Greenland: leadership in the extreme and as an ultimate experience

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(eTN) – Svend Hardenberg has put together an extraordinary Think Tank Expedition – a leadership program in his home country – for Scandinavian top executives and top managers, which is to be held with

(eTN) – Svend Hardenberg has put together an extraordinary Think Tank Expedition – a leadership program in his home country – for Scandinavian top executives and top managers, which is to be held within the Greenlandic nature at Kangerlussuaq (the Big Fjord) from August 18-22, 2012 .

Not getting disturbed by any electronic devices is one of the key issues of the program. The philosophy is to have a clear mind for getting clear results for high-level negotiations and turnaround of business evaluations in a world with no roads, no infrastructure, and no electronic coverage.

It is a kind of survival excursion for top management in a landscape without any trees, no place to hide, and no infrastructure outside the sea.

It will force participants to refocus on time and space – if you don’t get distance from the usual life and patterns, it is difficult to get clear views, explained Svend Hardenberg.

The journey starts off in Copenhagen with Air Greenland to Kangerlussuaq and continues with chartering a boat. Participants have to build a camp from the ground up, and need to have a hunting license, as modern facilities are foreign words and supermarkets do not exist.

Therefore – and instead of headhunting – get prepared for a treat of real hunting for food, such as musk ox, reindeer, polar hare, or rock ptarmigan, and whatever you come across with that will later be on the daily menu.

For more variety, participants go kayaking, like the locals do, and fish for arctic trout, salmon, and Greenland shark – instead of fishing for compliments.

Trekking trips are the ultimate solution for fruity desserts, where participants may pick berries and discover Greenland, the world’s biggest island, stretching approximately 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) from north to south and approximately 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) from east to west.

About 85 percent of this landmass is actually an ice sheet and is, therefore, white on the map. But it can get very warm during the short period of summer, from June to August, said Sven Hardenberg, when temperatures can go up to 30° C ( 86° F) but can drop down to only one digit only at night.

When asking Svend Hardenberg if Polar bears will be joining the meeting as well, he said that is rather unlikely, but sometimes they can be seen at a long distance.

With a total population of 56,000 inhabitants, Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark and located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe, especially Norway and later Denmark for more than a millennium.

Greenland is, by area, the world largest island. With a population of 56,749 (2012 estimate), it is the least densely populated country in the world! Nevertheless Greenland has been inhabited, though not continuously, by Arctic peoples via Canada for 4,500-5,000 years. Greenland’s Royal Head of State is Margarthe II, Queen of Denmark.

It is difficult to get lost in Greenland’s capital of Nuuk, which has no more than 16,000 inhabitants and was founded by the missionary, Hans Egede, in 1728 as the very first town in Greenland. But Nuuk can look back on a rich and varied history where the oldest settlements date back 4,200 years.

While this year it is the first and “trial” excursion, which has long been planned, Svend Hardenberg, CEO for LinKS Advice, is looking forward to inviting a small group of not more 25 persons for next year’s expedition (from August 18-23, 2013), including a trip to the Greenlandic Ice Cap (Indlandsisen) – stepping on to the ice – for the next leadership journey. Due to very short summer period, it is not possible to have more excursions.

Under the guidance of Camp Chief Arne Hardenberg, a professional trophy hunting, heli-skiing and former elite alpine skier (participating in a Winter Olympics), and also owner of Greenland Extreme, which is responsible for all safety issues, as well as for the technical part of the trip – participants will discuss by campfire – as in hot discussions – strategic issues on leadership under the extreme for new perspectives and solutions.
Even though it seems a pretty rough experience, women are more than welcomed to join the ultimate leadership experience next year, said Mette Laursen, CEO & Founder of LinKS Labs, Copenhagen.

How to get to Greenland? Air Greenland flies all year round from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland, having up to 10 flights a week in the summer. The flight time (both destinations) is 4.5 hours.

Danish is the official language, but English is widely spoken in Greenland. Travelers might find it difficult to learn Kalaallisut – “the Greenlanders’ language.” Greenlandic belongs to the Inuit-Aleut family of languages that is spoken by some 80,000 Inuits in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. In terms of its structure, the language is completely different to Indo-European languages.

About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.