Of Elephants And Collaboration

By

Karen Neoh

22-11-2014

3 min read

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LDR-PDF-download-110x110Leadership lessons in fun experiential programmes

I love elephants! And it was with a heavy heart that due to an unexpected turn of events, I had to decline helping out as a facilitator at the recent F&N corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity visit to the Elephant Sanctuary in Kuala Gandah, with Rumah Ilham.

The Leaderonomics Youth team frequently invites everyone in the company to facilitate in their wonderful activities – oftentimes far, far away from the brick and mortar of Leaderonomics, always reaching out to connect organisations, people and causes.

From multinational companies seeking innovative ways to do good, to the youth of Malaysia seeking exposure and leadership lessons (subtly and effectively woven into the activities) to, in this case, the lovely pachyderms of Kuala Gandah.

The objectives of the outing were to encourage and demonstrate teamwork and a sense of integration and brotherhood among the 39 boys of Rumah Ilham through the theme of “collaboration”.

Leaderonomics Youth leader, Divya Chandy, shares her story.

Elephant Trail

After being assigned to groups, participants went on a hike in the jungle where elephants are usually found. They were also introduced to various plants in the Kuala Gandah jungle that were an attraction for elephants.

Mission: Elephant

Participants then went through a series of station games that demonstrated different aspects of the spirit of collaboration. They picked up clues to a puzzle that they had to solve.

At each station, participants earned points which were later added up and translated into monetary contributions by F&N Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd toward the cause of elephant conservation.

Each group proudly presented its donation to Rostam Yusof, a representative of the Conservation Center. A total of RM4,000 in donations was achieved by the boys that day.

The participants also had the opportunity to leisurely explore the sanctuary grounds and participate in a bathing session with the elephants.

Elephantine Memory

Participants learnt the value of working together in a team despite the fact that working with others may mean dealing with differing views and characters. By pooling together ideas and perceptions through active collaboration, a greater goal and purpose can be achieved.

Let’s hope the lessons are committed to memory, as that of an elephant! As the saying goes (and I looked it up – there actually are scientific studies to support this!), “Elephants never forget.”

How does Leaderonomics Youth work with companies on their CSR activities?

The Leaderonomics Youth team helps companies express, translate, design and execute leadership programmes for youth, based on their core values, vision and mission, and industry engagement.

Elements of leadership such as self-awareness, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, and decision-making were intentionally and specially embedded in different aspects and stages of programmes like the outing to the Elephant Sanctuary, enabling participants to engage and reflect on them.

Touching lives, impacting youth

The hallmark of Leaderonomics Youth activities is truly in finding ways to communicate to the youth – it’s not as straightforward as one might think – and puts you at the risk of another animal-related saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”.

With youths firmly in the forefront of their minds, the team focuses on incorporating leadership lessons in fun experiential programmes, and from the slew of comments and feedback from the young ones, the programmes certainly leave a lasting impression.

In conjunction with Independence Day this year, F&N brought a group of 28 youths from two orphanages, Rumah Kebajikan Anbu Illam and Shelter Home 3, to visit the Port Dickson Army Museum for an interactive tour of the Malaysian history.

To spice things up, the Leaderonomics Youth team simulated an “army style” tour by separating them into four squads, each having to elect a Corporal (group leader) and report to a Sergeant (F&N staff facilitator). At each station, squads had a mission to accomplish, with prizes to gain for the winning squad.

A historical game

From the first game, “transporting Parameswara to Malacca”, and a session on how Parameswara was inspired by a wild deer defeating his hunting dog, to the last game of the day, the lessons that could be learnt from our history and historical leaders were impressed upon the youth.

In the case of Parameswara, the session was focused on instilling resilience and maintaining a positive mindset.

Among many other games and sessions, the historical event of how our leaders insisted on forming a Malayan army taught the youths the importance of perseverance in achieving one’s goals.

Naturally, the game that followed was the marching competition! This got them all excited, and helped them understand the value of teamwork and team spirit.

Tired but recharged, all 28 youths whom the team shared the day with, and I dare say the F&N staff facilitators as well, had a great time and left Port Dickson armed with an arsenal of newfound knowledge, leadership lessons and firm friends.

Get in touch with us at editor@leaderonomics.com. If you like this article, you can find out more about our youth activities at http://leaderonomics.org/youth/

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