Make a Melody In My Heart

I just got back from an amazing Leadership Outbreak Journey in Sri Lanka. What a fascinating country and once again on its way to becoming a favorite destination for travelers as it has all the diversity (cultural, landscapes, bio diversity, weather, beaches, nightlife, shopping) you can look for in a possible holiday spot.

Anyway, I wasn’t there for a holiday. I was there to facilitate the leaders of a global textile company to build a stronger and emotional bond with each other and the company that they are leading.

And what a team it has become.

Shahbaz Group Outbreak - Sri Lanka - November 2011

The key in these journeys is to blend a number of different strands into the design of the flow of the journey. In this case it was 4 strands to create one strong yarn:

  • Giving them as many ‘first ever’ experiences,
  • Helping them understand and build their personal leadership capabilities
  • Discussing the future opportunities of the company and how to get there
  • Creating a strong bond through shared experiences

Repelling down a 45 meter waterfall - Sri Lanka

One of the memorable moments of the journey was when the team went hiking up a tea plantation to a waterfall where some of the participants gained the courage to repel down a 45 meter waterfall to end up in a small pool at the bottom of the rock! One of my key design principles for these journeys is to ‘surprise’ the participants, as it takes people out of their comfort zone. It allows me to be flexible with the program and prevents participants from having pre-conceived notions on whether they are going to like an activity or not.

The whole journey ended in a night of celebrations in which each team had organized various celebratory activities. A highlight of the night was one of the oldest male participants doing a larger than life impersonation of Indian actress Aishwarya Rai. The next day upon our farewells he confided in me that he was always an introvert and an extremely reserved man, but that the experiences of this leadership journey have made him much more comfortable and confident enough to speak his mind and do what he wants to do. He told me that you have helped me ‘come out of my shell’. It is in these little moments that I know what I am doing is all worth it.

So when was the last time you made a ‘Melody in Someone’s Heart’?

– Paul Keijzer


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