With Mission: Military Cares, Siteone Landscaping Supply Helps Vets Build a New Future16794B

On a typical, bitterly cold day in Connecticut, we stayed warm in the Foxwoods Resort Casino with 500 of our new friends from SiteOne Landscape Supply. The Mission: Military Careworkshop wrapped up a week filled with sales and leadership team meetings and activities. We had customized this workshop to accommodate the size of the group, and to fulfill the needs of area veterans served by the Norwich Veterans Center instead of American troops deployed overseas.

A Big Team Makes A Big Impact in Mashantucket, CT

The group we met with was a combination of 400 SiteOne Landscape Supply employees and 100 suppliers who’d been invited to join them. After nearly a week of interacting through meetings and training workshops, this group was pretty comfortable working together, and it showed. The group was loud and enthusiastic about the Mission: Military Careprogram in the best way. Everyone quickly divided into teams and when they played games and activities to earn backpack items, they were highly competitive! Within the short time we had together, teams earned enough items to prepare 200 backpacks for donation.

SiteOne Landscape Supply Gives Back

The company wanted to wrap up their week-long meeting with a group activity that was fun but still reinforced key workplace skills. We designed a program with a strong social mission to united participants behind a meaningful cause.

The Norwich Veterans Center – part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – offers a variety of programs and services to returning service members. The Mission: Military Careworkshop activities help participants learn to count on each other by strengthening lines of communication and supporting each other in taking risks.

Mission: Military Care™ Supports the Norwich Veterans Center

Attendees welcomed Mark Johnson of the Norwich Veterans Center with an impressive round of applause. Teams quickly quieted down so that he could say a few words. Mr. Johnson told the group about the programs and services offered by  the center. He also shared several stories about local veterans whose lives were positively affected by the help they received there. The SiteOne Landscaping Supply folks had nominated one of their own to formally make the donation of the backpacks to the center. Everyone cheered, and lots of folks took pictures.

As we moved the backpacks to a waiting pickup truck for transport to the center, a few volunteers pitched in.

Meanwhile, a quick debriefing session solicited feedback about the workshop and helped reinforce key concepts for success.  It may have been a cold day in January. However, the participants in the Mission: Military Care™ workshop that day showed just how warm and caring a charity team building event could be.

Extra Space Storage Helps Dozens of UT Veterans Through WheelCharity™ Workshop

Top-rated sales team members turned their positive work ethic into a charity team building event where their efforts benefited local veterans.

Pulling Together for WheelCharity™ in SaIt Lake City

Magnovo’s WheelCharityteam building workshop at a local hotel was customized for the Extra Space Storage team. Coming on the heels of a long day of educational programming, we knew the group would probably be tired, but everyone rallied. The idea of giving back to Utah veterans who had done so much for their country was a powerful motivator.

There were about 200 participants from across the country who were meeting in Salt Lake City, where the company is headquartered. This was a group of top-rated sales representatives; they liked to excel, and by the end of the program, it definitely showed . Because not everyone knew each other well, we split everyone into teams and ran through a few ice breakers. This gave folks a chance to get acquainted before we dived into our planned activities.

Everyone had a great time with the games; the key to success was effective teamwork, and every winner earned wheelchair parts for their team.

Making Teamwork Fun

Once teams had acquired all of the necessary parts, we took it to the next level with some high-stakes obstacles that had to be overcome as part of the assembly process. Each team rose to the occasion. People delegated and negotiated and communicated in ways that allowed them to problem-solve and strategize through these puzzles and challenges for maximum results. Our professional facilitator helped teams process as they went along so that these new interpersonal skills and abilities could be transferred back to the workplace going forward.

Extra Space Storage Helps Local Veterans

All in all, the Extra Space Storage teams completed 33 wheelchairs! The final count was announced to huge cheers and whistles . When Belinda Karabatsos of the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs arrived, she was simply stunned. Participants heard about how important these wheelchairs would be to veterans, some of whom left the hospital without one! Nearly half of the wheelchairs put together that day were spoken for before Ms. Karabatsos even left the hotel.

As we wrapped up the event, several teams decorated their wheelchairs with notes of encouragement and thanks. It was very moving to see how profoundly some of the folks in attendance were affected; several had family members who were currently serving or had served in the armed forces. We took lots of photographs of teams and the wheelchairs that their hard work produced.  Despite how tired they may have been after a long day of workplace training, everyone on the Extra Space Storage team put in extra effort to help local Utah veterans.

Amazon Doubles Bike-A-Thon™ Donation for Snoqualmie Valley YMCA

Members of an executive retreat go the extra mile in a charity team building Bike-A-Thonfor the local YMCA.

Amazon Executives Go Above and Beyond For Kids

It may have been a typical snowy day in Washington, but it couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of these 24 IT department leaders from Amazon! The company’s executive retreat focused on developing leadership skills. The Bike-A-Thonhelped them to embrace teamwork in a tangible way while also helping local children. We introduced advanced leadership skills through customized, targeted activities. Then we gave folks a chance to use them in action. The result? Improved teamwork and a chance to do something positive for kids in need.

For a group this size – about 25 participants – assembling and donating four bicycles is typical. But the team from Amazon stepped it up – more than a notch. They committed to delivering on eight bicycles for the children of the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA!

Developing Leadership Skills in Snoqualmie, WA

Our Bike-A-Thongames like Flip Cup, Say What I Say, and Wordles encouraged the teams to try new models for working towards a common goal. Winning teams earned the bicycle parts necessary for putting together the children’s bikes. As teams moved on from acquiring parts to assembly, they were ready!

This was a hands-on opportunity to put new ideas into practice. Even though this was a competitive group, they channeled this individual drive for success into unity. Teams focused on identifying and using each person’s unique skill set. Specially designed tasks offered something for everyone’s skill level and ability.

This group powered through bicycle assembly like no teams we’ve ever seen. For 90 minutes, this group welcomed challenge after challenge. They rose to the occasion every time, and they even finished early! A room full of beaming faces and high-fives all around reflected how proud they were of their success.

Bike-A-Thon™ is a Hit for Snoqualmie YMCA Kids

Nate Smith, a representative of the Snoqualmie Valley YMCA, arrived at the conclusion of the workshop. He was wowed by the group’s commitment to teamwork, as shown by the number of bikes completed. Mr. Smith thanked everyone. He also shared several stories about the kids who come to the YMCA and how these bikes would help them. As we wrapped up, we solicited feedback from the group. All the remarks were positive; people enjoyed learning by doing and helping kids at the same time.

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Team Building Thursdays: Leadership is Defined by Results

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked leadership is defined by results not attributes.

~Peter Drucker

Laz Parking’s Bike-A-Thon is a Big Hit with Local Kids in LaJolla, CA

It may have been wintertime but the Southern California warmth was hard to deny with Laz Parking employees’ enthusiasm for the Bike-A-Thon!

Laz Parking is Set for Success

We met with 150 people at the Hilton LaJolla Torrey Pines. The ballroom was huge, and perfect for a group of our size. There was plenty of room to play and spread out for bicycle assembly.

The company’s goal in arranging for the Bike-A-Thonwas to boost communication skills. Employees eagerly participated because the object of the Bike-a-Thon, too, was to donate new bikes to local kids. Because of the size of the group, the company organizers had pre-arranged folks into groups.

While a lot of folks did know each other, plenty of people were being introduced for the first time. And so our brief icebreakers were a big hit.

On a Roll in LaJolla, CA

Each of the games we played introduced new methods for communicating better. People got the hang of it quickly, and the pace of winning picked up. Winning teams earned bicycle parts they’d need for the next step, assembly. Once all the needed parts had been won, everyone was ready to get to work on the building. But there was a surprise!

The stakes were higher than simple assembly. We had a series of challenges and activities planned. These encouraged everyone to use what they learned in the games part of the workshop. Activities relied on skills like communication for problem-solving, decision-making, and delegating. People had to work together in order to complete their bicycle.

Fortunately, the Laz Parking teams were cooperative, enthusiastic, energetic, and open-minded. Everyone stepped up their game to ensure that their bicycle was completed within the time allotted.

Helping the Children of Centro Cristiano Amigos

Just about the time that the bicycle assembly activity was winding down, Rafael Osegueda from Centro Cristiano Amigos  arrived to accept the donation of the bicycles. And he had a surprise for the group, too! Along with Mr. Osegueda came the dozen children who’d be riding those new bicycles, and their parents.

Everyone’s faces registered shock and then quickly, happiness. The children were thrilled with their new bikes and started to try and ride them in the ballroom, much to their parents’ chagrin.

Mr. Osegueda then spoke to the group. He thanked Laz Parking teams for their kindness and generosity in turning their company event into an opportunity to help local children. The Laz Parking team leaders added a few remarks. They said what a wonderful experience the Bike-A-Thonwas, how much everyone learned about workplace communication, and how rewarding it felt to do something so nice for kids. To have the chance to meet those children and see the joy on their faces made the whole event even more memorable.

UHY LLP Interns Help Farmington Mills, MI Kids Through Team-Building Bike-A-Thon™

There was snow on the ground in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where we met in the UHY LLP team on-site at the company’s office. We carried out a Bike-A-Thonfor accounting department interns to end a day of workshops and presentations.

A Little Healthy Competition

Flu season has come on strong, which made our ice breaker activity where members of the group hold hands a little awkward! But everyone took it in stride. We passed around the hand sanitizer and had a bit of a laugh about it afterward! The 30 attendees didn’t know each other in advance. They all worked at different UHY LLP offices. That said, this was a friendly group of college students who were eager to participate in the Bike-A-Thon.

Blending DiSC® and a Bike-A-Thon™

As part of the Bike-A-Thonopening, we briefly explored DiSC® personality styles. We talked about each of the four types, and how understanding DiSC® can lead to more productive work groups. Given that everyone was pursuing accounting , it was surprising to find that self­ assessments showed an even mix of Ds, Is, and Cs. Despite this, there were plenty of healthy S-type behavior on display. In fact, during one game, our popular Dice Banking activity, one young woman shouted, “l’m sooo not good at this!” And during Group Writing, someone observed astutely that lts hard to be a perfectionist in this game!” People picked up on the main ideas of DiSC® pretty quickly . That understanding definitely contributed to the success of the Bike-A-Thon.

Bikes for Boys and Girls Clubs in Farmington Hills, Ml

The representative of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan/Fauver-Martin Club charity arrived early. Because of that, we shortened the workshop. Some of our activities were modified on the fly to accommodate completion of the workshop while still making sure the bikes were finished. Jeannette Kwiatkowski of the Boys and Girls Club shared a little about the kids who will be receiving the bicycles. Everyone listened attentively. It was clear that this group was highly motivated by the desire to give back. Ms. Kwiatkowski could not stay long because of a scheduling issue at the Boys and Girls Club office. However, it was a meaningful part of the program to have her join the UHY LLP group, and everyone was clearly pleased by her attendance.

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Team Building Thursdays: Warren Bennis

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

~Warren Bennis

The Cost of Not Engaging in Team Building Activities

“Team building. What a load of hippie New Age nonsense, right? Trust falls, drum circles, mandatory ‘retreats’ – nobody ever learns anything at these events!”

Sound familiar? You might have heard something similar from colleagues, partners, supervisors, or even coming out of your own mouth. While on some levels you might be correct – there are a lot of truly awful team building activities out there – the truth is that a company that doesn’t engage in effective team building exercises runs the risk of some major issues.

Here’s what you need to know about the cost of not engaging in team building activities.

Effective Team Building Builds Productivity

If you think team building is all about participating in goofy “icebreaker” games and singing songs around a campfire, you’re missing the point. The myth of team building being useless – perpetuated by ineffective games like the ones described above – is blinding you to the benefits that real team building brings to an organization.

Truly effective team building events are about showcasing the merits of collaboration and cooperation. A team needs to be more than just a group of individuals assigned to complete a project together – it needs to be a fully­ functioning, self-supporting unit, as doing so unlocks potential productivity that would otherwise be unattainable. How is this accomplished? By driving employee engagement.

Engage the Truth

One of the most well-researched aspects of work productivity (or the lack thereof) is employee engagement. A relatively hard-to-quantify factor, “engagement” is best expressed by how dedicated and passionate your workers are, and there has long been a correlation between high engagement and better productivity. In fact, engaged workforces have been found to outperform lesser engaged ones  by more than 200%.

But what drives employee engagement? Simply put, workers that have their value communicated to them by their supervisors are likely to be more engaged. Bilateral communication, one of the central tenets that are discussed and showcased during quality team building activities, is integral to the process of communicating worker value. This means that companies that don’t reinforce the importance of communication through team building exercises are missing out on major productivity increases.

The Costs Can be Astronomical

“So you miss out on some extra productivity,” you may be saying . “So what? It can’t result to that much on a practical level, can it?” Think again. Companies are leaving vast sums of revenue on the table, simply out of a reticence to provide better engagement for their workers. In fact, actively disengaged workers, according to a Gallup poll  are likely to cost the US economy alone between $450 and $550 billion.

Spread across the entirety of the American workforce, that might not seem as bad as it sounds. There are untold thousands of business across the US with millions of employees spread among them, after all. However, on an individual business level, research has shown that a company with poor communication practices loses 17 hours per week for every 100 employees or nearly $530,000 a year on average. How many employees does your company have? Do the math.

Don’t Pay the High Price – Call In the Experts

The evidence is overwhelming – companies that dismiss team building as a viable option to grow productivity do so at their own risk. Don’t be a statistic – contact us today and we’ll show you how our effective team building events can boost the engagement – and the productivity – of your workforce.

Gore and Associates Hosts Mission: Military Care™ Program in Tempe, AZ

Gore and Associates hosted a small event for 11 of members of their marketing team. Because all but one participant was from the East Coast, we were all happy to be in Arizona, at the Gore headquarters, for the sunny, 80-degree weather.

One word sums up this entire workshop: heart.

Giving Back in Tempe, AZ

When asked about this workshop, Karen Geissel of Gore said it was simple. “Because we want to give back,” she said.

Some members of the group had already joined Magnovo for a previous Mission: Military Careprogram. Other members of the team had a loved one in the military. They wanted to take care of those who protect us.

From the first moment we arrived to do the setup, all hands were on deck. The Gore team helped organize items and carry materials from one room to the next. This team was already working and with ease! A brief speech made at the beginning of the event emphasized their larger goal: “make an impact, by doing it together, with heart.”

Mission : Military Cares™ Means Fun, Too

Over one hour and a half, we took fun to a new level. The “selfie” challenge included strobe lights, Group Writing was done quickly (and legibly!), and the impromptu obstacle relay race sparked fun competition.

Once all bags were stuffed, Jan Richardson with Blue Star Moms of the Southwest Valley arrived to speak on their mission: to provide care packages to active military across the globe.

Serving Blue Star Moms of the Southwest Valley

Tears flowed when Jan Richardson explained that there are many instances where soldiers are deployed in areas where they have no access to simple but necessary things like toilet paper. She was overwhelmed with the size of the donation Gore folks prepare d. There were 22 care packages with over 400 individual personal care items and snacks!

After the program, we all received a message from Ms. Richardson. It read, “On behalf of Blue Star Moms of the Southwest Valley, thank you for coordinating the generous donations through Gore! Your bags will make a huge impact for 20 actively deployed military personnel all over the world! We look forward to working with you again in the future to benefit the community! Highest regards, Jan, Proud Army Mom of 2.”

When companies like Gore and Magnovo get together, the world becomes a brighter place. Hopefully, we will be back for another event!


Osborne Events Bike-A-Thon™ Helps Brighten Lives of Local Elementary School Kids

Osborne EventsWe felt only a little pressure as we planned a charity team building workshop for a boutique event planning company! Thankfully, the folks from Osborne Events were easy to work with, and they were really excited for the Bike-A-Thon, held offsite at the local Stone Tower Winery.

Working Hard in Leesburg, VA

The company spends a lot of time working on their clients’ needs, so this was a nice opportunity for them to spend some time working on their own workplace dynamic. People arrived happy and ready to join in the day’s activities .

Intertwined with the Bike-A-Thonwas a pop-up photo contest using Polaroid cameras distributed on-the-spot. It gave folks a chance to express themselves and further connect on a new level outside the traditional workplace avenues. Customizing workshops makes them memorable and meaningful for our clients, and we are always happy to do it.

Learning Through Fun with a Bike­-A-Thon™

There were about 45 participants in the Bike-A-Thon. We arranged everyone in seven teams and then charged them with a series of games and challenges designed to push their teamwork skills. People responded really well! It was a real plus that members of this group already worked together regularly, so there were no ice-breakers needed; people already worked well together. We sought to take their skills and abilities to the next level.

Activities focused on core skills like communication, problem­ solving, delegation, and decision-making. There was a lot of laughing and cheering as teams earned bicycle parts and started putting bikes together as a team. With the little bit of time we had left over, teams then had the chance to decorate the bike they worked on.

Osborne Events Helps Local Kids

The completed bicycles were to be donated to the children of Houston Elementary School in nearby Washington, D.C. As a special surprise, Darryl Webster, a guidance counselor at the school, arrived to accept the donated bikes. He was an engaging speaker who shared some powerful stories of children who were experiencing less-than-ideal childhoods.

People were moved when they learned that many of the kids at this school suffered from PTSD.

Darryl shared his own similar experience, and people were buoyed by seeing just how successful these kids could be in overcoming the challenges of their upbringing. As we helped load the bicycles for delivery, we heard nothing but positive