Our charitable teambuilding workshop in Hawaii turned out to be an adventure in paradise on an epic scale!
Remember how in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” a tornado swept up the house and dropped Dorothy and Toto in the middle of a fairy tale? Well our trip to The Big Island led us directly into a vortex of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the threat of acid rain. Oh my!
Our client was the Southeast Asia sales group of NuSkin Enterprises, a multilevel marketing company. Their global reach in the sale of personal care and dietary supplements is astronomical and the quality of their products is unsurpassed. Our team joined theirs for an exciting week of team building activities and fun in the sun at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kohala Coast.
Courage and conviction
We arrived the day after the earthquake in Hilo. Just before we landed I saw a red cloud above the volcano–a sight I’ll never forget for as long as I live! Initially everyone was a bit jittery about spending a week on the island under such dangerous circumstances. Weather conditions were so unpredictable that the airlines offered to allow us to change our return flight schedules without penalties.
Fortunately most of the volcanic activity and many of the aftershocks were on the other side of the island from our resort. Ultimately the commitment of both NuSkin Enterprises and the Magnovo team was so strong, we all opted to stick it out. And the payoff for everyone’s courage was huge!
This was due in large part to the luxurious setting at Hilton Waikoloa Village. It is an all-inclusive resort complete with a tropical lagoon full of dolphins and marine mammal specialists who were eager to guide us on a tour that was both extraordinary and educational. With numerous retail shops, sports amenities, beaches, pools, and spas, the resort truly is a self-contained village. And the sumptuous meals and dazzling Polynesian fire dances were feasts for both our bellies and our eyes!
Big plans on the Big Island
The customization of this Bike-a-thon Charitable Team Building Workshop was one of our most rigorous challenges and it turned out to be one of our biggest success stories.
There were 80 NuSkin Enterprises sales reps from Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and other countries all over Southeast Asia. So their normal interactions consist of phone calls, emails, and online chats instead of daily face-to-face meetings.
And like the walls of lava nearby, we faced a number of multicultural walls that could have proven insurmountable. In addition to the staff members hailing from different countries, they were also of different faiths; there were Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists. This created additional social and cultural obstacles. There were language barriers as well for which our facilitators had to secure the services of interpreters.
So the Magnovo team had a number of mandates here and we met each one:
- to bridge the cultural divides and make them a more cohesive team;
- to break the ice among colleagues who don’t normally see each other; and
- to help them relate to each other and master better communications techniques.
Charity as a bridge builder
Our Bike-a-thon Charitable Team Building Workshop is the ideal “vehicle” for bringing people together because they’re working for something that’s bigger than they are. The NuSkin Enterprises crew divided into small groups to compete for the parts needed to build bikes for local children. Each activity was designed to strengthen their collaborative problem-solving and strategizing skills; and to help them develop stronger personal and professional relationships.
Authentic team bonding only works on a personal level, which is exactly what Nu Skin Enterprises achieved. They found points of commonality that overshadowed their cultural, social, and religious differences.The participants claimed that they couldn’t have had better facilitators and interpreters, so many of the things that divided them at first completely disappeared.
Before the end of the week everyone was laughing, joking, having a great time, and relating to one another on far more than a professional level. Besides, fun is a universal language that doesn’t require much interpretation.
Forgive the pun, but the bike donations were right in NuSkin’s wheelhouse.
From constructing libraries for children in Korea to providing free eye exams and glasses to children in Columbia–philanthropic service is a big part of their business model.
The recipients of each bike were members of the Boys and Girls Club on the Big Island. Although none of the NuSkin Enterprises staff was from Hawaii, they were ecstatic to give back to a charity that they regarded as a part of their international community. When the children and their parents arrived for the big presentation smiles and handshakes were intermingled with tears and hugs.
After the workshop everyone shared with me the significance of what we had done, and that made our Magnovo team feel like rock stars. Even though we arrived at what could only be described as a perilous moment, our adventures in paradise were glorious. In fact, the depth of our commitment was intensified by the threatening conditions. The stakes were high, our duty was clear, and the excitement level was amazing.