Updates from your favorite Leadership, CSR, Teambuilding company that offers Life Cycles (bike building), Helping Hands, Playhouse Challenge and so much more.
Wow, it’s been over 8 weeks since I posted a blog here. Did you miss me? I’m still unsure who reads these. Though as they say, “the gift is in the giving”. The gift is also a bit selfish on my part as the task creates a reason for me to pause and reflect on things, which is always good.
Lots of things have been going on the past 2 months in the world of Odyssey Teams. We facilitated over 26 programs all over the USA, China, Netherlands, Greece, and Czech Republic. We also designed and delivered a Helping Hands program for 4,300 people! …our largest audience at one time, so far.
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 (where you will build a bike for children) 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 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 where you get to build a bike for a child, the 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 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.
“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!
The Playhouse Challenge is flat out fun! I just delivered our Playhouse Challenge to a hundred Shell employees in Edmonton Canada. This was the fourth, quarterly leadership development program that we’ve delivered with them and it sure was fun. The first quarter we coupled our Helping Hands program with modules from FISH. The second quarter it was Life Cycles, building bikes for children, the third was the Board Meeting, which yielded 33 skateboards for a local youth agency with a skate park in their back yard. Lastly, it was ten Playhouses that were delivered to ten families with kids who were long time patients of the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Leadership concepts brought to life through Shell’s commitment to their community. I loved the year-long process and finishing with these super cute Playhouses.
The 24-hour Work Clock
I was with a big International client yesterday interviewing him about the challenges his team of engineers face and how we were going to create a powerful forum for them to talk about those challenges during the Helping Hands program.
One of the things that struck me after he described his 20-hour workdays, sleeping only four hours per night was the concept of the 24-hour work clock. With the enormous contribution that APAC (Asia-Pacific) has on engineering, leaders of large US corporations have learned that while they can’t ask any one person to work 24 hours per day, they have learned that efficiency and productivity can be improved by focusing on the productive times (daylight) in different time zones. This allows an organization to have a fresh mind pounding out of ideas and solutions 24-hours per day.