A Fresh Air Leadership Trek in the Scottish Highlands for the 6-strong senior talent cohort of a fast growing private healthcare firm accompanied by their founder/Chairman, Employee Experience Director, and Head of Learning & Development.
Four nights away and three days trekking based around a carefully designed structure of facilitation, coaching, and mentoring; and including video blogs, journals, and guest speakers.
With a mission to ‘dominate the market through excellence,’ the business is ambitious, imaginative and proactive when it comes to investing in its staff. Development programmes are run at every level of the 7,500 strong business.
The founder/owner/Chairman said, ‘I don’t want any vanilla leadership programme here, I want something that is going to be memorable for people for the rest of their lives. Something that’s really going to stand out and anchor them to the moment when they first come to grips with who they are and what they need to pay attention to in themselves’.
The Employee Experience Director explained: “This programme is where we’re taking the top tier of senior leaders within our business and really testing what they’re made of, helping them develop self awareness and work out what makes them exceptional. We also want them to start defining their contribution to leading this business forwards.”
A safe and inspiring development journey – both physical and metaphorical – which supports and challenges delegates to:
- Reflect on their feedback (received during an in-house module);
- Clarify strengths and development areas;
- Prioritise these; and,
- Craft and commit to their personal development plan.
In addition to a sequence of themes that shaped each trekking day, delegates had access to a wide range of coaching and mentoring resources – one another, our team who provided masterclasses and coaching, their company seniors, and guest speakers.
Delegates were also set daily video blogging tasks culminating in a commitment piece to camera on the final day in front of company seniors and colleagues. This piece set out their development objectives, the help they needed, and described the impact they would have on the business.
The company’s Head of Learning and Development talks about one morning that struck him very powerfully.
“Through this programme we’re hooked into this theme of journeying but to use uphill, literal, physical uphill moments as a kind of metaphor for walking into the future so you get to the top of the hill and you’re there in five years time and you get to talk about what it is that you see and hear and what people say about you and what kind of business environment you are working in now, and what kind of leadership impact are you having. Then you walk back down the hill, walking back into the present and you look at the steps that you took to get to that future. It’s really powerful.”
Mark Beaumont, athlete and broadcaster, spoke about bold goals, mindset, leadership, planning, and teamwork in the context of his record smashing sub-80 days cycle around the world.
Jo Bradshaw, Everest summiteer, Seven Summits aspirant, and expedition leader, talked about leadership and teamwork in male dominated and high consequence environments.
“Using the trek to help the team structure their thoughts, make sense of all their feedback and plan for their development was a real turning point in the programme. In a leadership role you get so much data, so much information, and it can be hard to process it all. Then you come on the trek and you’re completely out of your environment – walking along with some really great coaches and able to cry and share intimate things. It allowed people to go really deep into themselves, to really scour out what it is they need to work on.
Often in these programmes you get people to set their learning objectives on day one and they’ll say, ‘I’ve got to be more confident, I’ve got to manage my time better’, they’re kind of surface level things. But for people to come out of here and say, ‘the thing that I need to pay attention to is to recognise that I’m not okay all the time and to be vulnerable with my colleagues and my directors and that’s okay. It’s okay for me not to be okay’. So some really amazing things came out of it. “
“It’s a real dedicated investment programme. It’s almost like money can’t buy. You can’t go and buy this off the shelf. You have to believe in it and you have to make it happen.”