How much connection do you build in your team?

I just got back from an extraordinary few days with the first Leader’s Edge Mastermind group. This intrepid group of eight met for the first time in Alice Springs before heading out on the spectacular Larapinta Trail, one of the world’s classic overland tracks. Our intention was to EXPERIENCE this remarkable landscape, REFLECT at the foot of inspiring ridge lines, and CONNECT deeply with each other. Oh, and we had some laughs! This is the start of a 12-month leadership development and peer support odyssey, so it’s important to set the tone for fun!

After much drawn out avoidance and procrastination, the group named themselves the “Fearless Bustards”.  A ‘bustard’ is a type of terrestrial bird we spotted at one of our campsites, called ‘Fearless Campsite’. Hence, the name.

The Fearless Bustards in Ormaston Gorge

The Fearless Bustards in Ormaston Gorge

Humans are tribal animals. We love to belong. We feel safe in groups. The transition from nomads to city dwellers has not eradicated the fundamental urge to connect.

Sadly, in cubicle nation the opportunity to connect, really connect as fellow human beings, is rare.

After four days on the Larapinta Trail with eight others from vastly different backgrounds, this is what I know to be true:

Connection binds.

A shared experience in wilderness settings creates bonds like no other. To gaze together at the full moon rising, and wonder at its timeless beauty humbles. And unites us. We feel in its ageless presence the fleeting nature of our own time here on this marvellous planet.

Worries fade as the heart is filled with awe. We crack open with joy and sheer delight! This openness allows us to see, and be seen.

Connection frees.

As the thread of trust is woven by caring for one another, looking out for each other’s welfare, laughing together, we feel our usual masks dissolve. We feel the flicker of play return, the sustaining energy of happiness ripple through our being.

The sunlight floods the landscape and burns away pretence. We are simply travellers, companions mesmerised and embraced by country aeons old.

You don’t really get that in an elevator or office block.

Connection is transcendent.

And so we must return to the lives we’ve created. Each in our own corner of the world, we feel yet the bonds of friendship and respect. We know we can reach out for a quick hello, or for a longer conversation when we feel fragile and uneasy.

How then can we create connection with others that binds, frees, and transcends?

Wilderness journeys are a powerful tonic. A must-do for every team, at least once per year.

Excursions outside for an afternoon will ease tension and slide frayed nerves in to neutral.

Daily breaks for a walk and a chat, a real chat, weave simple connections between you and others.

Let yourself be human, let yourself reach out and really see someone else, and let them see you too. Embrace with a full heart and safe hands.

What do you do to build and sustain connection in your team?