Outside Thinking: The Benefits to Strategic Thinking, Problem Solving and Learning

The physical and mental health benefits of being outside in nature are well documented  –  reduced levels of stress and anger, lower blood pressure and improved mood to list just a few.

Leaders who build in spending time outside and find ways to bring nature into their everyday lives  know this is critical to maintaining their overall wellbeing in such challenging times. See our previous blog.

But what about the benefits that go beyond the physical and mental?

What about the benefits that, if harnessed, make problem solving and learning more successful for leaders, strategic thinking more creative, decision making more effective, and teams much stronger?

Can nature alone really do that? And help you live longer at the same time?

It’s a yes from us at JFA!

Why? Because:

  • being outside allows the day-to-day grind and issues, to disappear temporarily, offering the individual headspace to actually think and explore ideas
  • being outside among nature gives us a new perspective, and that helps us problem solve by thinking very differently
  • being outside increases creative thinking – let’s face it, staring at the same four office and boardroom walls every day is always going to be a big barrier to creativity and innovation
  • time outside can break down barriers and inspire increased feelings of community, trust and goodwill and that leads to improved teamwork and networking
  • many of us learn more and learn better when we learn outside.

In the context of leadership, I personally find the impact of ‘the outside’ absolutely fascinating. The untapped potential of our capacity to think more creatively and deliver ambitious strategies, is huge and so exciting.

It’s these very concepts of using the power of nature to reignite that innovative thinking and passion in leaders that is at the heart and soul of JFA’s Adventurous Leadership Programme.  From our residential retreats to ‘walk and talk’ programmes and local business networking, we use the stunning visual beauty of both the UK and Icelandic landscapes as the inspiring catalyst to get executives and business leaders addressing their challenges with energy and positivity, putting the spirit of adventure back into their leadership.

And from my experience, it’s needed now just as much as ever.

When I speak to CEOs and senior leaders who want to develop their skills to become more effective, there’s always a common theme in what they tell me, regardless of the industry they work in.

They need more headspace to think clearly, strategically and creatively.

But the challenging environment in which all business and organisations are currently operating means they feel they have little choice but to default to the same traditional working conditions and patterns of long days in stifling offices and virtual environments with little access to the outdoors and its awesome power to force a different way of learning and approaching problems.

Yet, organising personal development opportunities in a new settings in the outdoors, can provide inspiration as well as give leaders a break from their usual routine.

And, here at JFA, we’re not the only team that has witnessed the benefits of being outside. Our research on this matter has highlighted other organisations also sharing the impact being outdoors can have.

Management Professor Kimberly Elsbach informed American National Public Radio:

“Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It’s also detrimental to doing that rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha’ moment.”

So true!

And CEO Steve Bookbinder who’s led workshops for clients such as Bloomberg, shared back in 2014:

“There continues to be too much of ‘let’s do the training in our own offices.’ The problem is that companies may not be considering the adequacy of their facilities, the environment factor essential to ideal learning. So while they have reduced the investment portion of ROI by staying onsite, they also may have reduced the return by compromising the learning experience.”

The JFA team for one, agree with these statements entirely – from our own personal experiences as well as working with our clients. Indeed, these are some of the key outcomes that our Adventurous Leadership Retreats and our ‘Walk and Talk’ 1-2-1 sessions deliver.

So, if you’re totally serious about wanting to make a significant difference in your organisation … you want to lead change successfully with your people right behind you – you wish to solve challenges more effectively – and take your strategic thinking to the next level, then don’t miss out on the support that JFA offer in the stunning settings of both Northumberland and Iceland.

Working with us, we’ll certainly put a ‘spirit of adventure’ into your leadership and a spring in you step, to really make things happen.

And watch out! Details will be announced shortly of our Icelandic Leadership Reboot Retreat. But if you can’t wait, do get in touch – places will be limited, and we are expecting high interest!

For further information – simply tap on to our Contact Details

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Jane Fisher Associates
01904 215 377 07837 024 374 hello@janefisherassociates.co.uk
Jane Fisher Associates Ltd
Studio 2, Allendale Forge Studios
Market Place
Allendale Town
Nr Hexham
NE47 9BD