Remarkable, of course, learning to ride without a bike. You wouldn’t want to expose your kids to this: "Johnny, come, we're going to be taking you on long bike rides a few years from now, so here’s ‘no bike’, so you can get the hang of it." It is so absurd, so strange and at the same time it’s daily practice in our companies and institutions.

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I have to admit I’m rather fond (read: I’m a huge fan) of those four annual days of learning, engaging and networking at the ATD, the Alliance for Talent Development’s annual International Conference and Exposition. But as time and years pass by, I’ve grown a quite an itch towards leadership.

It’s inescapable at the conference, in general sessions, in keynotes, in concurrent sessions, on the exposition floor: leadership is big business. Maybe this level of attention, expenditure and time can be explained by the fact that leaders are the happy few in organisations and not the mighty many. Maybe because they’re the ones that have decision making and budgetary authority over expenditures on learning and development. And maybe even by the fact that our brains are wired for status, position and authority.

Picture this. The ATD 2016 in Denver, Colorado had just finished and four Dutch L&D professionals took off for Estes Park and our first taste of the Rockies. What an experience that turned out to be! One of our happy band is a seasoned connoisseur of the Alps (aptly named: “an Alpinist”) and suggested that we undertake a hike together. We negotiated a bit on duration and height difference. We ended up settling for a four to five-hour hike with a height difference of around 600 meters (1800 feet) in Rocky Mountains National Park.

Let me tell you this. For a European to enter the Rockies is a deep dive into amazement. Such wilderness. Such vastness. Such sheer emptiness. And so many elk, everywhere. Picture us gawking when we paid our $ 20 dues to enter the Park and you get the picture.

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