LeaderSurf Approaches Leadership Development as Field Trip for Business Executives
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 17, 2017 : LeaderSurf's tagline for their leadership development program is, leadership development done differently. The program's unique approach to developing business executives has caught the eye of industry leaders.LeaderSurf is a week-long leadership development program for experienced business executives. The program combines leadership development, executive coaching, psychometric assessments, humanitarian aid, business challenges, teambuilding, mindfulness and physical activity through daily surfing lessons.
According to multiple sources US companies spend over $150 billion annually on leadership programs. Prevailing research has shown that few of those programs deliver measurable behavior change. According to Brian Formato the founder and President of LeaderSurf, "Placing business leaders in a conference room for several days of leadership lectures is a waste of time and money. LeaderSurf develops the whole person by bringing together a diverse group of enthusiastic learners in a foreign environment where they bond, have authentic conversations, practice servant leadership through the humanitarian aid project and challenge themselves to learn to surf. The surfing serves as a powerful metaphor for leadership and self-awareness."
The setting for the program in Playa Santana, Nicaragua has been described by past participants as a "learning paradise". The natural setting helps participants connect with nature and with each other in ways not afforded in a conference center. Daily sunset reflections sessions encourage participants to share their learnings as they take in the beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Formato states, "Leadership should be a selfless act and the humanitarian aid project brings that to life." Participants spend a full day in a local village that lacks access to clean drinking water. The LeaderSurf participants help to install water filtration systems that provide a sustainable supply of clean drinking water to the village. LeaderSurf participants have installed over thirty filter systems, transforming the lives of local Nicaraguan families.
The daily surfing lessons are the most unique component of the program. Learning to surf serves as a powerful metaphor for learning to lead. One must overcome fears, be comfortable being uncomfortable and learn to work with the ocean to achieve success. Participants quickly learn that it is impossible to control the waves and that the best alternative is to learn to manage one's reaction to the conditions.
According to an executive participant from The Motley Fool, "I've been through a lot of leadership training -- so I was a little skeptical that I would get much more out of this program. But I was very pleasantly surprised. Working with a small group of, well, strangers -- people who I don't work with -- led to very open, constructive conversations that offered new and unbiased perspectives. Taking the training out of the workplace and making it truly experiential made it a more memorable and impactful experience."
A MetLife executive participant commented on the feedback and the leadership assessments by saying, "I found this to be INCREDIBLY valuable. It gave me some new-found insight into myself."