Tag Archives: Philanthropic team building

Announcements

Odyssey Teams Inc. has been on quite the journey throughout the last few decades. Our programs have evolved, our team has shifted, our workspace has adapted, and our expertise has grown. We’ve experienced a number of notable occurrences on our way – and we are thrilled to announce the latest developments!

At the start of the year, we created Odyssey for Youth – a division of Odyssey Teams dedicated fully to the development of the students, athletes, teachers, and administrators of our communities. In the past few months alone, we have had the privilege of coaching, training, and encouraging hundreds of teenagers – before sending them home to have an impact on their neighborhoods.

June heralded the launch of Give Back Activities. This offshoot of Odyssey Teams is devoted fully to our programs that provide teams the opportunity to give their best back into their organization, community, and world. They create space for collaboration on a project that gives back – not just to deserving recipients and communities in need of support, but also to the cohesion and productivity of teams and workplaces. Give Back Activities combine training and philanthropy, world-class facilitation and now, DIY Give Back experiences in a box.

Our goal is for these new divisions to provide any and every team the opportunity to grow, learn, and give their best. Odyssey Teams Inc. will continue in the work we are so passionate about – equipping organizations to be their strongest, most productive, best version of themselves. We look forward to meeting your team at the intersection of real life and real work, and giving you and your organization the tools, patterns, and renewed vision for living and working at your best. We hope to be the next notable occurrence on your journey.

Philanthropic Team Building: Good for Your Head, Hands, and Heart

There is a new paradigm in the concept of team building, and it’s called philanthropic team building. In days gone by, it was sufficient to be selfish, even decadent, about getting to know each other outside the work setting. When it was done well, it involved heads and hands in experiential exercises and simulations. Now it’s about incorporating the heart through philanthropic team building – give back events. The response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive – all over the world.

Events like Life Cycles – the original bike building workshop, Helping Hands – the building of prosthetic hands for amputees in developing countries, the Playhouse Challenge, and the Board Meeting have revolutionized the team building industry. And it’s good for more than just your team. It’s good for your heads, hands, and hearts. And that means it’s good for the world.

– Bill John

Community

Many Odyssey Teams programs culminate in a closing that involves Tipping Points. Participants are instructed to author an original quote to be dispersed to their team over the course of the coming weeks as a vehicle of continued learning from one another. Here at Odyssey, we have the privilege of reading each submission as they are entered into a database. And some of them are too good not to share.

“How amazing is to be part of a team that’s getting so much larger, yet we’re feeling closer to one another.”

Community within the workplace is an often-discussed buzzword, as organizations attempt to create a foundation of cooperation, communication, and friendship between cubicles and across pay grades. Faltering community is often a logical growing pain of expansion, but here at Odyssey Teams, we firmly believe that does not have to be the case. Key elements of community are shared vision, common values, and collaboration. During an Odyssey Teams philanthropic teambuilding event, these characteristics are expounded upon, practiced, and celebrated. Your team leaves at the end of the event with a powerful memory of a shared experience, and with the tools and resources to effectively build upon that foundation – even as your organization grows and expands.

What Good Looks Like

Many Odyssey Teams programs culminate in a closing that involves Tipping Points. Participants are instructed to author an original quote to be dispersed to their team over the course of the coming weeks as a vehicle of continued learning from one another. Here at Odyssey, we have the privilege of reading each submission as they are entered into a database. And some of them are too good not to share.

“The excitement of our youth customer will last a lifetime and be a constant reminder of ‘this is what good looks like.’”

Odyssey Teams’ – The Business of Giving™ programs accomplish a lot of good. As a result of the Life Cycles program, children who have grown up in scarcity receive the unexpected gift of a brand new bicycle. Never before ridden, built especially for them, with no strings attached. The smiles and joy that result are unmatched, and the memory of that day lasts far beyond the shininess of the frame. Because of the Helping Hands project, a Philippine man who lost his left hand while operating a rice-milling machine is given a prosthetic hand free of charge. In that moment, he is handed freedom, accessibility, and improved prospects for work and provision for himself and his family. The gift of the prosthetic extends far beyond just the individual’s life – rippling out to impact his family and community.

These programs allow participants to access the potential of their heads, hands, and hearts to build a better team, a better organization, and a better world. When participants return to actual life and arrive at the office Monday morning they know what ‘good’ looks like. As they interact with coworkers, converse with clients, and add their piece to the puzzle of an end product, they are cognizant of ‘good.’ They have experienced good, felt good, and participated in good – and they are not likely to forget it.

Impressions

Many Odyssey Teams programs culminate in a closing that involves Tipping Points. Participants are instructed to author an original quote to be dispersed to their team over the course of the coming weeks as a vehicle of continued learning from one another. Here at Odyssey, we have the privilege of reading each submission as they are entered into a database. And some of them are too good not to share.

“You may get only one chance at a first impression, but you have multiple opportunities for a lasting impression.”

We’ve all been there. An awkward handshake introduction followed by stilted small talk during cocktail hour. The botched sales call with one too many lengthy pauses. That very first email contact with a poorly placed typo. This quote written by a participant at a recent Life Cycles event allows us all to shake off those sticky and less than ideal first moments and move forward. Hallelujah.

At Odyssey Teams, we firmly believe in the power of relationships. During the course of a Life Cycles events, participant teams have the opportunity to build a bike for a customer, and then at the end of the session, a name and face is assigned to the customer when a crush of kids come streaming in from the back of the room. Teams have the opportunity to meet their customer, talk about their favorite color and sports team and ice cream flavor, hear about how they dislike math but love recess. Relationships are forged, and the child’s life is marked by the memory of that afternoon and the lasting impression of that conversation – awkward out of the gate or not

A focus on relationships can transform work. Remembering the end recipient puts a face and name to the daily tasks. Seeking to build relationships creates further meaning and purpose. And aiming to forge a relationship allows for ample opportunities to impress, leaving that typo long forgotten and the weak handshake a thing of the past.

 

Knee Deep

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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…

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Bridge the Gap

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. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SHell Scottsford.png
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.

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C’mon Ricky! You can do it!

Back from Christmastime and New Years with family. Then back from Barcelona for a global (36 countries represented), Life Cycles program and two more Life Cycles in Cincinnati Ohio and Half Moon Bay California…I’m back to blogging.
Usually at all of our philanthropic team-building programs – Life Cycles where teams build a bike for children; Playhouse Challenge; and Helping Hands – the session begins with the ‘owner of the meeting’ (our client partners VIP) introducing us to the group. What happens next is always interesting.
Does the crowd applaud robustly, or perhaps more like a polite ‘golf clap’ or sit in silence with mouths agape (not too unlike a trout in a stream)? It is always different and always a mystery. What has stemmed from it all is an observation about support.

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Be a Gimp Monkey!

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“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!

Couch Time

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.

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