Low Ropes Training Methodology: What Is It? A Summary from Chuck Needlman!

Low Ropes Training is designed to be a safe, challenging and rewarding experience for all participants regardless of physical ability. It requires a group effort to solve problems, help each other overcome perceived limits and produce a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment. While the elements are often thought of as being “physical,” while not physically demanding, any person willing to participate can do so through the cooperative efforts of the group.

Perceived risk is greater than actual risk because members must depend upon each other for success. This is accomplished through activities where no one member is viewed as an expert. This helps members shed both roles and titles. This sense of equality creates opportunities to lower barriers, allowing group members to connect and communicate openly. This also provides a dynamic catalyst to build trust, understanding, and dependence among participants. Providing clear and immediate feedback on the results of decisions made during an exercise promotes teamwork and leadership. Typically, elements last from 30-60 minutes in length and are followed by a debriefing session. The content of the debriefing is customized to address specific issues pertinent to the organization.

Low Ropes methodology creates opportunities for participants to reflect on behaviors by creating concrete images. Skillfully-crafted facilitation will make use of these images to move the group in a direction that allows for transfers of real work issues to take place. Also, it provides a medium for leadership development, team cooperation, and group growth.

Careful consideration is given to a well-thought out design to meet the specific needs of clients. Specific team and leadership models as well as other varying techniques will be incorporated as activity design and delivery take place to address specific competencies to a client group.

Author Bio: Chuck Needlman has been a management consultant, training manager, coach and facilitator for over 35 years. He served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia from 1975 to 1977. He worked for over six years with Marriott Corporation and 20 years for the federal government. He is dedicated to interactive training; he has developed and implemented a broad variety of strategies and programs for training and development, business planning, diversity, team building, and cross-cultural issues for all levels of organizations and government. Currently, he consults with the Foreign Service Institute, Peace Corps and USAID.

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