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Operation scrub brush

Leadership lab 2.0

Operation Scrub Brush is a leadership development program where you try out and learn in real life situations, not with imaginary exercises used in classroom trainings. In Operation Scrub Brush, each participant will be able to challenge her/himself in real leadership situations, alongside other participants – but, without business related risks.

An essential part of the programme is a two-week-long intensive period, during which the small team of participants are both the workforce and the leadership, carrying out a meaningful project and doing physical work in an unfamiliar environment. As a result of the turns in leadership and the diverse feedback, the awareness of one's own leadership choices and tendencies, as well as the factors impacting a situation is significantly deepened. This development program is a process of personal growth.

If you want to lead well, this program is for you.

Aristotle once said that an entity is ethical when it fulfils its purpose. In Operation Scrub Brush participants are challenged to increasingly fulfil their purpose as leaders, produce results while supporting wellbeing at work, both of the workforce and of themselves, i.e., to lead ethically. On the more practical level this means competences such as:

  • the ability and willingness to lead courageously in a collaborative, responsible and honest way, to listen to people and their concerns as well as ideas, and to challenge them to perform well (vs. the other extreme: acting solo, lying, not listening to others)

  • the ability and willingness to self-reflection, to challenge and develop oneself (vs. at the other extreme: not recognising one’s own behaviour and its impact, believing one already knows everything, not willing to develop and learn new things)

Every year a small group of leaders travel to Namibia, where the exploration of leadership will take place through a working project with local partners. During the program a close-knit, mutually respectful group is quickly formed, where everyone wants to develop and support each other's development.

A deep dive into yourself

Operation Scrub Brush is based on a rich and multi-dimensional feedback. Fellow participants, the work, locals, the culture and two experienced psychologists give feedback daily. The daily feedback sessions are the most exciting part of the day. Some have claimed to have become hooked on feedback!

When working in an environment and culture that is foreign to us Northerners, the only certainty is uncertainty - every working day something unexpected happens. Surprises force the managers of the day to change plans and the team to improvise solutions. Just like in real-life leadership moments.

This plethora of information allows every participant to learn an incredible amount about themselves, their leadership and their blind spots. With more information, every participant can choose more freely how they want to lead in the future.

The days before returning home are dedicated to self-reflection: “What kind of feedback did I get? What did I learn about myself and my leadership style? How will I apply in my own work the things I have become aware of?"

In the Namibian desert, the mind is tuned into a profound and deep self-reflection: in the middle of an endless desert, under a vast African sky, with the sun setting on the horizon behind surreal red dunes, the mind is free in a way it is nowhere else.

Feedback from the Operation Scrub Brush participants

"I learned tangibly that in a difficult situation you need to have the courage to make decisions and to be able to act in the changed situation. You also have to be able to listen to other people's ideas, insights and perceive their needs."
Mikko Väänänen_140x140
Mikko VäänänenCommunications, European Chemicals Agency
“I made more productive business immediately after the program. In addition to improving my leadership skills, I found new possibilities and alternatives for negotiation situations and strategic choices."
Seppo Savolainen_140x140
Seppo SavolainenCEO, Constant Software Oy
"The feedback given in a confidential atmosphere has increased the awareness and of my own practices and enabled me to question them. My own strengths and areas for improvement became clearer and I became more aware of the rationale behind my own decisions. This development has continued even after the program."
Helmiina Wihuri_140x140
Helmiina WihuriService Director, Henki-Tapiola

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