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Reflections on my trip to Antarctica

Hanging out with some friends in Antarctica

– Hi everyone,

I’m back from my Antarctic adventure and wanted to share some of my thoughts after this unique opportunity. For those of you who are new readers, you can learn more about this trip in my last blog entry.

Living on a ship in Antarctica with 80 brilliant women—whose diverse backgrounds ranged from academia to medicine to science to government—brought to life incredible leadership lessons and personal growth opportunities, a few of which I’ll highlight here.

An important aspect of living on a ship was that we behaved as a unit, rather than as individuals. This meant that the minority opinion could not be excluded, and all decisions were made with 100% consensus. This is so relevant in my role as a consultant. The best-performing and happiest teams are those where every analyst and associate feels s/he can express their opinions and participate in constructive debates to derive better answers for our clients.

Second, self-reflection leads to self-awareness, which is the start of any actionable change. Creating time to reflect on the activities and conversations of the day always allows me to listen to the unsaid words. Whether it’s regarding an irritated client or a nervous team member, I’ve realised more than ever the value of creating space in our busy daily lives to reflect.

Third, coaching is paramount to build capability within teams. Practising peer coaching on the ship with brilliant women reminded me of the value of “guiding someone to the answer, rather than giving the answer.” Once I started investing in coaching, I realised it is applicable not just at work, but in life in general.

I’m finding daily opportunities to incorporate these lessons into my workdays. I hope that they resonate with you as well!

Cheers,
Purvi

About the blogger

Associate

Purvi

Purvi joined our London office after completing her MBA at INSEAD's France campus. Prior to INSEAD, she worked for several years across India and Southeast Asia for a global pharmaceutical company. At McKinsey, she continues her work in pharma and healthcare with projects in the UK and continental Europe. Purvi is passionate about women in leadership, both at McKinsey and in society in general. She was selected as one of 80 women in STEM for Homeward Bound, a sustainability leadership program, and joinied them on an expedition to Antarctica in winter 2018.