Next time you are hiring and find outdoors or adventure experience in the extra curricular or hobbies section, you might want to give that CV a second look. Assuming of course that skills, education and other criteria are a match!
Experience in the outdoors and interacting with nature—from hiking to cycling to wildlife to camping—teaches individual things an urban environment cannot. There is also some pattern to be observed in people who are attracted to these pursuits. Some of these qualities, I find, have great value in the interdependent, interactive workplaces of today.
Here are some of them that I find extremely relevant and enduring as qualities to seek out in the people we bring into our organizations:
- RESPECT: The outdoors teaches one respect in its many dimensions. Respect for diversity of people, cultures, practices without being judgmental. Respect of others’ time, space and needs. In our silo-ed organizations we are quick to judge, draw perceptions and spread them. Such a person could be the right anecdote in such situations.
- ADAPTABILITY: Constantly being at the mercy of weather, limitations of remote locations and having limited control on events conditions an outdoorsy person for exigencies. Qualities that are of great value in organizations today where things are constantly dynamic and changes happening at a faster pace each day.
- STRETCH: Any trekker or cyclist worth his/her salt will tell you that the energy source for those long treks or ardous climbs is mostly mental. They constantly push their limits and seek the next big challenge and continuously set new benchmarks for themselves. Isn't it what we want in all our team members?
- TEAM SPIRIT: When on an outdoor trip, everybody is ready to pitch in with chores or tasks. The understanding of the interdependency is instinctive. In the outdoors a guide is just that.. A Guide, he/she cannot do everything for you. The team plays as important a role in the success of the trip as much as the guide... the essence of teamwork.
- POSITIVE ATTITUDE: An Outdoorsman( Women) will stand out and will have an air of confidence about them. If they don't then they are just faking it :). There is a certain positivity and energy about them that can be infectious. That can really help when the chips are down or when there is a crises to handle.
One has to be off course wary of the superficial wannabes as there are many. Don't worry they will give it away...
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