I was always a big fan of the old Emirates Airlines ‘Keep Discovering’ campaign. The most memorable ad for me was the one where two African men check into a hotel during winter and were over the moon to see snow for the first time. I love it when I can create the same “first time” sensation for my clients.
This week I spent three days in the north of Pakistan with the top team of a pharmaceutical company. Their aim was to forge personal bonds, allowing them to collaborate better as a team and lead their organization through a number of exciting challenges coming up. From my previous blogs you know that the Leadership Outbreak Journeys are my favorite interventions and this one was no exception.
These journeys combine taking people out of their comfort zone, creating experiences together, having conversations that matter and embracing first time experiences. The Leadership Outbreaks are always such a success because they combine all these 4 elements in an exciting cocktail, transforming the team in the process.
The ‘First Time Experience’ is a key component as it forces people to do things that they haven’t done before and often allow people to confront their fears. There is nothing more powerful for me (as a facilitator) to see people overcoming their fears. This Outbreak was no exception. On the contrary, it was even more exciting as we created experiences that were also new for me; we went paragliding!
One of the activities I did this time was climbing a 60 foot rock (of course fully secured and safe) and subsequently then repelling down the same rock face. One participant was particularly fearful of coming down the rock face, as the top had a bit of an overhang that made it quite difficult for beginners to start. He was unable to overcome his fears, despite coaching and guidance from the instructor that was with him at the top. He finally amassed enough courage when his colleague, who went down before him, told him “Zahid, do you trust me? You can do it, you just have to let go.” Can you imagine the power? Not only of the person overcoming his fears, but also of the bond that was created between these two team members.
Similarly at the end of the three days the most senior team member, who had been awesome in completing all the activities, despite his age, physical conditions and vertigo, said that it was an “unbelievable” experience. He shared that he would never have done any of these activities on his own, but as he was part of the team he completed each task and was rightly so very proud of his achievements.
This drives me. Pushing people’s boundaries, letting them do things they thought were not possible and in the process enjoying the experience to the full. Thanks team for a wonderful outbreak. I know for sure that together you will achieve your dreams! So next time you are faced with a new task, a scary yet thrilling experience – ask yourself the same question; “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
– Paul Keijzer