We watch very little TV in our house. One of the shows we used to watch often was The Amazing Race. Good clean fun, language, themes, and get to see the world too. Teams of two people travel the globe with unknown challenges and opportunities along the way. Our daughters like it (11, 15 yrs.), as do my parents (Late 70’s).
Last week I was set to deliver two of Odyssey Teams CSR Leadership programs; Life Cycles where you teams build a bike for children in Niagara Falls, Canada and Helping Hands in Santa Monica California. The race began on Monday.
Flew from Sacramento to Washington DC to Buffalo NY then drove a rental car to Niagara-on the- Lake Canada. Tuesday morning drove to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Niagara Falls, (BTW I believe there are literally thousands, not just 7).
I recently led our Bridge the Gap program to 117 Senior Leaders from Shell Oil. This was our fifth engagement with the group as they have been embarking on changing their individual leadership tendencies as well as the culture of their extended teams.
While in the past, the group participated in our CSR philanthropic team-building programs such as Playhouse Challenge, Helping Hands, Life Cycles (Build a Bike), this time the goal was to have each person contribute in a unique way to the overarching goal.
…and in the midst of it all practice new behaviors, step into the unknown/uncomfortable, and collaborate while putting their influence on their one of 117 pieces of the outcome.
With only a hint of the final product and thumbnails of what to emulate as a leader they realized afterwards that…each piece matters. Leadership is an art. Tasks had varying degrees of difficulty. Natural strengths/talents had to be set aside for new actions. Positive moods and collaboration were vital to execution and success of going from current reality to their target. They were anxious to see the picture.
I haven’t spent two nights in the same bed for over 11 nights. No moss on this stone. A mix of leadership training and cultural development programs in Ft. Lauderdale, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas and a couple of family adventures too. That changes tonight with 4 nights at home, the travel was worth it for sure.
Last week we delivered our highly requested Life Cycles where teams build a bike for children in this leadership session for 280 participants from SafeNet. They chose Life Cycles over our other philanthropic team-building programs; Playhouse Challenge, and Helping Hands, because they wanted to make a big difference in the local area – Atlantic City.
This was my first trip to Atlantic City. I arrived after midnight. The cab ride from the airport was quick and took me through empty, lonely looking streets with neon lights above. The Trump Taj Mahal hotel had a similar look and feel as I checked in at the front desk and walked through the quiet casino floor and hallways.
Back from Christmastime and New Years with family. Then back from Barcelona for a global (36 countries represented), Life Cycles program and two more Life Cycles in Cincinnati Ohio and Half Moon Bay California…I’m back to blogging.
Usually at all of our philanthropic team-building programs – Life Cycles where teams build a bike for children; Playhouse Challenge; and Helping Hands – the session begins with the ‘owner of the meeting’ (our client partners VIP) introducing us to the group. What happens next is always interesting.
Does the crowd applaud robustly, or perhaps more like a polite ‘golf clap’ or sit in silence with mouths agape (not too unlike a trout in a stream)? It is always different and always a mystery. What has stemmed from it all is an observation about support.
Blah Blah Blah or Blog Blog Blog
The good news…I just finished two fabulous days doing our Helping Hands (build-a-hand) workshop for a terrific client partner. In fact we’ve done all of our philanthropic team-building programs for them – Life Cycles (where teams build a bike for children), The Playhouse Challenge, and Board Meeting. They report a shift in the culture as a result.
The bad news…due to giving the session a few extra needed minutes, snow, and an accident on the highway. I missed my flight out of Edmonton. Thus, one more night and morning away from those I love and a short transition to prepare for another program.
The good news…an extra night in a hotel to catch up on some work so when I am home, I can be the best husband and dad possible!
The Blog Humbug news… is part of my catching up is to write my weekly blog. Lain, Bill and myself have been influenced by our stellar PR team to write blogs. The premise is that it will lead more people to our website.
“The right attitude with one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms every time.”
One of the privileges prior to leading an Odyssey philanthropic team-building workshop such as Life Cycles (bike building) or Helping Hands (build-a-hand kit), is getting a glimpse of our clients’ world, their desired outcomes for their team. We then get to craft an experience for the participants to see how they respond to people and situations. Often times they will call upon their strengths, shift their mindset and deal with the challenge at hand.
We all have a wall in front of us to climb. My friend’s nephew recently completed this beautiful, compelling, inspiring 8-minute “Sundance worthy” movie. Watch it!
With stunning cinematography, a captivating story and authentic dialogue, (A pot of gold worth of sound bites), he does what in some aspects is an inherent by product of Odyssey Teams leadership, teambuilding, and philanthropic workshops.
As a past Odyssey participant says…
“It really makes you think about not only what life has dealt you and what you are doing with those cards, but also about what kind of people you choose to surround yourself with on a daily basis.”
We pride ourselves on bringing our clients’ values to life and providing positive tangible results to extend beyond the session. We are grateful for the magic of the human spirit and how it so often flourishes during these partnerships
Go Gimp Monkeys!
A nice thing about leading Odyssey’s philanthropic team-building workshops such as Life Cycles (the original program where teams build a bike for children) or Helping Hands, (build-a-hand kit), is that we don’t have much business Thanksgiving week. Thus, I get more time on the couch.
When we were packing up and saying our goodbyes to my mom & dad for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend…my mom pulled me aside and said – “Todd, yesterday when you were sitting on the couch with Maggie (our 11 yr. old daughter), and listening to her as she shared what she created and was interested in. I thought to myself…I never had any moments like that with my father. I just wanted to let you know you are a fabulous dad and those moments are precious.”
I was caught with a mix of gratitude for the acknowledgement, though sad my mom never had moments like that with her father. To me that is one of the best parts of parenthood – slowing down, meeting our children where they are, and being open to hear and connect with them. I think at some level that is what we all need. Couch time.
Odyssey’s programs provide a ‘double shot’ of inspiration and life changing moments for teams of all sizes. From time to time, all teams need to wake up and be reminded of what is important to them, the power of collaboration and that they make significant differences to those near and far.
A new Odyssey teammate has a screensaver that says in Big Bold Font – COFFEE FIRST. I smile every time I see it. I’m not a coffee drinker, though I’m quite familiar with how coffee can be such an integral piece of a person’s (such as my wife’s) day.
Time to wake up, start the day, get your afternoon second shot/wind, just a little pick me up etc. This is how people roll to get the most out of themselves and their day…or for some to simply survive the day. Either way a good cup of ‘Joe’ can provide valuable emotional and physical support…for teams too.
Our world-renowned philanthropic team building programs are custom designed to match the goals/themes of the group. A charitable component is always in the mix. Often times during the leadership teambuilding sessions ‘change’ is in the mix too.
Our main office in Chico California is located across the street from the magnificent Bidwell Park. Over 3000 acres of +100 year old trees, creek, and trails that goes right through the heart of town. The office is the birthplace of the original Life Cycles program where teams build a bike for a deserving child. The park is a continual lesson in life and a touchstone.
Many of us Odyssey crew take to the park for solitude, recollections of loved ones, exercise and rejuvenation. The park is alive. Currently leaves are dropping off of the majestic oaks and sycamore trees. They fall at just the right time for each particular leaf. They fall quietly with grace rather than drama or hoopla. They provide a soft path for those around to stroll on. They provide precious sunlight during winter for the life in the woods. They provide space for new growth and possibility in the Spring – New growth in their beloved trees and in the new soil they helped create.
Change. Always in the mix…and often in our life changing philanthropic team-building events. We encourage leaders to explore what patterns, thoughts, and actions they can let drop. So they can have space to do many new amazing things for themselves and those around them.
Our “give back” teambuilding programs wake people up. We like to say “Knock ‘em Alive!” to our delivery team before we start our philanthropic sessions. Knock ‘em Alive in the sense that we all can get a little lackadaisical with our thoughts, words, actions, patterns and perspectives.
During a recent Life Cycles program where teams build a bike for deserving children in Canada, the participants indeed woke up.
They woke up to…
– Seeing some new (positive, helpful, encouraging) things in each other.
– Seeing how their actions (while their intent is good) may be causing mischief for others.
– Seeing new possibilities for the challenges that are ahead.
– Seeing and feeling more alive, ambitious, and connected to each other and their work.
– Seeing that learning and change can be fun at times too.
It is healthy for people and teams to wake up, dust off the cobwebs, mix it up, look at things from a different perspective etc. To be a world-class team it is imperative to do so.
…And they thought they were just doing a ‘give back’ team-building event