Having spent all day with our special force’s instructors, learning how to make an emergency shelter out of ‘bush treasure’, we observe (ninja facilitators are hidden deep within palm fronds and supple-jack), 12 senior managers from a national construction company, working quietly and (sometimes) effectively to build their shelters for the evening. Rain wasn’t forecast, but we are snuggled in a valley in the lower reaches of the Tararua Mountain Ranges, and there’s always a 65% chance of evening ‘mountain mist’. Not rain, just very heaving dew, (sarcasm dripping like the leaves).
COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE | NURTURE | RESILIENCE | TEAM
Individuals, so completely outside of their comfort zone, (with 2 members of their group sharing mobility or physical limitations), we, ‘for the most part’ discern a ‘culture & attitude’ shift, roughly 2-days into our 4-day experiential high performance & resilience leadership programme.
LEADERSHIP | HIGH PERFORMANCE | PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE | EMPATHY
Primarily the first day is spent ‘figuring out; what equipment the teams of 6 are going to need to be totally independent for 72 hrs.; critical thinking and project planning abounds; who is able to catch small furry things with their bare hands, personal loathing of spiders expressed, map and compass skills fabricated, followed closely by negotiation (or not). What food will we take/need, how will we sleep, who is carrying what, do we really need the butterfly net, climbing harness and pavlova?
CRITICAL THINKING | PLANNING | DELEGATION | NEGOTIATION | STRENGTHS
People respond in either of 2-ways; loudly with self-valued opinion and over-confidence (bullshitters) or withdrawal into their shell with no expression of opinion, moonlighting as members of the team.
PERSONALITY TYPE | COLLABORATION | FACILITATION
Faced with strong inquiry from the facilitation team, ‘what they had chosen’ and ‘why’; poor or illogical decisions when tested, generally remain unrevoked - those decisions made by the ‘loud’ people, survive as ‘authoritative’.
PRESENTATION SKILLS | AGILITY | EGO | KNOWER VS. LEARNER
If I use Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming, performing model, the 24 hrs. that spearheads the experience is about self, position, and theory. Management vs. Leadership. Process without buy-in. Low empathy, high self-consideration.
Deeply embroiled in storming. Identifying the Alpha's. Little or no experience of 'leading' (inspiring) under duress; vs. directing or managing.
INSPIRING | ADAPTIVE | LISTENING | SELF-AWARENESS
Epiphanies & Tribes
48 hrs. in and there’s this subtle shift that ignites epiphanies. Campfire blazing, the smell of smoke, Ruru yawping around us, and the ever-present burble of the stream; it's only now that individual’s start to meld into a ‘tribe’.
The ‘around the fire', end of day debrief. “Today, ‘Jack’ helped me with collecting waterand it made me feel supported and I was extraordinarily thankful that I didn’t have to carry all of the weight myself’.This exercise is like trying to get people to stand buck naked and dance gleefully around the fire (an intimate, vulnerable and entirely uncomfortable proposition). That said, I am certain that some would have tossed their clothes with gay-abandon, rather than utter ‘made me feel’, ‘thank you and…’ even more horrifying, our tribe member had to look ‘Jack’ in the eyes and verbalise her/his feelings to him directly. Astounding witnessing such discomfort, amidst a team who had worked together for between 3 and 17 years.
VULNERABILITY | PRESENT | GRATITUDE | CARING | DEEP LEARNING
Condensed Version | The End – 4-days later, having slept rough, guarded fires on ‘fire-picket’ for 24 hours, made and carried stretchers, eaten, slept, sweated, cut, chopped, discussed, listened, reflected deeply - as facilitators, we are privileged to witness a glimpse of ‘high performance’ at its absolute sensational best.
Rhythm and comfort in ‘being’, perceptive use and knowledge of other tribe members strengths, empathy and forgiveness of physical limitations (without judgement), increased non-verbal awareness of others personal needs (periphery behaviours) and ‘this’ knowledge embedded through ‘feeling’ and 'experiencing'. Lessons learned through debriefing, reapplication of the lesson, and ‘cognitive recognition’ of the tangibly better results for both ‘tribe’ and individual, when lessons learned were applied. With an extraordinary memory made 'to boot'.
TRANSFERABLE SKILLS | INCREASED EMPATHY | ABILITY TO INSPIRE | AGILITY
SUSTAINED TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
“Forbes HR Council 2019 - ‘336 billion US dollars is spent annually on leadership training (classroom based) with a 10% retention of data after 6 days, ROI is reduced to 3-4% after 30 day’s’.
Data & learning retention is significantly increased when knowledge is either consciously reviewed time & time again (unlikely) or by experiencing or feeling the result of the lesson. 'Creating a Memory'.
THERE'S WHY YOU HAVE TO COME OUT TO LEARN IN THE BUSH WITH US