Reflective Leadership Walk
Innovative Approach to Leadership Development From Call of the Wild & PDC
A recent groundbreaking study (National Ecosystems Report) has provided a comprehensive overview of the value of the UK’s natural environment. The study looks at a new way of estimating our natural wealth and illustrates how we have undervalued our natural ecosystems. The study also emphasises the role that landscape plays in our general wellbeing and sense of place.
A recent DEFRA press release focuses on the economic value of protecting and cherishing our natural heritage.
While in the past people may have thought that caring for the environment meant extra financial burdens, the UK NEA shows that there are real economic reasons for looking after nature. The NEA also shows that the benefits we get to our health, well being and from the enjoyment of nature have not always been fully appreciated or valued.
As an organisation based in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, Call of the Wild has always believed in potential of using this renowned landscape as a vehicle for the development of leadership and management skills and of the economic benefits to the region that attracting delegates from all across the UK brings.
Over the past 12 years we have evaluated the effect of this landscape on the learning experience of the clients we bring into the area from large multi-national organisations from all over the UK. Almost universally the evidence has been that the most beneficial aspect of the experience was the opportunity that the environment provides for “deep reflection and meaning making”
The Green Classroom
We have now taken this approach and, in partnership with the Professional Development Centre, developed a innovative and unique “green classroom” approach to learning.
Utilising the dramatic landscape of the Brecon Beacons we place the delegate at the heat of his and her learning, creating a place and a space for deep reflection on the practice and application of leadership. This outdoor environment offers a diverse and rich source of natural experiences and metaphor, which the delegates are encouraged to contextualise within their personal experience of leadership.
Some of the interventions we are using and developing include:
- A Leadership Walk, a facilitated walk encouraging the delegates to reinvigorate their relationship with the environment by really taking notice of what’s around them.
- A guided run of exercises based around the theme of water, making reference to both explicit and implicit metaphors such as reflections, sustainability and ecosystems
- A reflective exercise in a deep mine offering a new way of placing learning and meaning into a work environment.
- The evolution of inspiring metaphor as the delegates move through the programme
- The creation of a Leadership narrative using the outdoors as a vehicle.
- Issues around sustainability and the ecology of natural ecosystems and organisations
The point is that the imagery and metaphor created from immersion in this inspirational landscape begins to create new ways of thinking and looking at the issues surrounding Leadership. This new learning is more likely to be taken back into the workplace and applied. The
We believe that there is huge potential to utilise this landscape in a sympathetic and sensitive manner, adding real economic value to the area by capitalising on the proven benefits of this approach.