I recently went to a week-long, UGL training course at Näsby Slott in Taby, Sweden. I found myself listening to these two Sin Fang covers all week, as I wandered around the historic grounds of the manor.
Now that I have had time to process it, UGL was more of a training course in group dynamics than leadership. It was an incredibly valuable but bizarre experience (at least for me). I was with 11 other people from six different countries, who all worked for Swedish companies. Some from big companies, some from small, all with different motivations in work and life. I suppose, since someone at some point had chosen each of us to attend the course, we are all predisposed to achieve, and I think that this was maybe the one common thread with everyone there. Everyone wanted success or to achieve the desired end-result. It then quickly became a week-long debate in, what is the desired result? Who determines was success means? What is the quickest way to get to success and at what expense?
The objective and values of the course are everything that you would expect from a leadership training course: effective communication, feedback, handling conflict, etc. but I think that the most valuable part of the experience was the amount of emphasis put on reflection, both individual reflection and group reflection. I thought of myself as an introspective person before the course, but this was at a whole different level. To me introspection was something that had to happen naturally – you don’t plan time for introspection.
In business we are always moving so fast, the strategist in me really learned a lot from this scheduled reflection time. Sometimes taking a step back (a real step back, and not a quick pause) can before much more efficient and actually the fastest route in the long-term. I am a very macro thinker so, I am excited about exploring this further and incorporating more reflection into my professional life. Of course, all of this planned reflection time was painfully awkward in the beginning (and it still is) but I am believer in iterative creative processes. I don’t think that you can force or plan creativity, but I do think the more chances we give ourselves to create, the more chances we give ourselves to have those “ah ha” moments. I would rather get the the end result through rounds of experimentation then pontificating until I have exactly the right answer. Partially because those round of experience will possibly become valuable in the future when I am working on something else.
So, for me it makes since that reflection could also be something (a bit) scheduled or iterative. I used to be so diligent with yoga, but as my travel schedule has become more and more hectic over the years, I have let it and too many other routines slip. A few weeks ago, in London, I had a good talk with Josh (flâneur extraordinaire) about the importance of establishing routines when traveling. It can be so easy to slip into a place of ambivalence when you are always on the road, floating between the reality of back home and the present albeit momentary state of being.
Do you have any routines when you travel, to always feel grounded? I’ve started packing tea, granola and a yoga DVD in my suitcase and am making a point to always unpack (thanks, Josh).
Instagr.ams from Näsby Slott:
Bye Bye Nasby Slott. I’ll miss you, but after that expedited growth period, I can’t imagine ever going back…
The original photos are here.