In This Edition...Happy Holidays!
As 2009 winds down we reflect back on all the what-if scenarios that played out in our minds; in conversations on planes, on Skype and in our offices as the year thundered on. We examined processes, team dynamics, and the market with a keener eye. And while it has been difficult on many levels, we realize fear of the unknown is worse than reality.
The challenges of 2009 have shined new light on the timeless principle of commerce: That companies and people are always rewarded for bringing value to others. It is difficult at times to see the connection to one's attitude and actions because there is usually a delay - a day, a year, a decade or more before the reward is granted. This year year has been a homecoming in many ways as people are no longer taking for granted the interconnectedness of commerce, industry, economy and community with the desire to add value. Job appreciation leads to customer appreciation and customer appreciation is an acknowledgement of the value that you place on humanity. Business is personal, and it is illustrated by this reciprocal relationship between a company and its customers. Companies are finding their way back to this timeless, basic framework. As Odyssey Teams looks toward the new year, we see plenty of opportunity to bring value. It's what we do. It's what you do. And our responsibility together is to not let others forget it. See you boldly in the new year!
Bill John, President, Odyssey Teams, Inc.
Be Coachable. It looks good on you.
Quick Tip - Let your teammates know you are open to coaching and request their point of view regarding your work. Tell them when/how is best for you to receive their coaching - i.e., in the moment, later, verbally, written, with humor, privately, etc.. Afterwards, thank them for their input.
Building the Case - Ideally you are a ‘learner'. As such, you realize you have blind spots to how you move in the world (speaking, writing, body language, timing, results produced, etc.). Thus, you are curious about what it is you can't see and what you can do differently to produce better results for yourself, your team, and your business.
The intent of a coach is not ‘to be right', rather it is to support you in getting more of what you want. A true coach wants you to do well. They do not need to be a master of your domain. A quality coach can see the things you do and don't do, and the neutral, negative, or positive effects of those actions, and communicate observations and provide useful suggestions.
Action/To Do - Give a cohort permission to be your ‘coach' - they will be much more willing to share their point of view. And they will continue to do so if you:
- Thank them for what they share
- Remain neutral or positive with what they have to say
- Work on the things they have suggested
Warning! If you keep asking for input though never do anything with it, you may lose their valuable point of view; worse, this may build resentment and/or apathy towards you.
Go on...be coachable! It looks good on you.
Todd Demorest, Lead Facilitator and Coach, Odyssey Teams, Inc.
Bikes on the road:11,495
Hands in action: 1,173
My name is Luke Courtemanche and I am the School-Age Childcare Director for the Greater Boston YMCA Central Branch. I oversee six after-school sites throughout Boston, Mass. The programs we run are made up generally of low - to no-income families. They have various backgrounds. Many live in the neighborhoods of your worst nightmares. There are many cases of abuse and children in state custody due to extenuating circumstances. My goal at the YMCA is to give these 400-plus children a safe and fun place to go that will help them not only with academics but with everyday support from the caring counselors in our programs. The staff is here to make bonds with these children who often have no one else.
At the Odyssey Teams Life Cycles event on April 28, 36 of our kids got brand new bicycles, helmets and locks. When the children arrived at the event they were blown away by the location. They had never been in such a fancy hotel. The extent of their knowledge of hotels comes from the motels in which some of them live. They felt like they did not belong. But with the help of our staff and the Odyssey Teams youth coordinators, they felt like celebrities.
There was one child in particular that comes to mind. His name is Jose and he is 9 years old. He has never had a bike. When he was told that it was going to be his to keep he looked puzzled. Lesley Silvia, his after school director, went to his side to make sure he was OK. With his broken English he told her he did not believe it was his. Jose has never had anything given to him like this before. He had been let down his whole life and came to the understanding that he would always have a grim outlook on life and other people because no one has been there for him. When the bike arrived at the school that same night he was there waiting patiently. His eyes lit up like fireworks. He ran to the truck to get his bike...PUT HIS HELMET ON, and rode into the sunset to his home to show off his new bike. Jose, who would miss school a lot, is now coming to school more frequently and he says it is because he can ride his bike. Was it the YMCA that changed his outlook? Odyssey Teams? Boston Scientific, the participating organization in the program. Or was it a collaboration of caring adults who recognized that these kids need help? Whatever it was thank you so much (Odyssey Teams and Boston Scientific) for everything you do. You may think it is April or May where you are but it was Christmas for these kids in Boston and they will never forget it.
Luke Courtemanche, SACC Program Administrator, YMCA of Greater Boston
There's a certain satisfaction that comes with building something from the ground up. Whether it's baking a cake or building a company, making something - from concept through design and execution - exercises your mind in a left-right-left march toward completion. It's like boot camp for your brain. In our Playhouse Challenge™ workshop, your group will cooperatively imagine, design and build custom playhouses to be donated in your organization's name to nonprofit youth programs, children's hospitals or low-income housing in the local community. Past participants have described it as a sort of Habitat for Humanity experience, except that we bring the project to you, and the houses are completed before you walk out the door. We combine this "concept-to-completion" building exercise with keynote addresses, team-building activities and a mix-match of ice-breakers to get your team thinking, well, like a team. Your group will discover the joy of building something real. And you'll find that the gifts your team takes away are as significant as those they leave behind.
Is the Playhouse Challenge right for your group? Click here for a video and more information or call 800-342-1650
On delivering playhouses after a recent event:
I was lucky enough to be on the delivery team for the latest Playhouse Challenge we conducted in Hollywood, California. As we pulled up to the "Little Thinkers Preschool" in South LA I was greeted by 17 of the cutest 5-to 7-year old kids I think I have ever seen. These kids were fired up! They sang us a song, they offered us a snack and they gave us some of the hardest high fives they could muster. It was all they could do to keep from jumping into the playhouses before we had removed them from the transport dolly. They had come to the Beverly Hotel the day before and selected their six playhouses from the 26 others that had been built by a team of 260 Genentech sales people. This was all part of one of our landmark Helping Odyssey Philanthropic Teambuilding programs called The Playhouse Challenge and has been a crowd-pleaser since 2001. During this program, teams of 10 start with the same materials as all the others team, but the final product is something quite different. With creativity, leadership, vision, and just good old hard work, in about 3 hours teams are proud to stand back and look at the result of their labor. Not only that, but they are then prepared to present their product to the guests of honor and hopefully be selected by the children as one of the best playhouses. The child representatives from the youth agencies that are preselected to receive one of these masterpieces are greeted as if they are the center of the world. It is truly a magical moment for all involved. Teams have access to powersaw cuts from Odyssey staff and decoration items from the decoration depot. The key is not only to build a playhouse they are proud to present to the children and their co-workers, but to also explore deeper conversations about what the parts of the playhouse represent to the team's business success: The foundation - what is the support system to build upon? What enables a great structure to emerge?; the roof - is it to provide shelter - a stable environment to grow? And the Walls? Is this where creativity and expression are demonstrated?
The Playhouse Challenge can be conducted just about anywhere and will have your team talking for at least another year about the teambuilding where they actually built something. Contact us to learn more about the program or reserve a date.
Never forget that you have the ability to change the world one "hand" at a time.Sally Koumpouras, Odyssey Participant,Helping Hands program
What's a ‘Tipping Point'? At the close of every Odyssey program we invite participants to author an original quote that captures the main lesson, insight or inspiration from the session. Each participant's Tipping Point is then entered into our system and then each business day following their program one of their Tipping Points is randomly selected and e-mailed to everyone on their team who participated in the event. Odyssey developed this process after a discussion with Malcolm Gladwell, author of "The Tipping Point." The Tipping Points help keep the shelf-life of the experience fresh and serve to ‘tip' people into better performance. The Tipping Point of the month is selected from over 30,000 quotes in our database from past participants.
"This program far exceeded my expectations and my expectations were extremely high! I cannot begin to tell you how valuable this event was for our team. Bill and his team were truly fantastic and delivered the best team-building event I and many others have ever attended. In addition to the overview of our organization that I gave on the Friday teleconference prior to the event, Bill was able to flawlessly include our sales director's "Guiding Principles" into his presentation. I have received endless thanks and praise for this team-building event and owe it all to Odyssey! In addition to bringing value to us as a team, you have allowed us to build a memory that will last throughout our careers.
Karen L. Henry, Merck & Co., Inc.
Pass this newsletter on. If your colleague books a program with us we'll donate three LN-4 Helping Hands to landmine victims in your name.
In the media
Click here to view what's being said about Odyssey Teams programs in magazines, newspapers, TV and more.
Every year Odyssey Teams and Rotary International partner to do what has been called a life-changing experience: Camp Royal. In brief, it's a weeklong leadership camp for juniors in high school. What happens in this week is far greater than any acquisition or mastering of leadership skills: It's the intangible experience that happens when 150 strangers collectively drop their game face, open up and challenge themselves to support each other in taking risks.
To encapsulate the experience in a paragraph, page or even a book would be an impossible task. Instead, I'm going to let you see the experience through the eyes of a camper, whose words to Lain Hensley, Lead Facilitator and co-owner of Odyssey, capture the magic that is Camp Royal.
It is hard for me to find the words to describe what has happened to me over this past week. I could say this has been a life-changing experience, which it has been, but I don't feel like that is enough. Not only has this week changed my life, but it has equipped me to change the lives of the people close to me, around me, and around the world. I am now more aware of the wants and needs of other people, and more importantly, I am willing to do whatever they need. I have a brand new, completely sincere desire to help others. I have caught myself here at camp making a judgment, but I stop myself, pour some water out of my cup, and look at it with an open mind. There have been times here when I thought I couldn't do something, but then I stop and think about what I can learn from it, how it's challenging me, and how it's making me stronger. Lain, you really have become the voice inside my head, pushing me to be my best. I have loved my time here, but I can't wait to get home and treat my family the way they want to be treated. Not only have you helped me realize obstacles in my life that are holding me back, but you've shown me that I can overcome them. My wish is that someday I will do great things like what you have done here with me this week. There is so much more I would like to say to you, but the words escape me. So thank you, Lain, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!
For more information about Odyssey Teams' Youth Programs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-800-342-1650.