In the hands of experienced human resources training professionals, outdoor management training programs have immense potential as agents of change, and can lead to deep-seated and long lasting beneficial behavioral modifications in participants. The important advantage: it works from the inside out.
How Can Business Leadership Training Benefit from Outdoor Leadership Development Programs?
When selecting executive education programs for the top echelons, human resources trainers often include outdoor leadership programs that work on the principle of experiential learning. Conducted in the outdoors, usually in wilderness settings, an outdoor leadership program is designed as a series of experiences that put participants through unusual situations and circumstances that get them to react from the core personality. Over the course of the program, patterns of behavior emerge, enabling participants to experience themselves and their team-members as leaders and followers.
In the hands of skillful faculty who facilitate the introspection sessions, these patterns of behavior are reflected upon. Perspectives are offered, both by faculty and peers, and the outcome of these sessions, especially when the mood has been created for meaningful sharing, is to create positive and beneficial behavior modifications that in turn contribute to greater effectiveness in the organizational context and as a leader.
How Does Outdoor Leadership Development Training Work
An outdoor management leadership development program takes participants through a activities specifically selected or designed to stimulate them to explore aspects of leadership and leadership behavior in themselves and in their peers. Seemingly unrelated activities that often require participants to overcome strong emotions, conquer fear and stretch boundaries, usually in an outdoor or adventure setting, throw up facets of behavior that surface in the organizational context as well. Through the process of reflection and perspectives offered by faculty and other members of the group, participants understand that their reactions to the challenges and stresses of leadership are very similar to the reactions that have been triggered by the activities they undertook, and the learning begins from there.
Typical Takeaways and Learning from an Outdoor Leadership Training Program
Most participants come away from outdoor business leadership programs with a stronger belief in themselves and their capacity for leadership. “I have it in me”, is a validation that occurs in the face of an outdoor challenge, and the belief makes it possible to tackle organizational challenges as well. Other significant takeaways include an appreciation of the need to motivate team members, co-operate with peers across functions, learning to delegate, understanding the power of group resources and at all times, to keep an eye on the big picture.
The best lessons are those that aren’t lessons at all, but rather life experiences that open a person’s eyes to things they never saw before. A well-designed outdoor leadership development program can significantly impact participants and create long-lasting personal and professional growth.
Three Keys to Successful Organizations
In today’s times of economic uncertainty, a precursor for executive talent to become leaders is their ability to adapt to change rapidly and consistently. To be current in knowledge and proactive in facing obstacles are almost a given for these leaders. But what is vital for them is to sustain their leadership position. They realize that to make this happen, they cannot work in isolation. They need to search for the right people at the right time with the right toolkit. They realize that building an A team out of team players rather than a B team out of A players is hard. But to keep them there is probably even harder.
Challenges to Acquire and Retain Leaders
The reasons why companies struggle to acquire and then retain their ‘A’ talent could be many: voluntary disengagement, lack of motivation, exponential growth of retirement, high talent acquisition costs, rising labour costs, lack of talent development programs or complacency from success that prevents talent from keeping up with changing times. Whatever the reason, there is a domino effect from these factors that causes productivity to slow down, leading to a downward turn in growth.
Talent Management as a Key to Success
Leading organizations have realized that appropriate measures in the field of Talent Management could help them keep their A team together. Almost like providing Tender Loving Care. These organizations have made talent management a priority, because they believe that continued investment in their most precious asset is vital for success.
Two things become clear in this process: 1. It is critical to have a clear vision to approach the looming crisis around Talent, Leadership and Change and 2. There is no point in having a vision without a plan…a systematic implementation plan comprising a Total Talent Management Program that integrates functional areas of HR, finance, operations, sales, marketing and supply chain management with the strategic direction of the overall business.
Pros and Cons of an Executive Talent Development Program
The president of a global talent management organization was once asked by a client, prior to commencement of an executive talent development program “What if we spend all this money on training and developing our people and they leave us in the threat of change?” To that the President replied, “What if you do not train or develop them, and they all stayed?”
In reality, the talent management programs are just tools, definitely not rules, to aid organizations to strengthen their commitment towards their most valued asset. An asset who at any given point in time can decide to leave if not nurtured and given the TLC to stay and grow. Organizations who recognize that they have as much of a responsibility towards their Talent as the talent has towards them, are the ones who ultimately win.
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