Video: Learning Best Management Practices with Horses

Students on the MSc in Management Consulting at Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB) are going on an equestrian adventure to master best business practices.
Through this Equine Ethology training, otherwise known as Natural Horsemanship or Horse Whispering, students will study a horse’s innate behavior and metaphorically apply what they learn to the business world.

Based on the home study program ‘The Seven Games of Natural Horsemanship” developed and introduced to Europe by Pat Parelli in the 1980’s, GGSB is experimenting this unique initiation program, entitled “HORSEPLAY”, that applies the basic principles of Parelli’s Natural Horsemanship to the field of Management Consulting.

With the help and guidance of a trained professional in Equine Ethology, the budding consultants will interact with a herd of horses in semi-liberty to explore the fundamental notions of respect, trust and non-violent communication and apply the concept of the 7 Games to leadership in the business environment.

The games unfold as a sequence (1. Friendly Game, 2. Porcupine Game, 3. Driving Game, 4. Yo-Yo Game, 5. Circling Game, 6. Sideways Game, 7. Squeeze Game) where the horse, with the help of its leader, is required to adapt to situations such as being confronted with a noise or a scary object (Friendly Game) or crossing a narrow path between a fence & a tree (Squeeze Game).

In the business world these situations can metaphorically translate as learning to understand how to gain the trust of your partners or how to encourage them to surpass themselves and deal with uncomfortable or difficult situations to which they would naturally be resistant.

As Nancy Armstrong, Director of Studies at GGSB and designer of the Horseplay concept comments “In the natural world, the horse is a prey – it will flee anything that it perceives as unknown or difficult. It also has an innate reflex of opposition.
We all know that we cannot force a 500 kilo beast to do what it does not want to do – one can only suggest and encourage it to do so, by giving clear commands in a language that the horse understands, and by earning its trust. I personally believe that leadership in business should follow the same principles

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