Rapid corporate expansion is generally not perceived as problematic, but in the case of Crowe, Derek wisely recognized that with growth came the need to reinforce the organization's cultural and strategic alignment so integral to their success by proactively strengthening relationships among hundreds of subject-matter experts in widely distributed offices.
The lessons I got from Outward Bound’s immersive, experiential program really sank in for me. I’ll never forget our team’s experience trying to keep the sailboat from crashing on the rocks.
Following a three-phase methodology, Outward Bound Professional served 14 leaders of Crowe’s Healthcare Performance Consulting team:
Phase 1: Assess & Design
In order to better understand the Crowe team’s work dynamic, Outward Bound Professional interviewed representative team members and reviewed existing Myer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) results. Key findings informed the design of a program which fully capitalized on the team’s unique strengths and opportunities for growth. While interviewees tended towards informed optimism, none of them was naïve about the challenges ahead and the importance of strong communication to avoid disconnects between leaders, business units, and differing reporting levels.
Phase 2: Engage & Impact Outward Bound Professional entered Phase 2 -- a two-day summit involving sailing, rock climbing, rappelling, and reflection in Maine’s MidCoast region -- intent on provoking participants to examine the balance they strike between results, processes, and relationships when confronted with a challenging task. During facilitated debriefs following periods of activity, participants examined what happened, why it mattered, and how to improve the performance of the team and the broader practice. Crowe leaders drew parallels between insights discovered in the field and their workplace dynamics, prioritizing opportunities to integrate key lessons learned into day-to-day business practices. Asked to revisit the experience three weeks later, a Crowe leader wrote, “Every exercise taught me I could count on every team member in times of chaos/need.”
Phase 3: Apply & Reinforce In the months following the summit, Outward Bound Professional extended its commitment to Crowe’s success by providing selected team members with 1:1 coaching, consulting with the Page 1 leadership team, and recommending strategies to increase individual and team performance during periods of rapid change. Participants appreciated the opportunity to speak freely with a trusted and objective coach who would help to memorialize next steps and monitor progress. One participant remarked, “I’ve paid more attention to how and what I am communicating, taking into consideration the impact my actions may have on other team members.”
In post-engagement interviews, the Crowe participants unanimously judged the OBP program a unique and valuable experience—individually and as an organization—citing the following specific outcomes:
Derek Bang, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer
“The outdoor experience sets OBP apart from other programs I’ve tried. It was wildly successful for us.”
“OBP takes you completely out of the daily office routine. I learned a lot about individuals—for example, one member turned too often to humor—as well as the dynamics of what I now realize is a pretty diverse group…. They take you deep, right to the core of your leadership style and practices, by putting you in a stressful situation—like an overturned boat.
“It’s also a very efficient program. The jump rope exercise, for example, highlighted important issues in just five minutes. They even used our lobster bake as a teaching occasion: we all had to work together to make our dinner…and believe me, we were hungry!
“Any team could benefit from OBP, especially one that doesn’t get a lot of physical time together.”
Melissa Dill, Managing Director
“As one of the senior team members, I’ve experienced many development and mentorship programs, but I have never had such a tremendous opportunity for personal and team development. It went way beyond sitting in a conference room with a whiteboard and PowerPoint, challenging us physically and psychologically.
“Outward Bound struck a fine balance between instructing us and letting us figure things out for ourselves—always within ‘guardrails’ that gave us the confidence to try things way outside our comfort zone. As a newbie at Crowe, it was especially valuable to feel encouraged and supported all the way."
“I had to take responsibility for a misguided assumption in one tricky situation while sailing. I learned a lot about myself and think I’m a better leader for it.
“It was interesting to observe others’ styles and learn from that, too. Some colleagues who tend to be outspoken started barking orders, then realized that may not be the best approach.
“When we encounter new challenges with a deadline looming, I think back to looking up at a cliff face in Maine we had to scale, and realize, We can do this!"
“Beyond all the lessons, it felt like being a kid again to sail, rock-climb and eat lobster on the Maine coast. It was an energizing and thrilling experience that I still think about today!”
While Maine is the home base of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, Outward Bound Professional conducts programs in diverse locations throughout the United States and around the world, from beautiful wilderness settings to urban business centers. With nearly 50 Outward Bound Schools on six continents, we’re near at hand to serve, to strive, and not to yield.