Our success as guides depends largely on the organization we work with. Finding the right fit, where our personal motivations align with those of our employer plays a key role in making this happen.
What we’re looking at here is the combination of why we do what we do, how we do it and the products offered. The goal isn’t necessary to find a perfect match but to make sure that there is enough of an overlap between each of us.
We’ll look at our motivations as guides in the next section but for now, let’s take a look at how we can find out more about the organization’s purpose.
The Purpose & Guiding Principles
The purpose is the reason the company exists, beyond making a profit. The guiding principles define how the organization operates on a daily basis.
Together, they provide the moral compass that defines why the organization exists and define the adventures they offer. This is what connects the organization with the guides and their ideal guests.
How can we tell an organization’s purpose? In some cases, companies are quite forward in telling us.
Our purpose and guiding principles at Nordegg Adventures are:
To inspire you to play outside and help you experience your adventure so that you can discover the people, food and natural beauty of the region.
Get lost in the moment: Fun, shared experiences combined with breathtaking landscapes and amazing people create moments that naturally immerse us, making it easy to forget about daily life.
Simple is better: Life isn’t that complicated. Celebrate the simple pleasures, the raw beauty of nature and the connections with people you meet along the way.
Embrace the unexpected: Going on an adventure off the beaten path means that things are less structured. The best moments happen when you leave the checklist behind to create your own path.
Do the right thing: Caring for the environment and each other is not a trend, it’s part of living. Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures. Collect memories, not things.
Focus on the long term: Build relationships and memories that last. Taking the time to enjoy the journey will transform you.
Some examples of other organizations with clear statements:
The HeLa Ventures Adventure Education Centre is dedicated to providing individuals, groups, and families with positive and educational outdoor experiences.
Our programs are delivered from a holistic perspective and encourage a healthy lifestyle through the incorporation of activities in a safe, respectful manner. Safety and environmental stewardship are the guiding factors for all of our programs.
Built upon the belief that adventure can be transformational, let Girth Hitch Guiding take you on a life-affirming journey through the ancient mountains of the David Thompson Corridor. Based out of Red Deer, Alberta we thrive on introducing outdoor enthusiasts – from beginners to experts – to our beautiful mountains through Via Ferrata climbing and everything rock-related.
Our approach to guiding is guest-centric and strives to bring the best out of everyone we work with. We believe that mountains are not something to be conquered but rather ancient friends to discover and experience. Our years exploring the mountains has taught us that being amidst the giants provides far more than mere fitness and adventure; we have discovered that our time in the mountains nurtures us holistically and spiritually and challenges us to be more than we thought we could be.
We strive for professionalism and consideration in everything we do, from the first time you contact us until you’re home again. With many of our guests repeat customers, and recognition from such leading industry organizations as National Geographic Traveler and Outside magazine, we are confident you’ll find a NWRC trip is a one-of-a-kind, when-can-we-do-this-again adventure.
We believe sharing wilderness and wild rivers is the best way for people to understand the value of our public lands and to become advocates for their conservation and preservation. Unless people know about these pristine places and can experience their transformative power, the wilderness is nothing more than an abstract thought with the potential to be easily consumed by privatization and careless development.
We are inspired by a vision of a country where our Wild & Scenic Rivers are enjoyed and respected, at both intimate and distant perspectives. And where our guests build and strengthen their connections with nature, with their fellow travelers, and most especially with themselves.
What about the ones that aren’t so forward in telling us? This happens for a number of reasons and doesn’t necessarily mean that the organization wouldn’t be a great place to work. These are a few ways to find out more about what matters to the organization:
- Look at the past. Why was the organization started in the first place? Take a look at the story of the founders, the problem they were trying to solve and the impact they had on their community.
- Look at the present. What are the employees proud of? Take a look at the stories the organization shares and what they choose to focus on?
- Look outside. Take a look at the stories shared by guests and partners about the organization to see how others perceive them.
These are also a great way to validate if organizations that state their purpose and guiding principles have the discipline to put them into action.
It’s important to note that purpose, in our context, is not about corporate social responsibility, purpose driven travel or taking on a social cause. Purpose may influence each of those activities but as we defined it earlier it is what the organization stands for.
Cause marketing, where companies include activist messaging in their advertising, is often used as a proxy for purpose. Unlike purpose, cause marketing starts by looking at what potential visitors care about and then adapting the messages or experiences accordingly.
We see this often in tourism where operators try to capitalize on trends through their marketing and the products offered. In this case the question becomes how can we incorporate elements of sustainability or wellness, for example, into what we offer to capitalize on those trends. This approach can work in the short term, especially if there is some alignment with the organization’s purpose, but it can easily come across as inauthentic. It may even result in a backlash, especially if it comes across as greenwashing or virtue signalling rather than sharing what the organization truly believes in.
What They Do
The purpose and guiding principles of an organization will remain fairly consistent over time. What they do, in this case the adventures they offer, is more likely to change and evolve over time.
As a guide, this is important for two reasons. First, if a company offers only multi-day tours and you prefer to be home every night you can probably assume that they wouldn’t be a good fit for you. At the same time, organizations are often interested in expanding the products they offer when they have a great staff who can offer those.
Keep in mind however that adding a new product to a line-up isn’t always as easy as we might think. There are a lot of things to consider, from equipment and permits to the internal capacity to offer new products.