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Chris McLeod captained Team Fujitsu, who had the added challenge of integrating a volunteer novice into his team for a BBC documentary, only five weeks before the race start. Against all odds and defying expert opinion, Chris’ team went on to win the Polar Challenge by only a few hours.
His story is one of building a winning mindset, incredible teamwork, stamina, courage and determination; the thrill of a close encounter with a Polar Bear, their daily battle with the frozen ice fields and the danger of frostbite in temperatures, which with wind-chill, sometimes dropped as low as - 65 degrees C.
The Polar Challenge – A Race Magnetic North Pole and labelled the “Worlds Toughest Race”, started on the 13th April 2004. Seven teams skied and walked the 360 miles, pulling 120lb sledges of supplies and equipment. Competing against each other in the harshest of conditions the teams raced from Resolute Bay in the Canadian North West Territories, around the many islands forming the Queen
Elizabeth Island chain to the Magnetic North Pole.
Areas of Expertise
As well as competing in gruelling expedition challenges in the arctic, Chris has designed and delivered many, often complex, training solutions for leaders and managers from some of the largest Blue Chip organisations in Europe including - Accenture, BT Wholesale, BT Retail, Bank of Scotland, Cap Gemini, Fujitsu, John Lewis, Microsoft UK, Price Waterhouse Coopers and RBS.
Chris has also been involved with TV and media work both as a consultant and as an
environment expert. Programmes include:
“Storms of War” by Discovery Channel – Presenting in the Sahara as a “desert
“Trans World Sport” – With Venture Challenge Group training 47 novice explorers to
compete in the Polar Challenge 05
BBC2 – The Challenge – Race to the North Pole.
Chris is available as an extreme environment specialist for presenting or environment specific media consulting.
Prior to becoming a consultant and adventurer Chris spent over a decade in the British Royal Marines. Highlights of his Career include receiving the Sword of Honour and Commando Medal during Royal Marines Officer Training and leading Anti Smuggling Operations in Hong Kong whilst attached to the Hong Kong Police.
Chris was also responsible for recruiting and training the first ex-Soviet Peacekeeping Battalion to join NATO in Bosnia whilst deployed to the Baltic States in command of a multi-national training team. Chris was awarded the Commandant Generals Commendation for his work over this period.
Over his time serving in the Royal Marines Chris was deployed on many operational tours often in extreme environments. This first hand leadership experience now further enhanced by his exceptional Polar adventures gives Chris a depth of knowledge that few people his age have achieved.
Chris McLeod has a unique style of storytelling. To bring all the main elements of
leadership excellence together in such a session is no easy task but then Chris does
not seem to favour the easy route. He set the scene, gave precious insights into the
people and personalities involved in the mission and demonstrated a genuine respect
for the differences and similarities in the team - through simple language and easy
Chris majored on the importance of preparation, preparation and
preparation for an event such as the Polar Challenge and provided much humour in
his description of successful and frustrating events.
Another really strong point that Chris brings home is the stark difference between the
'reality' and the 'imagined' event - how often we encounter that in everyday leadership!
The wonderful pictures and video footage used in the session certainly gave a
wonderful insight into the breathtakingly beautiful yet unforgiving environment.
Finally, one of the strongest threads throughout the session was the constant referral
of playing to the strengths of individuals and how this equals effective teamworking.
Masters of leadership, like Chris, can make this look so easy and inspire all who take
the time to listen and watch.
There were over a hundred people in that room and apart from the occasional ripple of
laughter, you could have heard a pin drop as everyone made sure they didn't miss a
single word. A must for all leaders!
Crucial Management Services Limited