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.
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!
I often struggle with the question of whether Odyssey’s work really makes a difference on the bottom line of business. It’s a cynical tension inside of me. To make the question harder to answer, I am also deeply skeptical of metrics that attempt to link soft-skills training or change in behavioral traits to bottom-line business results.
There is a quote that loosely says: “don’t try to measure things that don’t lend themselves well to measurement”. I like that, but still I struggle. It sure would be nice to have pure, non-biased, scientific proof.
It seems that many business leaders share in the desire for proof and many never call or work with us because they can’t see a black and white link on their investment. When they ARE bold enough to call and ask the question, we can share a response that Lain gave one day: “If you have a metric that you used to warrant calling us, we can use that same metric to determine if it worked”.
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.