Take the adventurous approach to team building and leadership.
Ben Southall is a professional adventurer who believes off-the-beaten-track experiences provide the perfect opportunity for business leaders to build and discover strength, fortitude and resilience so they can better run their business and be happier people.
Best known to many as the winner of the 2009 Best Job in the World competition as Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, Southall (pictured left) has created a business taking entrepreneurs and leaders on personal growth and team-building exercises that are about as far from ordinary as imaginable.
“There’s something innately primeval about getting off the beaten path to recreate that feeling of being an early explorer or pioneer,” Southall, Adventurepreneur and Expedition Director of Best Life Adventures, tells The Brief.
“Being tied to such controlled, premeditated paths through life is something most people want to escape from at least once or twice.
“Add in the more recent need to digitally disconnect, and it creates the perfect synergy to facilitate personal growth, adventurous mindset coaching and extreme networking in an environment where people can fully apply themselves with little distraction.”
Southall says his adventures incorporate his mantra of what he refers to as the Five Bs - a little bit of Bear Grylls, James Bond, Richard Branson, Red Bull and Ben Southall.
Adventures for “team building”
Southall describes adventure in the great outdoors as “the ultimate business mentor”, insisting it makes good sense for some businesses and some teams to embark on what are somewhat unconventional “team building” and personal growth adventures.
“The term ‘team building’ has been around for a hundred years and something about it makes me feel a little uncomfortable,” he says. “It’s seems like a forced cliché loaded with expectation. In my mind, when a group of people go through an incredible shared experience together, they become better connected, so team-building is a natural by- product.
“Office-based team building has its place, but I feel it’s an extension of the school classroom - somewhere you just want to get out of!
“Getting outdoors where the air is clear and you can feel the earth beneath your feet develops a better connection to the planet and the people around us. Shared, digitally-disconnected wilderness experiences are the best places to really get to know someone.”
Southall says shared physical experience “is an absolute leveller” stripping back hierarchical structures and status, offering a new opportunity to see each other in a different light.
“When you make it to the end of a long day, and you’ve helped pull each other through, conversations are more open and direct, and the relationships that result are stronger,” he says. “And the shared sense of accomplishment is something which cannot be recreated or manufactured.
“When you’re in the middle of a wilderness environment, there’s something exhilarating about it that makes you feel alive. The more time we spend stuck working in toxic office environments, the more we lose our connection to nature and our natural survival skills that are vital for creativity.