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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I can’t take it anymore!!! What is teambuilding?
After 20 years of traveling all over the world and working with the top of fortune 100 companies and the bottom of lots of others, I have hit my breaking point. I’ve been doing leadership development, communication seminars and “teambuilding” and many of my own clients are still wondering… What is teambuilding? I’m wondering what they really want from me. I’m not sure anybody really knows. I might not even know. But at this point, I’m as big an expert as I can find, so I am going to try and help define this beast for all of us. The definition has become so broad, so overused that some people are beginning to confuse “team hazing” as teambuilding and I don’t really want to be a part of that. Do you…?
Experience (Odyssey w/17 years, 21 countries, 150,000 people) and positive, common, extraordinary teambuilding experiences are key to the growth of teams and leaders.
Are you the leader you are today because of the experiences you’ve had: In sports, at church and in scouting? Under a mentor’s guidance and through challenges you’ve overcome? Through casual time with cohorts, from your time in the field and by having honest conversations?
We bet you answered Yes to most of the above. More than any book, class, PowerPoint presentation, or lecture, your most effective training has come from your experiences and your willingness to learn from them.
Leaders who have the humility to know they need to learn more and the drive to do so – engage in experiences that matter throughout their careers.
Rekindle and support your team’s leadership qualities and behaviors. These results occur time and again during the Life Cycles, Helping Hands, and Playhouse Project programs we deliver and we don’t take them for granted.
30 – 1200 people in 4-7 hours? That is where Odyssey Teams, Inc. excels like no other. Team building with purpose. Because experience and experiences matter!
Bucketworks. That is the name of a unique meeting space in Milwaukee. They promote themselves as “The Worlds First Health Club for the Brain.” We are going to be delivering one of our Life Cycles: bike building, teambuilding programs at their facility in April. The magic of this partnership is that for the past 17 years of delivering teambuilding programs and eight years of our bike building Life Cycles programs, I have been using the term Neurobics to describe what we do. Neurobics is defined as exercise for your brain. Research has shown that if you are right handed and brush your teeth with your left hand one day each week you will decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s in latter years. Our body thrives on learning and growing. We are built to adapt to our environment, however we are also built to create safe predictable environments. This tug of war between growth and security is at the heart of our programs. We strive to inspire people through our teambuilding events enough to not only cause them to consider a new behavior but create enough motivation that they would be willing to catch themselves and their team being themselves and adopt the new habit when no one is watching. Would you be willing to brush your teeth once this week with your off hand? Try it. You have nothing to loose. It will cross some new wires in your brain and you might solve that nagging problem you have been facing at work. Check it out. It works!
In Odyssey’s team building and philanthropic bike building teambuilding programs (Life Cycles), we often mention that if you want something to be different for your self, team or business… the first thing to do is to catch yourself being yourself. This raised level of awareness puts you almost as ‘another person’ in the room watching/noticing your actions. This added awareness gives you more choices in which to move.
You may catch yourself being cynical, taking the lead, acquiescing, not asking for help, going first, going last, playing it safe, taking a risk, making a put-down, holding back a request, etc.
As soon as you notice a particular conditioned tendency creeping in, the gift then is to pause and decide if this action/thought will serve or hinder what you’re up to and where you want to go. You may find a benefit to do more of ‘it’, less of ‘it’ or keep ‘it’ as is… thus, Choice. Now you get to respond and have influence rather than reacting…which can often cause mischief for you and/or those around you.
Our Life Cycles program where teams build a bike for deserving children in their local community, Helping Hands, and Playhouse Project programs all offer new and neutral experiences for people to have fun, connect with others, and to practice catching themselves being themselves.
Added bonus: The culture of your teams and business (just people) will shift for the better when this practice/skill is in the mix with you and your cohorts.
So go fishing. I’m sure you’ll catch something useful.
I read a scientific study recently that people’s overall success and happiness is determined by the belief that they have some control or influence on their future and the world around them. People that held this belief were far more successful, created more desired results, and had better health.
This fact seems instrumental in what Corporations should be focusing on providing for their people. Currently the economy is tenuous, which can lead to uncertain times and draw people into fear, hesitancy and stagnation. What we have witnessed is that Odyssey programs can reestablish and ignite people’s attitudes that they can impact their world. This is a powerful belief that leads to more hopefulness, productivity, and pure motivation.
Businesses may not be able to give their employees security right now, but they can give them something (especially in this economical climate) priceless and long lasting. The inspired feeling that they do indeed have an impact and influence on the world around them. That what they do does matter significantly.
This is the first attitudinal principle that gets questioned in these kinds of times. Helping Odyssey programs like Life Cycles (bike building teambuilding) will ignite the belief that I can make a difference no matter what the circumstances. This is the key to success because it promotes an ability to transcend the current climate of fear and uncertainty. This fact has been revealed through our own experiences and observation, but also scientifically supported.