If you’ve experienced a National Outdoors Leadership School (NOLS) course you likely have fond memories and a heightened appreciation for the expedition behavior required to make the most out of any trip. But it doesn’t stop there. NOLS also brings it’s philosophy to corporations and organizations for a private NOLS experience. Meet NOLS Professional Training (NOLS Pro).
Started in 1999, NOLS Pro offers one- to three-day custom leadership courses and three- to 30-day wilderness expeditions. Clients range from universities to fire departments to software companies. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has been using NOLS Pro programming for the past seven years. Google uses NOLS Pro to run a three-hour orienteering/GPS exercise as part of its quarterly executive training program. “It’s basically a big strategy game that helps our leaders step outside of their comfort zones, experiment with behavior adjustments and learn how to work together more effectively,” says Rich Fernandez, Google’s Director of Executive Development.
Perhaps the best example of applying NOLS values to the business world is at NASA. Astronaut John Grunsfeld did a NOLS course as a teen and recognized the value that NOLS Pro could offer his crew as they geared up to work on the Hubble Telescope while it was in orbit more than 300 miles above the Earth.
“NOLS Pro can bring any organization the opportunity for the leader or manager who usually dominates the conversation to step back and see how various team members act as leaders, and, equally important, for the team to see how the leader acts as a follower,” Grunsfield says. “It provides a better understanding of the leader/follower interaction and builds trust—and that’s what makes for a strong and efficient team in any situation.” nols.edu/nolspro