Organizational Development Programs

Horizons' organization development (OD) services and programs help organizations manage growth, identify and deal with root causes of organizational challenges, and facilitate organizational change. Horizons' staff conducts an assessment and works closely with clients to develop OD programs that meet their unique needs. The following progam descriptions represent a general overview of some of the programs Horizons can offer to clients.

"We know that it is a difficult task to mobilize and educate a large volume of people of diverse backgrounds, but [Horizons] certainly made the difference for us, and we appreciate your fine work."
- Microsoft

Leadership programs enable participants to assess, develop, and enhance their personal leadership knowledge and skills (including communication, creativity, empowerment, and risk taking). Experiential exercises are designed to help participants compare traditional leadership styles with new leadership paradigms.


Team Development programs address issues that enhance team performance (communication, diversity, leadership) and can include the following:
  • Team Building programs employ a learn-by-doing approach by using experiential initiatives (low and high ropes initiatives and classroom initiatives). Team-building initiatives foster greater team cohesion and commitments by enabling groups to communicate more effectively, develop trust and support, create group norms, and understand the value of each team member.
  • Team Decision-Making programs use experiential classroom approaches as well as more conventional classroom approaches to develop insight and skills for team decision-making. Participants learn techniques to enhance the team's problem-solving and decision-making ability, recognize the strength in differing opinions and approaches, learn how to boost creativity, and learn the importance of open communication.

Challenge Course Programs

Our Challenge Course activities benefit individuals and organizations.
Benefits to Participants

Horizons' challenge courses enable participants to see themselves as competent and self-reliant. Participants improve their self-confidence and self-esteem, develop a sense of personal empowerment, and develop an appreciation of the differences among people.

The ropes and adventure events challenge participants to stretch beyond their comfort zones or perceived capabilities into new skill areas. Participants learn to survive challenges and thrive within a supportive team environment. Participants also learn that the smiles, belly laughs, hugs and handshakes that result from shared challenges make life more meaningful.

Benefits to Business


  • Communication: Communication is the essence of all understanding and learning. Most organizational problems result from poor communication. Horizons challenge course program allows participants to practice communicating more effectively to meet both individual and team needs.


  • Committment: Employees who make a difference are committed to the goals of their organization and to their teams. Commitment toward shared goals and team members comes from individual involvement. Horizons' challenge course program provides participants with the opportunity to experience real commitment toward common team goals.
  • Challenge: People experience a greater capacity to take the risks required to think and act in an innovative manner when challenged in a supportive environment. Horizons' challenge course program provides challenges and gives participants the opportunity to experience risk taking while being supported by their team.
    I learned to continually challenge myself. - Bayer Corporation 
I learned to continually challenge myself. - Bayer Corporation
  • Trust: Without trust, deterioration takes place within an organization, eroding its integrity. Trust is not inherited. Trust is created and earned. Just as organizations need trust to thrive, so do effective teams. Horizons' challenge course provides participants with the opportunity to build group trust. As a result, participants are better able to take the risks necessary to help their team and organization thrive.


  • Empowerment: When employees are empowered, individual potential is unleashed, resulting in a myriad of benefits for the employee and the organization. Peter Koestenbaum, in his book Leadership, provides the following definition of empowerment:

"Empowerment = Autonomy x Direction x Support"
"Autonomy" means challenging employees or teams to take full responsibility for their ideas and actions. "Direction" refers to individual and team goals. "Support" signifies the validation of individual or team efforts. Each of these parts of empowerment are multiplied together to demonstrate that a zero ("0") in one part means a product of zero ("0"). All three--autonomy, direction, and support--are essential for empowerment and are built into Horizons' challenge course program.


High Performance team members:

  • have complementary skills, communicate effectively, commit themselves to a common purpose and specific goals
  • develop group norms for working together
  • commit themselves to other team members
  • develop a high level of trust within the team
  • hold themselves mutually accountable

Team-building exercises foster greater team cohesion and commitment by enabling groups to communicate more effectively, develop trust and support, create group norms, and understand the value of each team member. Horizons' challenge course staff create a highly contagious, non-threatening, supportive, cooperative environment. Participants' involvement increase as their enthusiasm spreads. Increased involvement results in increased team effectiveness.

When teams accomplish events they would not ordinarily imagine themselves capable of doing, they experience empowerment.

During a Horizons' challenge course program, participants are given a series of tasks they must accomplish as a team. No task can be accomplished alone. Team members must support each other. As a result, the group understands the potential power of a cohesive team. Teams who understand this power are more effective.

Challenge by Choice

The challenge course program presents participants with many obstacles to overcome both individually and as a group. At Horizons we believe in the philosophy of Challenge by Choice.
Challenge by choice does not mean that some participants can choose to sit while others participate. Challenge by choice means every person participates 100% based on the degree of challenge he or she chooses. A team may encourage a person to go on, to take one more step; however, each person makes his or her own choices. When given the freedom to choose their own levels of challenge, participants experience empowerment. Once empowered, participants will transfer the learning to their workplace and to their lives in general.

Horizons is committed to the challenge-by-choice philosophy. Group members are asked to respect the degree of challenge that each person chooses throughout the challenge course and are asked to commit to the following:

"I will do everything possible to help the group accomplish the tasks set before us, recognizing that I may make choices different from others and others may make choices different from me." 

"Horizons has artfully balanced 'challenge by choice' ropes exercises with the necessary processing to enable participants to really 'get' the learning of the experience as opposed to only being physically challenged."
- IBM-TQ Project