Learning and Leadership Development in the Outdoors

Having returned from a recent and grueling weekend camping excursion, the reflection on the experience yields learning lessons that go deep into character inspection and leadership development.

Being out in nature with no amenities calls forward a common sense that cannot be employed in an urbanized area. Developing skills in an outdoor setting requires a real approach to experiential learning. This is where one must perform or fail. Failure means learning. Success means eating, sleeping, shelter, and safety.

Education plays a large role in preparation with knowing how to start a fire, tie knots or lift food out of reach of wildlife. Many times people are stirred or shaken by noises in the night having become too accustomed to comfort and convenience. Convenience is a disaster for leadership development.

With proper guidance, preparation and the right intention, doing leadership skills building in the outdoors brings a depth and breadth to the experience. Being far removed from the office challenges the senses. The unfamiliarity changes the thinking required for success.

Convenience is a disaster for leadership development.


It is not about competition as many are taught on ‘how to win’ at work, rather it is about integrating the systems at play and respecting the ecology by learning, adapting and being. This is the strongest and fastest experiential method I have researched and come across to build critical leadership skills for organizations. Here is a small list of attributes that are used:

  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Decision- Making
  • Physical Stamina
  • Environmental Scanning
  • Scenario Planning
  • Mindfulness
  • Consideration
  • Teamwork
2018-08-13T11:59:06+00:00