Success was not long in coming. At some point, Dani Arnold climbed the north face of the Eiger, picked his way up the most difficult ice and mixed routes in Europe and was part of the first winter ascent of the Torre Egger in Patagonia.

Since his spectacular speed record on the north face of the Eiger, Dani Arnold has been known to a broad public as one of the world’s best alpinists. But he wanted to go higher, surpass his own limits and set new standards in alpinism. In 2015, he succeeded in setting another speed record on the North Face of the Matterhorn.

Between the mountains and the business world

Dani Arnold was excellent at building a bridge from the mountain world to the business world. Using examples, he told how he approaches it and what it takes to be able to celebrate successes, but also how he deals with defeats. Extreme mountaineering means meticulous planning, high, specific expertise, hard work, in-depth knowledge of how to deal with risks, excellent teamwork and good equipment. But this is just the beginning. On the trail, it’s about leadership, managing yourself and your team in rough terrain. It’s about focusing summit goals, keeping a ‘cool head’ in a hectic environment and making difficult decisions.

There is often a fine line between success and failure, and a bit of luck is necessary. There is no step back for Dani. Successes are pure emotions, you can learn from defeats. But at the latest when Dani showed the pictures of Mount Everest, it became clear to every participant: There are countless parallels, because the mountain world has long been a business world too!

“Free Solo Speed on the “Grossen Zinne” North Face in 46 Min 30 Sec”

On September 5, 2019, Dani Arnold achieved his latest speed record, another highlight. Today, a large part of his life revolves around mountaineering, it is his vocation. That’s what the interview and the subsequent round of questions were all about. Dani Arnold is a true inspiration: an unforgettable leadership lesson!