Good leaders are made, not born.
But whoever heard of leadership training in the wilderness?
A group of 52 prefects of Royal College, Colombo, all leaders in their own right, set out to battle a series of challenges meted out to them, in the hope that they would emerge, a new brand of leaders ready to take on any obstacle they meet with.
A far sight different from the standard leadership programmes, the Wild Drift Leadership Challenge throws potential leaders into extreme situations and helps them decide on the best way to deal with those situations. A collaboration with the Royal College Batch of '87, this year's leadership challenge was the fourth of the leadership programmes organized by the two groups.
"In Royal College, the system of prefectship is different, in the sense that students are appointed as prefects after they have completed their A/L's," explained Navin Seneviratne, the President of the Royal College Group of '87. "The prefects are, therefore, a link between the administration and their fellow students. They also deal with all the event planning and other organizational activities of the school."
Considering this, the need was felt for a comprehensive leadership training programme which would equip these young leaders with the necessary skills and confidence they need to see them through.
And the leadership challenge did just that.
"The response to the programme was, from beginning to end, extremely positive," recalls Anuruddha Bandara, the CEO of Wild Drift. "All participants gave valued inputs and concluded the programme certain that they had gained something. At the end of the programme, I was told by two of the participants that they had learnt more on leadership in that one day than they had learnt in 13 years at school!"
Pasan Dayasena (19) and Yasitha Abeynaike (19) – two participants in the recently concluded programme both agree that "The leadership programme was a great educational experience which would definitely have an impact on our work as prefects in school as well as in our careers in the near future."
Starting off early morning on October 19, in a nutshell the programme involved the group being split up into five and given one destination to reach, with numerous obstacles and challenges along the way. The idea is that in the process of reaching the final destination, the participants are given ample opportunity to develop leadership and communication skills, in addition to learning to function effectively as a team or unit.
Each team's efforts were captured on video, and the participants viewed their progress. While laughing at their antics on video, they were also able to see for themselves where they went wrong, and to be guided by the coordinators of the programme, on how to rectify those mistakes.
"This is the purpose of all our training programmes," enthused Mr. Bandara. "It is to enable, empower and enrich people and their teams by developing deeper understanding of themselves, creating alignment with purpose and generating passionate excitement while promoting a sense of social responsibility."
Established in 2001, Wild Drift conducts many programmes-all outbound, which include Inward Wild Drift, Bonding Wild Drift, Survivor and Custom Made Courses to name a few. Wild Drift has many purpose built campsites- accommodation include-in locations where training programmes take place. They are – Belihuloya, Hanwella, Kudarama, Medagama, Sigiriya, Kithulgala and Kalpitiya.
The organization prides itself on the variety of different training and development tools used in each programme, and their capacity to ensure that the effects of the programme last well into the future. Each programme is led by one or both directors of the company who has more than 14 years of senior management experience under their belt. Conducted in English or Sinhalese, all activities focus heavily on teams and do not contain any activities which highlight individual performances unless requested.
Giving a whole new dimension to the concept of leadership, Wild Drift promises to all who enrol in their programmes, a one of a kind learning experience, with a lot of fun along the way.