What does a hiking stick have to do with authentic leadership?


Allow me to explain.

We have a pretty cool ritual in the Leading From Within program of giving each participant an authentic hiking stick, carved from the very Aspen trees that encompass the beautiful North Fork Ranch where we host the workshop. I know, kind of makes you want to attend just for the hiking stick, doesn’t it! But wait, there’s more. We not only give out hiking sticks, but we ask all the participants to sign each other’s sticks as well; kind of like signing each other’s yearbooks back in high school.

So what’s the connection to authentic leadership?

Here’s the thing…we limit the number of participants in the Leading From Within program to 16 people (or less). We do this so that we can build a cohesive and supportive small group dynamic. This support team essentially provides the foundation of safety which allows participants to risk, share, and be more authentic; all key components to authentic leadership.

Don’t worry; I’m getting to the hiking sticks…

So even though participants are primarily working on themselves in this workshop, the support team provides the container to do the work. In other words, we cannot become authentic leaders in a vacuum, but instead must enroll others into our vision and visa-versa. Make sense?

Now to the hiking sticks

On the second afternoon of the Leading From Within workshop, we take participants out on a vision quest hike up the mountain. And, as you might expect, each participant has their hiking stick in hand to help navigate their way. These hiking sticks (complete with everyone’s name on them) provide support, balance, protection, and serves as a visual reminder that the team is always with them.

What’s more, since participants get to keep their sticks, they get a constant reminder well after the program of the role that their Leading From Within team played for them and continues to play for them as they navigate their way through life.

Although I welcome you to steal this idea, I encourage you to experience the experience yourself by joining us in Colorado, Sept. 12-14th, at the beautiful North Fork Ranch for the 33rd Leading From Within program.

Oh, and fly Southwest so you won’t get charged for checking your hiking stick on the way home.

* We still have 6 spots available for the Sept. 12-14th program. Email me for a brochure, greg@greggiesen.com.

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