Major Independent Safety Science Company Experiences Transformational Leadership Development

It’s amazing how the outdoors and the experiences they offer can provide powerful metaphors for the professional world. Whether it’s gaining insights from something you do outside or seeing nature as analogous to an area of your work or life, the outdoors can be extremely beneficial. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that we at CBST Adventures are big proponents of experiential team building and leadership development in the great outdoors. Don’t get us wrong, we certainly support and even advocate for classroom learning and development, yet, these programs alone often are insufficient to create the transformational change in teams, leaders, and individuals. Such was the case in a recent program with Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), an independent safety science company.

As part of UL’s Global Leadership Program, executives, directors, and managers were headed to participate in a 5-day intensive classroom leadership course focused on teaching the principles from Patrick Lencioni’s ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’. Our CBST Adventures’ team felt that we could really enhance and supplement the classroom curriculum through our River Venture Experiential Leadership program. For this program, teams get to experience the adventure and excitement of river rafting, camping, hiking, rock climbing, and a GPS based scavenger hunt. With each activity, there are challenges that either we create or nature does (thanks to the weather) that require problem solving, communication, and teamwork skills.

One thing that we really notice is that the outdoors enable individuals and teams to be more real and authentic with one another. Maybe it’s the simple power of nature or maybe the outdoors prevents putting up an image or a front. Either way, what we see is some very authentic and dynamic engagements that just can’t be created in an office or hotel conference room.

After having the UL group complete a Wilderness Rescue Workshop, where they learned and practiced everything from simple bleeding treatment procedures to splinting/broken limbs to concussion and evacuation procedures, the team then debriefed the experience. Some very open and honest discussion ensued about the activity that the group realized paralleled their professional jobs. For instance, one participant mentioned how that when the team was collectively working in the wrong direction, as a leader, he had to accept some conflict to resolve the problem and getting a better outcome. Another participant mentioned how the group at times would get so mired in the details of what they were doing, such a splinting an arm, that they at times would lose sight of the big picture (saving a life). What was really neat is that these are two key concepts from the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and they bubble up through the course of natural discussion. We then could see people connecting these takeaways back to the work-world and having illuminating moments – a key goal with such activities.

Another objective for our Experiential Leadership programs is to help people change their lives in a way that not only makes them better professionals but better people. One woman in our group had participated in an ½ Ironman Race two years ago but had suffered an injury while swimming in the race that led her to refuse getting back into water. One our guides was able to work with her on this fear through safety training and coaching, and upon learning about her fear, her coworkers supported and encouraged her in overcoming this two-year long obstacle. Eventually, she not only jumped in one of rafts but she also jumped into the river at one point during the rafting trip. It truly was a transformative moment and one that her coworkers helped her experience, thus changing the dynamics of those relationships moving forward. At the end of the day, she shared with us “I have so much trust in my teammates that I was able to overcome my intense fear of the water, and actual get back into it for the first time after a near drowning experience.”

At the end of the program, the team was unquestionably exhausted, but for most people, they were also content. Yes, they had fun in experiencing the multitude of outdoor activities but many of them also had a life changing experience. Maybe it was getting over a debilitating fear or realizing a bad habit or simply remembering the importance of looking out for others – a concept easily forgotten in the workplace. Whatever the experience, we like to think at the very least, we helped individuals and teams create memories that they’ll never forget and always be able to look back on. It’s our hope that these memories help better fortify teams, improve interpersonal relationships, and make individuals more integrated professionals and people. We love what we do and are thankful we get to do such meaningful and rewarding work.

If any of this is something that you’d like for your team to experience, check out our Experiential Leadership programs here or feel free to reach out to us.

Harvard Business Review Emphasizes the ‘Experiential’ Component in Leadership Development

Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently wrote an article titled ‘Why Leadership Development Isn’t Developing Leaders.’ It’s a terrific read that highlights how too many leadership development programs are purely classroom based. As a result, the leadership training received isn’t very applicable and is difficult to put into practice.

We don’t want to spoil the article for you but the first point that HBR asserts for how to improve leadership development programs is to ‘make [them] experiential.’ We couldn’t agree more and such is the reason why we offer ‘Experiential Leadership’ programs designed to provide real-life leadership and management training to executives, VPs, directors, and manager-level individuals. You can learn more about those programs here if you’re interested.

In the meantime, definitely give the the HBR article a read which you can find here.

Article Share: Why Leadership Development Matters for Your Organization

Leadership Development can often be something that organizations overlook when it comes to investing in their business. Yet, Leadership Development can be one of the hallmarks of a healthy and sustainable culture as leaders and managers very much determine the makeup of a company’s culture and workplace environment.

We recently came across an article from ‘Entrepreneur Magazine’ on the topic of Leadership Development and wanted to share this piece as it discusses importance of Leadership Development and the impact it can have on an organization.

Check out the article below:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276203

Master Blaster: Team Dynamics with Experiential Leadership

Team building is a never-ending process. As a company or team grows, it continuously faces challenges to maintain a healthy team dynamics. Thinking strategically about on-boarding, development and maintenance is a critical component for every business.

Experiential outdoor leadership programs help in creating a learning environment for team practice so that the team members can execute more effectively in the real world. When one works as a team, it helps in boosting up the team’s moral through shared successes and performance breakthroughs. As the old proverb goes: United we stand, divided we fall. The leadership modules engage a wide variety of learning styles. Unique interactive challenges provide opportunities to devise strategies, and collaborate better on leadership roles rather than dividing on an individualistic approach to any issue.

Dynamics of Team Building and Experiential Leadership at a glance: 

  • Surveys and Interviews at the Personal Level: All team members are put through theme based tests that help to understand the individual psyche of the members through experimental and challenging modules.

 

  • Assessment of Existing Team Dynamics: In every office and every business exists an inter-departmental tension. But once they members of different departments are mixed within the outbound teams, it’s always easy to observe and assess the existing team dynamics.

 

  • Explores Elements of Trust: The modules created for the outreach programs help the management to explore interaction, communication, collaboration and element of trust among its various departments.

 

  • Group Orientation: Navigation to any destination is difficult, but if the team dynamics work then one can easily and successfully reach the goal and work wonders. Experiential leadership programs help in orienting a group through its common shared dynamics.

 

  • Facilitates Sharing of Information: Helps in accessing and sharing skills of each member of the team.  There are times when we do not even know what potential a particular team member has, but when thrown before challenges they can exhibit their hidden talents that otherwise go un-noticed. Even sharing of information and opinions that is usually not done while a person is working within a department, can be executed.

 

  • Development of a Road Map: Once the mix-and-match teams live together and sort out their differences through shared responsibilities, they get a chance to sit down and talk about commitment and actionable steps. This helps the employees themselves to control their developmental process and put in more to achieve their goals.

 

  • Persuasive Leadership: Rather than positional leadership, persuasive leadership while working in a team can bring out the best from employees. The experiential programs help even a positional leader to use their persuasive skills to make their members gel together rather than commanding by virtue of their position.

To learn more about CBST Experiential Leadership programs, click here.

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