The Recess College Sabbatical Programme
Specially designed for international, senior executives and high achieving professionals from every sector this unique intensive programme is for people in their thirties up to the end of their career. The ten-days span two weekends and five days in-between, away from work. It is followed by a three-day review event two months later for participants to reflect on how they transferred their learning to work and home.
The Sabbatical is offered once a year and is invitation-based. The ratio of staff-to-participants is very high (1:2 participants) in order to offer the full range of resources needed for people to take risks safely in addressing personal and organisation development.
The strength of the Sabbatical is that the learning is highly experiential
The programme is often experienced as a highly condensed version of ‘real-life in a different setting’. You will learn about the demands of self-leadership and leadership of others in organisations through a community of shared purpose created by the participants. The Sabbatical ‘works below the surface of leadership’, understanding the connection between the individual, the collective and the organisation, with how the individual operates, survives and influences within these.
In order to lead others you must first be able to lead yourself. The College is unique in its helping you invest in your personal growth with an equal focus on how you lead your organisation. You will experience and challenge your patterns, behavioural and emotional blocks, those coping mechanisms that no longer serve you well and may sabotage your best endeavours. You will be able to gain confidence in those drivers that make you good at what you do, encouraging your wider influence with others.
People come to The College Sabbatical because they are in transition, often in work roles or personal relationships – but also due to a desire for personal transition. At this senior phase of life many of us want more vitality, a renewed sense of being fully alive with increased personal meaning. The Sabbatical provides you with ways to access your own resourcefulness, awareness and optimism. It gives you support in a unique and individual opportunity to delve into the emotional and practical riches of your internal and external life.
The community acts as a lens… It illuminates your own behaviour, but also the power of groups and organisations; how they can empower belonging, and the care needed to bring out the best of the individual in the collective. It offers you an opportunity to ‘take a balcony view’, looking at the collective situation and dynamic from multiple perspectives, and quickly understanding where the power and influence lies and where action is needed.
Organisations have deleted the concept of community, and then find the need to reinstate a semblance or ‘replica’ of it through team-building and organisational development. Here we look at what the essence of a healthy, purposeful community can do for an organisation, and how you can foster co-working and such community experience and skills in your life and work.
History and participating organisations
The College was founded in 1988 in response to an increasing demand for a leadership programme that went deeper, and provided more than traditional leadership teaching. Over the years more than 100 organisations (corporate, academic and consultancy) have invested in sending candidates to The Recess College Sabbatical. The programme is invitation-based, and has spread through personal recommendation.
Originally these colleges were created for women only, however the success of The Recess College method meant that senior women asked for it to be opened to men. We now welcome both men and women, keeping them nonetheless separated into same-sex groupings. This has proven incredibly stimulating in many different ways. The design triggers equal but different learning for men and women, stimulating them to ask huge questions about the nature of leadership, co-operation, closeness and assumptions about how men and women ‘inhabit’ their work roles.
After the programme
After the first Sabbatical in 1988, a number of participants wanted to continue the learning process. This has developed into a popular opportunity for all participants: to join a small six-monthly co-consultancy group, self-managed by participants and facilitated by the staff. Additionally, several participants have invested their own time to become senior facilitators for Recess College programmes.
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The next Recess College for Women is 20th to 29th May 2022 and for the Men’s College 15th to 24th July 2022.