Tag Archives: Philanthropic team building

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 (build-a-bike), 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 (build-a-bike) 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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Changing Colors & Dropping Leafs


Our world-renowned philanthropic team building programs are custom designed to match the goals/themes of the group. A charitable component is always in the mix. Often times during the leadership teambuilding sessions ‘change’ is in the mix too.
Our main office in Chico California is located across the street from the magnificent Bidwell Park. Over 3000 acres of +100 year old trees, creek, and trails that goes right through the heart of town. The office is the birthplace of the original Build-a-Bike program over 12 years ago. The park is a continual lesson in life and a touchstone.
Many of us Odyssey crew take to the park for solitude, recollections of loved ones, exercise and rejuvenation. The park is alive. Currently leaves are dropping off of the majestic oaks and sycamore trees. They fall at just the right time for each particular leaf. They fall quietly with grace rather than drama or hoopla. They provide a soft path for those around to stroll on. They provide precious sunlight during winter for the life in the woods. They provide space for new growth and possibility in the Spring – New growth in their beloved trees and in the new soil they helped create.
Change. Always in the mix…and often in our life changing philanthropic team-building events. We encourage leaders to explore what patterns, thoughts, and actions they can let drop. So they can have space to do many new amazing things for themselves and those around them.
Todd

X Marks the Spot

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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.

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The challenge of Sales Managers and other bottom line movers:

The challenge of Sales Managers and other bottom line movers:
The drive for results and meeting shareholder (and analysts) expectations requires growth in revenues and/or reduction costs to impact share price/value. The growth objective lands squarely on the shoulders of every sales manager, CEO, CFO and virtually everyone else in a for-profit business. The question that stirs their soul is how to achieve this growth…yet again? How to push the envelope…yet again? How do we meet the number…yet again?
The answer to this question inevitably leads to another question in the ‘how’ tree but starts to include those who can do something about it… people, the team, humans. How can we motivate people and teams into the actions required? How can we encourage and incentivize them to reach this new level? How can we create more synergy, more collaboration?

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American Express and Lindblad Expeditions Donate to the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation

Thumbnail image for Helping Hands Donation.jpgAmerican Express and Lindblad Expeditions Donate to the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation
What a surprise at the end of our Helping Hands program October 8, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas when these two organizations handed me a 2 by 3 foot check for $5,000. Thank you American Express and Lindblad Expeditions. They had already co-funded this philanthropic teambuilding event where participants built 75 LN-4 prosthetic hands for people in developing countries but they wanted to do more. And more they did. I was blown away. Such good people, good companies, making such a difference. It inspired even more generosity when participants came up donating more to LN-4.org our partner in this project. One guy came up and simply handed me his business card and said, “I want to match their donation”, written on the card it said $5,000 and he turned and walked away.
I know Helping Hands makes a difference on so many levels but I am continually surprised by how much. I am just amazed and grateful.

Philanthropic Deed Four Times Over

Philanthropic Team Building.jpgPhilanthropic deed four times over.
The Odyssey Team divided and conquered last week in Texas, North Carolina, Michigan and Washington with one committed company. This company’s non-profit foundation is the largest in the world and today they leveraged both good deed AND developed their organizational culture. They were psyched with the approach and outcome of the Helping Hands Program, as well as the combination of business simulation and Charity. Conducting concurrent sessions in these states with their employees was a way to get them all on the same page without having to fly them all in to the same place. They found it easier to fly four of us to four different locations than to send 200 of them to one location. Collectively, we built about 60 LN-4 prosthetic hands and built a more committed team who is better focused on Customer Service through excellent delivery.
A company as big as this needs lots of small nudges to make a turn. The participants felt that nudge and are in turn pushing a little harder themselves. Look for great things from this ‘Ship’ in the near future. Any guesses who it is? Hint: Don’t let the nautical metaphor fool you. This ‘ship’ holds about 94,000 employees as of June 2012. A thousand new ones went through Odyssey’s Life Cycles program in July.
Bill