Your organization is a corporate leader. Your leaders reflect some of the best available global talent. Your aim is to of course optimise their individual AND collective potential. You also need to ensure that their priorities synergise, that they can leverage off each other to innovate productively, and that together they are creating a leadership and performance culture that will sustain your growth and progress in the years ahead.
It is with these very real aspirations in mind that we have helped to innovate and design these ‘Leadership Journeys’.
They were designed first keeping the limitations inherent in pre-existing approaches in mind. The problem with classroom leadership training is that while it can be powerful at the conceptual level, rarely does it produce the deeper behavioural shifts, and the paradigm extensions required at the emotional and personal levels. Too often, people still wear ‘masks’, and what happens just doesn’t cut deeply enough. People will often leave ‘stimulated’, but rarely have they deeply at least ‘begun to transform’.
To deal with this, outdoor trainings came into vogue. While exciting and refreshing and certainly ‘stretching’, they too have clear limitations as traditionally presented. The disconnect between that ‘radical’ environment and the environments we daily face is sometimes significant. While many report these experiences were of great personal value, very often there is significant difficulty in ‘translating back’ the experience to enduring organizational or team value in real-life situations. Moreover, some of these sessions have too great a strain of ‘machismo’ in them. Others are really glorified ‘team-building’ events, and while important, just don’t get to the core of adaptive leadership growth and genuine team synergy — the type that is required to fuel long-term profitable growth for the organization itself.
The Sensei ‘Leadership Journeys’ are adaptive journeys of mind, body, heart and spirit. They are BOTH about individual evolution through emotional engagement as well as being about ‘building community’ within a team of talent. This allows the breakthroughs to be sustained. These journeys are as much ‘Inward Bound’ as they are ‘Outward Bound’.
Past journeys have included truly spectacular contexts like crossing the Sinai, or exploring the ruins of Machu Pichu and more, but collaboratively and in a way that bridges back to real-world commitments of crucial growth value to the organization.
The overall idea has been that this should be a REAL journey, from somewhere to somewhere, and serve as a metaphor for our own larger leadership and team journeys. Along the way, the aim is to interact with the local environment, the local culture, to commit deeply to doing some good while we seek to do well, to explore who we are while learning more about the world around us, and to commit to ‘reinventing possibility’ in pragmatic and credible ways when we return.
We always encourage the possibility of building in personal coaching for key leaders in the run-up to the journey as well as in the aftermath to help integrate the experience, to build on it, and to extend it. This also rescues the experience from being only ‘an event’. It then becomes a true process that can pay dividends in passion, purpose and achievement for years to come.
The structure is usually that a senior team embarks on such a journey first, dealing with senior leadership issues and creating a powerful momentum within and for themselves. If they then choose, they are guided to help ‘lead’ the next-level journey for those members of the team who will primarily implement and bring alive the new spirit of leadership, community and breakthrough achievement that is being pioneered.
A big part of the value of the journey is ‘surprise’. While in the Asia region we have a number of ‘templates’ for journeys, we try to keep many elements a secret, while ensuring full safety and appropriate back-ups at every step of the way. This way participants truly learn to ‘adapt’ and the power of the experience unfolds as the journey does.
Experiencing a genuine ‘leadership journey’ is the next frontier of leadership development. With a focus on both growth AND community, adventure as well as meaning, ‘stretching’ as well as gentle acceptance and authenticity, this is a truly holistic way to explore our potential both as corporate contributors as well as human beings.
We look forward to a journey of evolution and transformation with you, as we help you and your team co-create the future…TOGETHER!
THE SENSEI INTERNATIONAL TEAM