Don’t succumb to the winter blues! Or, at least, don’t fall for the notion that winter months are a bad time for outdoor leadership development efforts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Getting key leaders from your company outside and working on leadership skills in a colder, perhaps snowy, environment offers some unique benefits that can truly enhance learnings. Winter is the best time for leadership development for several reasons. Here are just a few.
Winter helps teams form stronger bonds
We all know it. Winter can be just that little bit tougher, colder, or more challenging. At CBST Adventures, we use that to our advantage when we create experiential learning challenges. Team members find that relying on each other becomes more critical, and they pool together, improvise more, and get more creative with scarce resources to solve the challenges presented to them. We have seen some of the best team bonding outcomes from team building programs run in the somewhat more
“extreme” conditions that a winter location offers.
Winter can be used to challenge mindsets, teach resourcefulness and determination
“Picture a backcountry rescue situation in the summer,” says Claudine Norden, Certified Facilitator with CBST Adventures. “One of your leaders is playing the injured person, carried in a litter and attended to by other team members. The sun is lapping everyone’s faces, birds are chirping, and water is readily available from mountain streams. Smiles abound. Days are long, nobody is cold, and there’s plenty of time to complete the ‘rescue’. Now, imagine the same scene in the winter. Darkness will come sooner. It’s cold out, so keeping everyone on the team warm and moving is critical. Tools and materials may freeze if not managed correctly. Water for drinking must be thawed from snow, which requires planning ahead, well in time before it’s needed.”
All of these are factors that Norden would leverage when creating a leadership development program that – depending on the client’s objective – could be specifically designed to teach resiliency, enhance decision making, creativity, or several other leadership qualities. “Winter is great for learning a growth mindset,” she concludes.
Most people have never hiked out from a forest cabin in the backcountry at night, through a white, snowy forest landscape brightly lit by the full moon. Take it from us – it’s a unique and wonderful experience. Certainly something that stays with participants for a long time, and bonds leaders together through the shared memories. Through our unique combination of qualified wilderness guides and certified leadership development facilitators, CBST Adventures can guide groups not only in safely experiencing the beauty and excitement of the wilderness – but also designing the event to maximize leadership development learnings.
And never fear. Being based in a Colorado winter wonderland doesn’t have to mean doing everything outdoors. A program can blend indoor and outdoor activities.
Plush resort accommodation, cutting edge culinary offerings, and comfortable conferencing activities can certainly be part of the mix.
Winter months are the perfect time for a boost
Worn out from budgeting? Under pressure to make year-end figures? Feeling the gloom of hunkering indoors, or the ickiness of recent cold and flu spells? All of these
are great reasons to get your leaders outside in the winter!
Having an outdoors offsite during the colder months of the year is perhaps a little out of the ordinary for some – which is another reason it can provide a virtual
vitamin injection. It’s unexpected, it’s different, it’s fun. The fresh air and outdoor activity can provide a health boost, and the change of pace, in a fun location can be
framed as either a boost or a reward during what can be a tough season.
Winter is a fabulous metaphor
Want to prepare company leadership for tougher times ahead? Or, develop strategies to better tackle adversity? Winter itself makes a great metaphor for a challenging business climate or a tough market. It can easily be woven into activities and discussions over a dynamic couple of days of learning and bonding as a team.
And if you don’t want to stay close to home, CBST Adventures is happy to host you at an off-site location in the mountains of Colorado, some as close as an hour from
Denver. Winter weather here is beautiful, and for the most part, enjoyable rather than harsh.
“Thinking about survival stories, or stories of extreme adventure that we read about in books or news articles, almost all of them involve transformative personal
development and behavioral changes for the people involved,” observes Norden. “The way we use winter to transform teams and leaders in Colorado is similar – just
safer and a little less extreme,” she quips.