Team Building Thursdays 300

Team Building Thursdays: Winston Churchill

If you’re going through hell keep going.

~Winston Churchill

The Tennessee Department of Health Helps the Preston Taylor Club

When the Tennessee Department of Health wanted to improve the ability of its employees to work together well they called Magnovo to come carry out a Bike-a-Thon Charity Teambuilding program.

A Nashville, TN Bike-a-thon

Helping kids is a powerful motivator. And that held true for the 110 people who joined us one October day in Nashville, TN. We met the group at the local elementary school; this is the same site that the United Way uses as its operations center.  

While many of the folks didn’t already know each other, we opened the program with a few icebreakers, which made it easier once it was time to sort folks into several teams. This was a pretty friendly group; they all worked for the same state agency, although in different offices and in various roles. They were enthusiastic about helping local kids and eagerly awaited our first instructions.

The Tennessee Department of Health Gets to Work

We gave each team a bicycle frame and a box of tools. Some folks looked a little confused at first. We then explained that the teams would be competing for the rest of the parts needed to build a bicycle. Were they up to our goal of 2 dozen bikes that afternoon? Our games and challenges put some pressure on teams, and they quickly strategized about the best way to succeed. Folks pulled together, and by the end of the building part of our program, we had more than 2 dozen bicycles to share with kids in need!

New Bikes for the Preston Taylor Club

Nick Oldham, a representative of the Preston Taylor Club arrived on site to accept the donated bicycles. The Preston Taylor Club, located in Nashville, is part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Mr. Oldham spoke to the group for a few minutes about the work his organization does, and how the bikes would help local kids. People clapped and cheered as Mr. Oldham finished his remarks, and thanked the group for their hard work. They were really proud of what they’d accomplished together through the Bike-a-Thon!

As we packed up the day’s supplies, several folks wrote notes and well wishes to the kids who’d be receiving the bicycles, and tied them onto the handlebars. We heard a lot of positive feedback from attendees. They were glad to have been a part of something that made a positive impact on their community.



LafargeHolcim Put Their Construction Knowledge to Work for Charity During Team Event

LafargeHolcim combined team training with an opportunity to give back to the Golden, CO community children. As a result, team members recognized their ability to offer solutions to more than just the construction industry.

Establishing a Tone of Leadership

Working with a group of 50 participants always presents challenges in itself, but this group didn’t let their size stand in their way of a successful event.

Prior to the event, team members enjoyed their fill of food and libations, which helped to establish a friendly, carefree tone to the event. However, when it was time to get down to business, every person was able to overcome the distractions of socialization and set to work.

It was clear the leader of this team had plenty of experience in working with this group, as he embraced his role in setting the tone for energy and enthusiasm throughout the event. His demeanor was reflected in each of his team members, which showed how close-knit and responsive this group already was. Still, they realized even seasoned teams who have been working together for years can still learn a few things about what it means to band together

Teams Compete for a Cause in Golden, CO

Our challenge seemed simple, but the participants knew it was anything but. Some groups were tasked with assembling bicycles while others had the goal of making stuffed animals. These items were to be donated to the Colorado State Foster Parent Association to provide disadvantaged children with a glimmer of hope and happiness during their time away from their family.

When the team learned to whom they’d be donating these gifts, their attitudes shifted into one of determination and goal-oriented. The groups developed a competitive yet friendly tone that kept the energy high for the best possible outcome.

LafargeHolcim Leaves a Lasting Impression

The team completed 4 bicycles and 25 Rescue Buddies by the end of the event, but they weren’t finished yet. Sherry Owens from Colorado State Foster Care stopped by to accept the donation in person and to commend the team on a job well done. Participants left with the same feeling of hope and inspiration their gifts would soon create for children in Golden, CO.

Novartis Uses Team Building Event to Help Hurricane Victims

As a healthcare company, The Arc of Greater Houston remains focused on ways to help others live better lives, and their team building event benefiting hurricane victims allowed them to find new purpose in their leadership positions.

The Competition Where Everyone’s a Winner

As a healthcare company focused on cardiovascular health the leaders of Novartis already knew what it meant to use their talents for others’ well being. However, our Mission Hurricane Relief event opened their eyes to other ways to care for others’ needs.

We met on a brisk yet sunny morning on the Novartis campus. The team building event was to be part of an action-packed day for 65 leaders. After a long morning of meetings followed by lunch, groups usually come back from a break somewhat lethargic and unmotivated. But this group set the exception, seeming more energized than ever to use their big hearts to show some love to Houston area hurricane victims.

We brought a large supply of items to the event, which would be “won” by participants to put into care packages. The group split into smaller teams and competed against each other in a series of mini-games for a chance to win the care package items. The teams didn’t take their friendly competition lightly, as each team wanted to stuff their care packages to the brim. However, they also realized that no matter which team won the most items, all of the care packages would be going to those who needed them most.

Mission: Hurricane Relief for the Win

Despite being hundreds of miles away from the hurricane victims, Novartis wanted to use their leadership skills to set a good example, both in Hanover, NJ, and Houston.

They partnered with The Arc of Greater Houston, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and adults with developmental and intellectual challenges, to deliver the care packages.

Through this event, leaders got the chance to learn more about each other and what their fellow team members bring to the table each day at Novartis. In the end, they were able to prove they not only know how to care for others’ hearts but also that they know how to use their own.





Team Building Thursdays 300

Team Building Thursdays: Do it

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Team Building Thursdays 300

Team Building Thursdays: Mark Twain

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

~Mark Twain

Hewlett Packard Comes Up Big for Veterans in Need in Dallas, TX

We staged this Mission: Military Care Charity Workshop in a hotel in Dallas, TX. The workshop was designed to address the specific teamwork needs of 60 staff members from Hewlett Packard. A Mission: Military Care Workshop entails assembling care packages and donating them to local veterans’ organizations. The care packages are then distributed either to local veterans or military personnel currently serving overseas. In this case, the organization was the Veterans Outreach Program in Dallas, a group of passionate people who work hard to connect homeless vets with transitional housing and other important resources. And although the room we had to work with was small, the goals we achieved were big in every sense of the word.

Great Things Happen When Talented People Come Together

The Hewlett Packard people came in raring to go, so we divided the group into teams and got started on some of our warm-up activities and mini-games. These were all custom designed to fit Hewlett Packard’s stated teamwork needs and helped prepare the attendees for the next two phases.

Their progress became apparent quickly. As we took the teams through the paces of games like Air Counting, Flip the Cup, and Say What I Say, the staff ceased being individuals and truly became a team. Even more importantly, our facilitators could tell that the Hewlett Packard people were learning teamwork lessons that would transfer easily back to the office.

An Organization Like Veterans Outreach is Always Great Motivation

The commitment on Hewlett Packard’s part was obvious from the beginning of the workshop. It was easy to see how much they cared about one another and the respect they had for our veterans. Once the warm-up activities and mini-games were finished, our facilitators guided the teams through the parts earning phase and the actual assembly of the care packages.

The individual employees from Hewlett Packard were all intelligent, hard-working, and passionate, but they were even more impressive working as a team. And it didn’t hurt that the Veteran Outreach Program had both a representative and one of their clients on hand to speak after the event. Their presence added the final motivating touch and made our facilitators’ work much easier.

This was truly a great event, with everyone involved coming out a winner. The Hewlett Packard teams honed their teamwork skills in their departments’ specific areas of need. The Veterans Outreach Program was grateful for all the care packages, and our facilitators went home knowing they had truly done some good.

Microsoft’s Helping Kids While Easing Corporate Change Through Rescue Buddies

We headed back to Microsoft for another charity team building workshop in preparation for some high-level organizational change.

Long-term Relationships Build Trust in Stevenson, WA

Because we’ve worked with the company several times before, the company organizer places a great deal of confidence in our facilitators and vice versa. This workshop was held the morning after a big social event, and instead of slowing everyone down, it seemed to foster an even greater level of collaboration and creativity!  The folks at Skamania Lodge were ready for us, though; and the ballroom we used was set up exactly to specifications. There was plenty of room for the 140 participants to get comfortable and get to work.

Mixing it Up at Microsoft

The departments who were meeting for this summer event were about to undergo some pretty significant changes. Everyone’s participation and cooperation were going to be needed as a migration from one platform tool to another was coordinated. Our Rescue Buddies Charity Team Building Workshop was a chance to practice key team building skills while still helping area children in need.

For a twist, we organized teams by department instead of mixing it up. Microsoft ’s organizers hoped to emphasize introspection and self-reflection. It was hoped that folks would gain the skills needed to consider how their actions affected others in their department.

We had folks from creative departments, operations departments, and more. As the company underwent a major change from one system to another, interpersonal and communications skills would be critical to success.

The Rescue Buddies workshop included several games and activities designed to be fun while still encouraging hard work and self-discovery.

Rescue Buddies for Kids Unlimited

The stuffed animals created by the Microsoft employees were very welcomed by Michelle Hull from Kids Unlimited.  This nonprofit, located nearby in Medford, OR, assists kids who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Kids get extended day care year-round.

They can join in activities in the arts, sciences, and sports, or hands-on programs like gardening or robotics. Ms. Hull was really moved by the sheer number of Rescue Buddies that were completed. And many of the Microsoft employees were emotionally moved as well.

It was a really rewarding afternoon. The short debrief session we held at the end of the day made it clear that the activities and challenges resonated with participants. They felt well-prepared for change and proud to have helped local kids.

Team Building Thursdays 300

Team Building Thursdays: Innovation

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

~Steve Jobs

Remembering America’s Veterans Through Sanofi Genzyme’s WheelCharity™ Workshop


Vietnam veterans in America are often described as “forgotten,” and the folks at Sanofi Genzyme wanted to change that during a recent charity team building workshop.

Through WheelCharity, dozens of participants assembled dozens of wheelchairs for donation to Vietnam Veterans of America.

Helping Scottsdale, AZ Veterans a Natural Fit

We joined 2 departments from Sanofi Genzyme during a semiannual meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. After a full day of meetings, the WheelCharity workshop was a great way to change it up. Folks worked on practical workplace skills while doing good for the community. Sanofi Genzyme has a long record of corporate social responsibility, so this event aligned very well with their previous related activities.

Because this division worked on a drug that benefited people with MS, they were especially interested in helping people facing mobility issues; because this workshop was held close to Veteran’s Day, the connection with Vietnam Veterans of America was perfect.

A Busy Day and a Productive WheelCharity Workshop

Teams had already been decided before we arrived, which was great because it meant we could start right away. The 50 attendees included several department leaders and managers. The 8 teams included an equal number of representatives from each of the 2 participating departments.

We gave them 90 minutes of activities and obstacles to overcome in assembling more than a dozen wheelchairs. They tackled every single one like pros. From popular games like Say What I Say and Air Counting to new ones like Flip Cup, Dice Cards, and Wordles, people really got into it with a spirit of friendly competition. The hands-on work cultivated workplace skills like conflict resolution, communication, and problem-solving in a tangible way.

Remembering America’s Veterans

Once the wheelchairs were completed, we provided paper and pens for people to write notes of best wishes and encouragement. Then we attached them to each chair. When the folks from Vietnam Veterans of America arrived to accept the donations, they were taken aback. They were profoundly appreciative. There are so many forgotten veterans in need, they said, these wheelchairs would provide them with the ability to get around and be participating members of their community.

There was barely a dry eye in the room as Eugene Crego spoke of some of the challenges faced by America’s veterans. It felt like such a small thing, participants said, to offer only wheelchairs to these men and women who have given so much to their country. These wheelchairs opened up so many opportunities to the men and women who needed them. It was a powerful experience for all involved, and one that none of us will easily forget.