by Speaker Buzz speaker Craig Mathieson
"When I tell people about The Polar Academy, the children’s charity I founded which takes Scottish schoolchildren on hugely challenging expeditions to Greenland, they often ask how I select the kids for the trips.
Typically, people assume the obvious candidates for such demanding trips to the frozen Arctic wasteland would be the high-achieving, confident and sporty ones, or the really disruptive trouble-makers.
They’re always surprised to find out that I focus on the kids in the middle that I call ‘the invisibles’.
To find these ‘invisibles’, I go into a school and give an assembly. I then ask pupils who want to sign up to put their names down. What happens is that all the elite kids put their name down, and all the chaotic kids put their name down, but all the kids that think ‘what’s the point?’ don’t. So now I've got a list of who not to take and I work with the others.
I’ve made it my mission with The Polar Academy to identify and positively influence the lives of these ‘invisibles’ who often go through life unnoticed. The trips help show them what potential they have and show them how to be leaders.
So my challenge to you is this - identify the invisibles in your company and see how you could help develop them. They could be a team member who flies under the radar and yet has huge potential. They could be a candidate at your next round of interviews. Pay attention to them. Give them your time.
You'll be blown away by the rewards they – and others like them – are going to reap as a result.
Craig Mathieson is Scotland’s greatest living Polar explorer and founded the children’s charity The Polar Academy in 2013. He has skied to both the North and South Poles.
Episode four of Arctic Academy airs on BBC Scotland at 8pm this Wednesday, 30th October