Andy Milne, Commercial Manager at ASB, took part in an Outward Bound Professional Course. Throughout his development programme "the learning never stopped" but 9 months on from the experience what difference has it made to life in the office and beyond?
What prompted you to take part in Outward Bound?
I grabbed the OB opportunity as I thought it was a great chance to upskill. I have two direct reports and wanted to refine how I lead and manage. I also had an interest in the outdoors in my younger years and thought it would be a good chance to reconnect with those environments.
What were your aims for the experience?
I found it a useful process to sit down with my line manager and set some key objectives for my learning, prior to leaving for Anakiwa. It gave me real focus during the course. Personally, I was looking for ways to be more effective at work - from improving my communication and planning to simply believing in myself more. I wanted to learn how to inspire others through great leadership and to develop role modelling behaviours.
What benefits did you take away from the programme?
The opportunity to test out different leadership styles and put them into practice was invaluable. There aren't many places which you can switch from being a directive to a consultative leader in just a day but OB gave me the chance to see the impact of these different styles. It really was leadership in action. As a result, I'm now much more self-aware, which is a great quality to have in any professional environment.
Any particular highlights?
The solo (a period of solitary reflection time spent in the bush with minimal resources) was incredible. The chance to decompress, to reflect and review the week's events was something truly special. The entire course was an exercise in real mental toughness and resilience, as well as being physically challenging, of course.
What's happened since your course?
I've seen some skills and qualities emerge since my time at Anakiwa. I've realised the importance of having a 'helicopter view' - the ability to look ahead and plan strategically as well as taking care of the here and now. I think my boss would also say he's seen an improvement in my confidence and my self-belief.