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.
Blah Blah Blah or Blog Blog Blog
The good news…I just finished two fabulous days doing our Helping Hands (build-a-hand) workshop for a terrific client partner. In fact we’ve done all of our philanthropic team-building programs for them – Life Cycles (where teams build a bike for children), The Playhouse Challenge, and Board Meeting. They report a shift in the culture as a result.
The bad news…due to giving the session a few extra needed minutes, snow, and an accident on the highway. I missed my flight out of Edmonton. Thus, one more night and morning away from those I love and a short transition to prepare for another program.
The good news…an extra night in a hotel to catch up on some work so when I am home, I can be the best husband and dad possible!
The Blog Humbug news… is part of my catching up is to write my weekly blog. Lain, Bill and myself have been influenced by our stellar PR team to write blogs. The premise is that it will lead more people to our website.
“The right attitude with one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms every time.”
One of the privileges prior to leading an Odyssey philanthropic team-building workshop such as Life Cycles (bike building) or Helping Hands (build-a-hand kit), is getting a glimpse of our clients’ world, their desired outcomes for their team. We then get to craft an experience for the participants to see how they respond to people and situations. Often times they will call upon their strengths, shift their mindset and deal with the challenge at hand.
We all have a wall in front of us to climb. My friend’s nephew recently completed this beautiful, compelling, inspiring 8-minute “Sundance worthy” movie. Watch it!
With stunning cinematography, a captivating story and authentic dialogue, (A pot of gold worth of sound bites), he does what in some aspects is an inherent by product of Odyssey Teams leadership, teambuilding, and philanthropic workshops.
As a past Odyssey participant says…
“It really makes you think about not only what life has dealt you and what you are doing with those cards, but also about what kind of people you choose to surround yourself with on a daily basis.”
We pride ourselves on bringing our clients’ values to life and providing positive tangible results to extend beyond the session. We are grateful for the magic of the human spirit and how it so often flourishes during these partnerships
Go Gimp Monkeys!
A nice thing about leading Odyssey’s philanthropic team-building workshops such as Life Cycles (the original program where teams build a bike for children) or Helping Hands, (build-a-hand kit), is that we don’t have much business Thanksgiving week. Thus, I get more time on the couch.
When we were packing up and saying our goodbyes to my mom & dad for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend…my mom pulled me aside and said – “Todd, yesterday when you were sitting on the couch with Maggie (our 11 yr. old daughter), and listening to her as she shared what she created and was interested in. I thought to myself…I never had any moments like that with my father. I just wanted to let you know you are a fabulous dad and those moments are precious.”
I was caught with a mix of gratitude for the acknowledgement, though sad my mom never had moments like that with her father. To me that is one of the best parts of parenthood – slowing down, meeting our children where they are, and being open to hear and connect with them. I think at some level that is what we all need. Couch time.
Odyssey’s programs provide a ‘double shot’ of inspiration and life changing moments for teams of all sizes. From time to time, all teams need to wake up and be reminded of what is important to them, the power of collaboration and that they make significant differences to those near and far.
A new Odyssey teammate has a screensaver that says in Big Bold Font – COFFEE FIRST. I smile every time I see it. I’m not a coffee drinker, though I’m quite familiar with how coffee can be such an integral piece of a person’s (such as my wife’s) day.
Time to wake up, start the day, get your afternoon second shot/wind, just a little pick me up etc. This is how people roll to get the most out of themselves and their day…or for some to simply survive the day. Either way a good cup of ‘Joe’ can provide valuable emotional and physical support…for teams too.
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?