Off late many organizations are finding out that outbound training away from the office cubicles and conference rooms is very effective. The biggest advantage is that new learnings are ingrained much better in a new outdoor facility away from the familiar environment and setup.
Most of the organizations do look at mixing some leisure activity along with some deep learning. When this set up is an option, I will guarantee you that more employees are open to learning and unlearning. I recently had an opportunity to conduct a High Impact Leadership Intervention for a Global Company for its Sr Leadership team and the place chosen by the company was one of the best Wellness Spa Resorts in India. The idea behind this Outbound Intervention was that all the employees would get to learn, see and experience new places.
So, the question always does arise as to what is the best option for an organization to choose an outdoor set up. I would recommend choose a setup which does give a new experience to the employees. The outdoor set up should challenge the individuals and at the same time not overwhelm them in any way. A nice 2-3 hours road trip from the respective city would be ideal, since this also does give the employees some time to bond and not tire them too much when they do arrive at the venue.
However, some organizations do look at clubbing them with their Annual Event and making it into a 4-5 days program. When budget and time is not a constraint then flying out of India is a great option. There are quite a few exotic destinations for some great experiences within 3-4 hours of flight time from any major Indian Cities.
Flying the entire team to an exotic location has an added advantage of a foreign destination and experiencing a different culture all together. This, in my opinion is a great set up for some long-lasting learning for the employees. The new experiences by the employees does cement the learning and unlearning which usually does happen during an Outbound Intervention.
So, what are the dos and don’ts in an Outbound learning activity is what does come to the mind of an organization. The first and the foremost factor to be consider by an organization or an external facilitator like me is the safety of each of the employees. This is paramount and there should be no compromise in this area.
Some companies do look at an adventure theme based activity but not all the employees are up for an adventure based learning. Learning through a trek or mountain climbing is a highly recommended activity for a young and enthusiastic team, which I personally vouch for its effectiveness.
When the team is pushed through their physical and emotional limits, that is when each one of them do get to dig into their strength which is the most critical factor for an individual and organizational success. However, not all are open to an adventure theme based learning though. I see this happening more in the western setup and off late in the startups which are headed by people who have experienced this kind of adventure based outbound learning in their foreign country experience.
If you are looking at this kind of an outbound training for the first time I would highly recommend you to look at an option of a leisure activity like something which they can practice it going forward in their respective lives. What is the use of spending so much of time, money and energy and not incorporating the learnings going forward? The most recent Outbound training activity which I did facilitate was a theme based learning of the mind & body and the activities were planned along this area. There was a session of Yoga and the Chef sharing about healthy cooking. Meditation was also planned along with my Intervention. The Spa was also an added attraction for the employees since they could experience a world class massage therapy after a full day learning and each one of them did love the experience to the fullest. When I did interact with each of the participants, there was a glow in their eyes and I knew that it was time well spent by all of them in learning in an outbound set up.
So, do not shy away from this opportunity for your employees or teams. I am a big believer that some of our biggest learning are learnt outside our cubicle and I never shy away from revisiting these places at least couple of times a year personally. The question is are you and your team ready for an exceptional outbound learning activity? If yes, then today is the time to begin doing the ground work for the same.
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Satish Rao is an Author, Speaker & Life Coach. He does Facilitate Leadership Interventions for teams across the globe.