Will you believe that now dogs can teach humans how to become better bosses and managers? It’s true! An executive training program at Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills, Michigan, has guide dogs that teach executives and managers in the business world on how improve teamwork skills, clarify communication, build trust, do strategic planning and enhance creative problem solving abilities.
Coco is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever who is quite amazing in training humans of the corporate world. She is a part of a group of dogs that help run an executive-training program at Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
Dave Bann, the corporate- engagement manager at the Leader Dogs for the Blind program believes that it is one of the best training program for business executives. In the above picture, you can see Ginger Auten, who is a manager of human resources and administration at Mitsubishi – going through the “Harness the Power of Leadership Training program.”
She found the experience amazing. She was blindfolded and was told to hold Coco’s harness. She was asked to use precise commands to communicate with Coco in order to given her direction and has to surrender control and trust Coco. The experience was somewhat of an epiphany for her –
“Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and let yourself rely on help from others to guide you. You’re still in charge, even if you’re the blind person guiding the dog, and with any leader and employee, it’s a give-take situation, said Auten.”
How It All Started?
It all started around 5 years ago. Purina was their first client and later partnered with Leader Dogs for the Blind. The idea for the training program came out when people kept asking – how did the dog worked?
Dave Bann realized that the experience attained by their executive clients who were blind could also be valuable for the people who can see. So, he decided to apply the teaching lessons for the blind to the visually-abled people in the corporate world.
Richard Brauer, one of the blind clients of Dave Bann, has his own company that provides executive recruiting, development and diversity training. He also coaches the Leader Dogs executive training courses. Here is Richard Brauer giving a session:
It took around a year for Bann to write the curriculum for the executive training course. Most of the courses can be completed within a day and involves blindfold walks, cane walks and varied team building activities – where the participants has to complete a task based on cues Bann gives them via a dog clicker.
What the training program really teaches?
Along with teamwork skills, communication, trust building etc., this training program also teaches executives and managers the power of strategical planning and intelligent disobedience.
An example of intelligent disobedience was captured during a session at Mitsubishi. A woman was blindfolded and was put in a scenario where she and her handler dog had to board an elevator in a high-rise building – from 78th floor lobby to ground floor. When the sound of the elevator opening came, the blindfolded woman asked the dog to move forward. But the dog “refused!” The dog saw that the elevator opened to an empty shaft and moving forward would be fatal.
This example could be applied to a business scenario where even when a boss says to “proceed,” the decision to move forward or not is to be taken by the executive based on his or her solid understanding of the situation and knowledge of the consequences.
Similarly, their cane walk training program is analogous to a manager who’s trying to accomplish things on his or her own and not placing full reliance on their team.
Source: Detroit Free Press
For more interesting news like these, subscribe to our newsletter!