As a world-class air cargo terminal, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) has been providing the highest standard of cargo handling services for over 40 years. Best service always comes from high quality management. Hactl see their talents as assets, especially the new blood ---Management Trainees, Engineering Trainees, IT Graduates and Operations Trainees. So how do Hactl train their young talent ? You will be surprised.

Many corporate heads consider leadership and teamwork development as strategic imperativeS. To build their young talent, the corporate heads entered them into a 5-day Outward Bound training programme where participants formed teams of twelve to accomplish various challenges outside their offices. The focus of the training programme is to strengthen confidence, decision-making and leadership qualities in trainees. Teams were tested in real time, rather than learning leadership theory in a textbook environment, and their performance was debriefed regularly throughout the course.

During the 5-day training programme, participants are not allowed to use their electronic devices ---which also helps to encourage communication and be present in the “here-and-now”! They completed a set of challenges which involved a lot of leadership and teamwork elements in unfamiliar settings. These ranged from camping outdoors, cooking in the wilderness, hiking to the rugged peaks of Sai Kung peninsula and undertaking reflection via a solo activity. All of the routes and plans were made by participants. Hence, strategic planning and decision-making have also played an important role in the teams' journey. Each decision made by the team is a key to success. But of course failure is a good lesson to learn and reflect.

I used to be a selfish person and always aimed at my goals without considering other's needs. This training experience has enabled me to think more and put myself in my teammates’ shoes.

“I used to be a selfish person and always aimed at my goals without considering others' needs. This training experience has enabled me to think more and put myself in my teammates’ shoes,” said Leanne Szeto, one of the Engineering Trainees who participated in the 5-day training programme. Leanne is an active triathlete and has been in the Hong Kong Triathlon National Team since 2005. She said the 5-day journey was not that tough personally but learning to care for others and building up teamwork were her biggest challenges.

"Our team didn’t bring enough water during our hike to Sharp Peak. I have been to the Sharp Peak several times before but this time, the experience was totally different. We were lacked of water on our way to the Sharp Peak and I was so worried that my teammates would be dehydrated,” said Leanne.

She acted as a leader and eventually ran downhill and refilled another bottle of water and “saved her teammates’ lives”. Her team was so excited to finish one of the hardest hiking trail in Hong Kong. 

It was really a fruitful experience.

Roy Choi, Management Trainee and teammate of Leanne, who is also an outgoing person said the programme helped him to acquire a better understanding of team building and he will be better equipped to move into a new and increasingly complex leadership role in his aviation career. He has also expressed that collaboration makes a big difference. Sharing a high level of commitment to achieving common objective is far better than achieving it by himself.

Achieving the goal together in a team is a lot better than achieving it alone.

Left: Leanne Szeto  Right: Ray Choi