The outdoors is back!
When Acorn first started out back in 1995 the majority of the programs we ran were outdoors based. Whether that be leadership development, or coaching courses, we used the outdoors in some way. Then in 2009 the recession hit, companies had to tighten their belts, and they couldn’t justify money on sending their employees to ‘run around the fells for a week, just for fun’.
As the years went on Acorn adapted, become more consultancy based, doing more one to one coaching and in house workshops depending on the clients needs, still using our wealth of knowledge, but just not using the outdoors as much.
But now things are changing, there is a resurgence in experiential learning, more and more companies are wanting the high impact courses that create big changes within their business, and we for one, are thrilled about it!
Acorn have had the pleasure of working with the senior team of a construction company for the past three years with three separate programs, and over the summer we are launching a new program for a further 80 of their employees, which they call their ‘future leaders’.
We have been all over the country – from the Lake District to the Derbyshire Peak District to Wales and beautiful Snowdonia – delivering a range of activities and a range of programs.
One outcome is very clear, though: change.
In collaboration with our clients, Acorn design each program with a range of activities to create a specific outcome or learning. Whether that be extreme activities such as abseiling or rafting, or more simple tasks such as walking and talking about specific topics, we even ask some groups to prepare breakfast for everyone!
But each activity has a purpose, it might be that the high impact activity is used as a bonding experience, or the walk and talk gives people a chance to have real conversations in an amazing environment, rather than over a desk. Each program we run has a specific ‘topic’, and we decide which activities will have the most learning relevant to that topic.
It can be as simple as wanting to improve your teams coaching ability, for them to start to coach others within the business, or to change the way they are coaching and listening to others. Or the program can be more complex than that, it can be about introducing big changes within the business to the lead team, but in a supportive environment.
Empowering people to make changes, and be the driving force of the business.
Although there will be a specific outcome the clients want from each program, often it is other, unexpected, outcomes that prove most rewarding. The connections people make, the way colleagues get to know each other and the conversations they have, both in the structured activities, but in the down time as well, changes the way they work together.
Whether that be understanding each other’s pressures, both in work and home, understanding the way they work, or even just being able to pick up the phone and ask someone for help that they didn’t know before. This is all positive change that can create massive impact on how the team/business functions.
Once you share a room and you swear at your colleagues for snoring too loudly, there is no going back to just pleasantries in the hallway!
If you’d like to find out more about the outdoor experiential learning programmes from Acorn, please just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to tell you more.
*We also choose our accommodation very carefully, preferably independently owned and operated, well appointed and if possible, exclusive use for our clients. Location is also key and we go for slightly more luxurious venues, rather than the mouldy bunk rooms of the past.