Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I’ve had the good fortune to visit several times to bring Odyssey Teams‘ Helping Hands (building prosthetic hands) and Life Cycles (Build-a-Bike) teambuilding programs. This time, I wanted to see the city by foot. I started running down the Vltava river through the city and pushed the pace expecting to turn around at four miles to log a total of eight miles. True to my other running experiences while traveling, I ‘stumbled’ upon sights and scenes I never would have otherwise experienced. This was a tempo run – trying to keep a fast, consistent pace of seven minutes per mile. As I neared the four-mile mark I began looking for a bridge to cross to the other side of the Vltava for my return. At about 4.2 miles I found a bridge, crossed over and began running again. My pace was fast and consistent and I was enjoying the view but ready to be done with the 8 miles holding such a pace. At seven miles, I began to realize that I did not recognize any of the same sights I had seen running down the river. I should have. At 8 miles, it became obvious that I was definitely not back where I had started. I was confused. To make it more confusing, for the first time since I crossed over the river, I realized I was still running downstream. I was completely baffled and somewhat concerned with the possibility of being eight miles from where I had started with dinner plans in forty minutes. I pulled out my phone and looked at the GPS map and noticed that I was, in fact on the same side of the river as when I started – 8.2 miles DOWNSTREAM.
It’s the first time the two business units have been together. Lots on the line and expectations are high says our main client contact…from one of USA’s largest media (TV, Newspaper, Radio, Digital etc.) companies. Stakes were high for a Life Cycles program set for 480 people last week in Orlando. We delivered and then some. Client reported after the program that we had them (the group) in our hands from the get go and he breathed easy after the first 5 minutes and watched in amazement on what ensued.
During our leadership CSR/philanthropic teambuilding program, the participants were knee deep in engagement, conversation, and were aiming for value at every opportunity. The night prior they were knee deep with the Zac Brown Band. I was there, almost…
I’m a big fan of Zac Brown. He credits James Taylor (my all time favorite) for shaping who he is today. Our client invited our team to “blend” into the private Zac Brown Band concert for their 480 people. I passed on the opportunity and instead…
It’s springtime! Time to grow. I always flash back to being a kid visiting my grandparents in the central Valley of California. My grandfather owned a Mobil gas station and would always have beautiful bulbs in bloom. He, like so many of the older generation worked so hard – up at 4am and back to fall asleep in his chair as the grandkids buzzed around him at about 7pm. But he always made time to get his hands muddy – tilling the soil, planting bulbs and seeds, pulling weeds and tending to these little islands in the sea of his “work” – at his “service station”.
It’s so important that we find and maintain these islands in our work to grow something beyond work. We need to carve time to get our hands dirty and make something a bit nicer. I’m sure it couldn’t have been measured in terms of the beautiful flowerbeds adding to the bottom-line of his business. But he didn’t do it for that reason anyway.
So much of Odyssey‘s work, I think, is with this same spirit. Building bikes for kids in our Life Cycles program, prosthetic hands in the Helping Hands project and others.
My gramps always made things special in places where you wouldn’t expect them to be. He is still doing that at 97 years old, just now it’s in the form of the surprising presence he gives people when in his company, like during my visit yesterday.
Thank you Grandpa. Honoring you in everyway that Odyssey is, and I aim to be.
Earlier this month I delivered Helping Hands (One of Odyssey Teams CSR Leadership programs, i.e. Life Cycles /Build-a-bike, Playhouse Challenge etc.), in Singapore for 65 people from APAC & Japan. In the mix, High Potential leaders from one of the worlds largest firms, representing over 14 countries.
The work went extremely well. Our style of delivery and content brought the group together and they left our session feeling more open, connected, and proud of their team and the huge difference their relatively short time spent will make in other people’s lives.
It was quite fun for me to be back in Singapore. It had been over 15 years since my last trip. Further back in 1987, Singapore and Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands is where I really began building my craft as a trainer and facilitator. I was immersed in these countries for 3 months, surrounded by masters in our arena and delivering content that was extraordinary. Our charge was to create miracles for AT&T’s consumer products division via a rollout for hundreds of their leaders. In short, we did.
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 (Build-a-bike) 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 (build-a-bike) leadership session to 280 leaders 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 (build-a-bike), 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.
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?