Tears flow as my 10-year-old daughter struggles to find the keys on my wife’s computer. It is 11:00 PM and the report is due in the morning. She had three weeks of Christmas break to work on it, but many of the final touches are taking longer than she ever anticipated. My wife stands close-by with smoke coming out her ears and “I told you so!” written all over her face. We discuss the best parenting options: Do we step in and save the day, tell her to go to bed and turn it in late, let her take the reduction in her grade, or do we go to bed and let her struggle alone? We calculate the options: She is our emotional child, she stresses about stuff, she looks like she learned the lesson already, our own 2012 Christmas cards have yet to be mailed and… we love her. We think more: Are we bad parents because we didn’t push her more or help her sooner? What is the big lesson we want her to learn? Should we let her fail on her own? AHHHH!
20 years of madness and inspiration, what is next?
This is my 20th year as part of the Odyssey family. It is also my 20th year being married to my amazing wife, Jean. I had no idea then how critical and important those two beginnings would be in my life. Is 2013 another important year that 20 years from now I will look back on as a turning point or the beginning of something big? I hope it is. I am however conflicted with emotion as I begin my trudge to the summit for this year. We had our best year ever in 2012 and we have many amazing things on the horizon for 2013, but I am still struggling to get back in the swing. I wonder if many of you are feeling the same? Last year was great, but it was a lot of work, struggle, balance, sacrifice, long days and sleepless nights. Can I do it again?
“Twenty plus years of Odyssey work, our entire teams efforts, millions of air miles, countless presentations to groups around the world and now a two minute shot to tell the story on national news.”
I had two minutes of fame a few weeks ago. As I prepared for my interview on Fox Business, I flew to New York, got a room near Time Square and brought along a good friend and co-facilitator Alex Van Dewark to share the adventure. Alex had never been to NYC, so it was fun to see the city through the eyes of a first time visitor. What an amazing place! We wondered the streets until late in the evening and by chance found ourselves outside the Fox Studio. We snapped photos and hit the street vender for a late night gyro. Some local repair guys said it was the best in the city and the meal satisfied our hunger.
The next morning we got the call that our driver was downstairs and hit the street looking sharp and ready for anything. The driver drove the 5 blocks to the studio as instructed. We could have walked faster, but it seemed more VIP to take the car. Upon entry to the building we checked in and our escort took us to the green room on the 4th floor. The room was bustling with various network stars and special guests preparing to give their perspective of the world and the state of business. Watching the monitors, we enjoyed the show and began to understand the flow of things in TV land. Two employees sat at computers, monitoring giant spreadsheets and busily managing the flow of the green room. They had every second of the show mapped out and kept perfect time. Every second!
Odyssey Travels to Brazil with One of the Top Five “Fortune 500” Companies – Part 2
I was struck by their ability to apply the Odyssey philosophies in the moment. They transferred the training content to specific work challenges with ease; I felt their hunger for the secret formula to world-class performance. They dove into the concepts and experience like a hungry pelican for a fish. They took notes with a feverish desire to grow and learn, asking questions of me and each other to be sure they understood and felt ready to apply. With the aid of an interpreter booth and my headset, English and Portuguese blended into a steady stream of learning and enlightenment. As we closed the session with our Philanthropic Bike-Building module, the impact of the entire experience was palpable. We ended with a sense of accomplishment and celebration.
Odyssey Travels to Brazil with one of the Top Five “Fortune 500” Companies – Part 1
Calling what I just did in Brazil with the CEO and his top 45 people just plane old “Team Building is like calling the iPhone just another cell phone. I did a Team Building program for a Brazilian leadership team with 90,000 employees and billions in sales, yet for the past three years they have not achieved their goals. The words for the day from the President and CEO were: “motivation, inspiration, vision, alignment, strategy, values, decision-making, prioritization and culture”. This was a tall order for a 9-hour Team Building program that led into a two-day strategy meeting. I stepped in front of the leadership committee in our pre meeting with a promise that I could and would deliver! I needed their commitment to apply the concepts of the day towards every behavior following the meeting. This was a warning that if they did not follow through, the entire meeting would be a waste. If the Team Building concepts are lost, the team mentality will also be lost.
The Rebuilding of a Brand: The Possibilites are Endless
I dropped by the Apple Store in NYC after doing a program for Microsoft. I know… seems strange and almost unethical. It was research. I didn’t buy anything, but I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. As a partner to Microsoft, I asked myself, “What could I do to provide leadership and teambuilding programs for Microsoft that could support the rebirth of the Microsoft brand and the cutting edge culture that was once the norm for them?”
I walked into a store filled with almost 1,000 shoppers acting like it was the closing bell on Wall Street. Over 900 employees keep the store buzzing 24 hours a day, never closing! I was shocked at the brand, the culture and the emotion of the customer. One dominant thought filled my head, “we do judge a book by its cover”. The Apple cover is really cool and has the attention of the world. The vibe, the look, the image and emotional experience are almost overwhelming. Real I.T. geeks compare Apple users to a person that sees “50 shades of gray” as a well-written novel. Most of us don’t use our computers to their potential. The true techno person can tell you all the reasons the Microsoft platform is better, but I think the masses see it for the cover and the emotion, “buying an Apple product will make me cool.”
I was thinking…. Is it possible that bullying and picking on each other has been around for hundreds of years and will always be a crappy part of growing up. Like young lions picking on each other as they find their place in the pride? Somehow it is a normal part of the human experience, like stressing the body on a long run prepares us for a normal day at the office. Is this simply a normal part of stressing the human spirit so we can recover from a lost job or a failed relationship later in life? Like a forest fire burns the environment, but somehow is a natural part of a healthy forest. I hate even thinking about this issue in this way, but I want to challenge the current thinking. Speaking as a High School student that was actually bullied by my teacher and as an 8th grader that bullied a fellow classmate for the way she looked. I wish I could find her now and apologize. I was a jerk; yet consider myself a good person. What was I thinking?
I can’t take it anymore!!! What is team building?
After 20 years of traveling all over the world and working with the top of fortune 100 companies and the bottom of lots of others, I have hit my breaking point. I’ve been doing leadership development, communication seminars and “teambuilding” and many of my own clients are still wondering… What is teambuilding? I’m wondering what they really want from me. I’m not sure anybody really knows. I might not even know. But at this point, I’m as big an expert as I can find, so I am going to try and help define this beast for all of us. The definition has become so broad, so overused that some people are beginning to confuse “team hazing” as teambuilding and I don’t really want to be a part of that. Do you…?
The idea is that all parts of our life – and management can be seen
as pieces of a pie. If you cut a slice out of it you create a void. That void
will be filled with something.
Bucketworks. That is the name of a unique meeting space in Milwaukee. They promote themselves as “The Worlds First Health Club for the Brain.” We are going to be delivering one of our Life Cycles: bike building, teambuilding programs at their facility in April. The magic of this partnership is that for the past 17 years of delivering teambuilding programs and eight years of our bike building Life Cycles programs, I have been using the term Neurobics to describe what we do. Neurobics is defined as exercise for your brain. Research has shown that if you are right handed and brush your teeth with your left hand one day each week you will decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s in latter years. Our body thrives on learning and growing. We are built to adapt to our environment, however we are also built to create safe predictable environments. This tug of war between growth and security is at the heart of our programs. We strive to inspire people through our teambuilding events enough to not only cause them to consider a new behavior but create enough motivation that they would be willing to catch themselves and their team being themselves and adopt the new habit when no one is watching. Would you be willing to brush your teeth once this week with your off hand? Try it. You have nothing to loose. It will cross some new wires in your brain and you might solve that nagging problem you have been facing at work. Check it out. It works!