Issue

Creating the time and space for reflection is a challenge faced by many leaders.

In partnership with the Global Leadership Foundation, Bridges provided a profound transformative leadership development experience to groups of leaders.

At Turtle Camp the groups spent six days with the Mapoon Aboriginal community in Far North Queensland. This gave them the opportunity to contribute to a significant local ecological project and offered them the time and space to critically and thoughtfully reflect on themselves and their business.

Action

Our approach was to blend the work of the Mapoon community with groups of up to eight participants. We worked with the Indigenous rangers and also spent time with them in reflection, sharing their wisdom about contemporary leadership themes such as:

  • stewardship
  • ecological sustainability
  • challenging accepted business practice
  • comfort with ambiguity
  • collaboration or competition
  • leading and following.

The unique venue and space allowed participants to experience peace and be in the moment with no distractions. They were encouraged to tell stories around the camp fire which helped establish early connections and shared intentions. This often included members of the community.

Discussion moved from frustration at local issues and the desire to try to ‘fix’ this, to acknowledgement of the value of experiencing some of the discomfort. Participants reflected on their own leadership practice in dealing with ambiguity and discomfort.

What emerged was discussion about the importance of the leader as steward, leading by example, the ability to look for local solutions to global problems, and using influence and relationships to make this happen.

Participants were encouraged to identify ways to evolve their present day leadership practice into one that addresses corporate and social responsibility and the need for an environmentally sustainable world.

Impact

The participants identified that the experience had a profound impact on them physically, emotionally and, in many case, spiritually.

They spoke of feeling more ‘present’ and connected to the environment around them. They spoke of having a ‘quiet mind’ and having a better understanding of their own styles and how these impact on their organisations and wider communities.

Eight months later participants identified the ability to call on their experience to recreate this valuable inner stillness.

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