IN THIS ISSUE:
Field trip – Corporate Style!
“Field trip”! Those two words were music to my ears when I was at school. Field trips were always the highlight of the school year. Rue any teacher who didn’t organize one!
The fun of being in a new environment, seeing new things, enjoying new experiences with your friends and playmates. And frankly, the joy of being away from the humdrum routine of school for a day. I remember every one.
Why am I talking about field trips to my corporate friends? Because two weeks ago, I went on an exciting jaunt with a group of CEOs who I work with. We visited the SNOLab (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Laboratory – https://www.snolab.ca/). Located in Sudbury, a 5-hour car ride north of Toronto, SNOLab is 2km underground, with access via a nickel mine. The scientists who work there are trying to see dark matter – or nothing, as our guide explained to the non-physicists in our group. To get there was an adventure – changing into mining gear, replete with 10lb boots and helmet with flashlight (which we actually had to use), we descended the mine shaft in a clanky cage. It was all I could do to refrain from channeling my inner dwarf from Snow White and bursting into “Hi ho hi ho and off to work we go”. We came to rest at 2km in the ground. The miners went their way, and we trudged 1km along to the SNOlab. There we showered (including washing our hair – we had to be absolutely clean) and donned white lab suits. Now I felt like a character from a James Bond movie! And thence we toured the lab for 2 hours. Fascinating. My eyes glazed as I tried to understand the experiments. I gained even greater admiration for Steve, one of the CEOs, who has a good grasp of physics, and who explained it to me in a way I could understand, and for Stewart and the others who asked the most amazing questions.
Whatever we each understood, what was palpable was that feeling of excitement I felt many years ago on school field trips.
Why did we go? Why not? We went because we were curious. We were interested to learn something new and unrelated to our businesses. Was it a “team building activity”? Not meant to be, but I do feel so much closer to the lovely people in this group. I now can’t wait until we meet again to feel the difference in our group dynamics!
So here’s my suggestion – take your team on a field trip. It’s not a teambuilding activity, not related to work, no debrief after, no lessons learned, no action plan generated. Just enjoy every moment of learning for learning’s sake, with people who you see everyday, but who you will come to know differently.
“The best leaders are insatiable learners”. No explanation needed for why I am sharing this link. It doesn’t matter what you are learning, just learn.
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And here’s the link to John Gardner’s speech:
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And just in case you feel you can’t find the time to learn, try the techniques in this article to help you find focus and free your energy and time:
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