Category Archives: Leadership Development

2 Minutes of Fame!

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“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!

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Hey Nancy, That bike building charity program is great for Team Building – Unless it has nothing to do with building the team!

You are a gem, Nancy. You get it.
It’s just brutal to hear another of the dozens of “Team Building” companies who copied our invention of the bike-building program has left a foul flavor after delivering their version of it. Unfortunately, when managers, VP’s, and owners of teams look for “Team Building” there is the risk that they will do an “activity” that has nothing to do with who they are, what they do or where they are going. There are too many “Team Building” companies that don’t build teams.
See recent blog on this.
There is incredible power in the use of metaphors and business simulations as a way of rustling up powerful discussions (and actions) specifically related to the effectiveness of a team, but it has to come from a commitment to training and the use of “activities” as a development process. It has to connect with who they are, what they do, and where they are going, or it is a waste of time and money.
Dealing with Stress? Pressure? Getting the chip to the end-user with a commitment to quality? Dependence on others? Collaboration?

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Odyssey Client, NetApp is named “Third Best Multinational Work Place”

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Odyssey client, NetApp was just given the honor of “Third Best Multinational Work Place” according to greatplacetowork.com. We are extremely proud, yet not surprised. Over the years they have been enthusiastic participants in our Life Cycles and Helping Hands programs. Throughout our partnership we have helped them deepen the individual and organizational ‘Why’ of their work. This has provided a more powerful perspective and context for answering the ‘How’ questions they strive towards:
How can we be more collaborative?
How can we be more innovative?
How can we improve quality?
How can we be more customer-centric?
How can we give more to the community?
They worked on the answer to each of these, and the by-products have been incredible amounts of bicycles built for (and given to) under privileged children and hundreds of prosthetic hands funded and built for amputees in developing countries. While other companies might do a charity event to check the box, NetApp understands the connective element to character, culture, contribution and customer. These Four C’s are the building blocks of innovation, quality, customer-centricity, and community – and NetApp is not afraid to talk about it. Odyssey Teams has provided the structure and process for them to do this powerfully.
Not surprisingly, NetApp is now where people want to work and where they want to do business.
Well done, NetApp. The world is watching. Way to use your heads, hands and hearts!

Changing Colors & Dropping Leafs


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.
Todd

A Good Way to Wake Up!

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 ;)

X Marks the Spot

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People’s votes are heard around the world at Odyssey’s Teambuilding Philanthropic programs such as Helping Hands, Life Cycles and Playhouse Challenge. In a recent week span we delivered programs in Brazil, Singapore, Canada, and California.
Participants in these team-building programs were the opposite of silent and apathetic. They listened (maybe initially biased or jaded) to what was presented, they were open to new possibilities, they took up calls for new action, and they created goodwill by doing good works.
During these corporate team building (and charitable events) they shared different perspectives and respected the valuable differences and strengths in their midst. By their voices and actions they voted for how they want their ‘world’ to be at work, home, and beyond.

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The Rebuilding of a Brand: The Possibilites are Endless

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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.”

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iDisorder – Unplugged, Live – it’s Odyssey Teams!

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iDisorder – Unplugged, Live – it’s Odyssey Teams!
“iDisorder: Understanding our obsession with Technology and overcoming its hold on us” is a new book by Ph.D.’s Larry Rosen with N.A. Cheever and L.M. Carrier. It is a fascinating subject that supports the basis of Odyssey Teams world-renowned Philanthropic Team Building Programs. Life Cycles, Helping Hands and our other Corporate Social Responsible offerings I’m sure would be a welcomed breath of fresh air to the above co-authors.
I encourage you to go to Amazon.com search the book title and click on the ‘read inside’ button. Read the first few pages of Chapter 1. It lays out so many often seen and experienced examples of how technology gets in the way of effective relationships, family, and teams. The authors state early on that they believe in, use, and appreciate the technological advances that come before us at an unprecedented speed. However, they believe there is a time and place for these items, as most any ‘tool’ can be used to build or destroy…intentionally or unintentionally.

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Environment and Opportunity!

Team Building and True Religion
Environment and Opportunity!
220 people changed the lives of 44 youth and vice versa. This all took place in a warehouse in East Los Angeles via our capstone Philanthropic Team Building Life Cycles Program.
As the lead facilitator I had some work cut out for me. The physical environment/meeting space was a challenge. It felt like I was trying to do surgery in a swamp-infested jungle with mosquitos buzzing around everywhere and pythons dropping down from the trees. However, the participants were outstanding…optimistic, engaging, and willing to take on whatever we put on the agenda. The result was a huge victory for all involved.

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Small Team Builds Hands and Changes Lives

Small Team Builds Hands and Changes Lives
When I was asked to do our Helping Hands philanthropic teambuilding program for a group of six people, I reluctantly agreed. My favorite size groups delivering Helping Hands, Life Cycles Build-a bike program and our others has been in the hundreds of participants range. I wasn’t sure how the build-up activities and conversations would go before assembling the LN-4 Prosthetic Hands.
This small group was from Cisco – Latin America and they just blew me away. Yes, the Latino culture lives up to its reputation of being a passionate culture.
These six have much to teach the rest of us about teamwork and leadership from a place of thinking deeply AND feeling deeply. They came to the states for a larger meeting with cohorts from North America. They wanted to align on desired outcomes and make a difference for others in the process.
What a difference they made for three people whose lives will be changed by receiving the new LN-4 prosthetic hands they built during the Helping Hands program. Most surprisingly, however, is the difference they made on me. I am digging small programs now just as much as the large ones – with the caveat that they’re ready to think deeply and feel deeply as this group did.
Bill