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Sumitomo Corporation of Americas or SCOA is the largest subsidiary of a Japanese company that started 400 years ago.
According to the mission statement on their website, Sumitomo strives daily to engage in sound business practices and to develop strong relationships with trusted customers, suppliers, and partners in order to create new value and prosperity.
This business model was the brainchild of founder Masatomo Sumitomo. He started modestly selling medicine and books in Kyoto. But he became one of the greatest business visionaries in Japan during the 17th century.
Today the Sumitomo Corporation brand is based in 66 countries, employing more than 63 thousand workers. And as a subsidiary, SCOA is an industry leader in trade, investment, and marketing opportunities. After 65 years in operation, they now have offices based in North, South, and Central America.
The best team building activities bridge language barriers
This Bike-a-Thon at the North American Headquarters in Manhattan was also part of a “marathon.” That is to say, it was the first of 4 workshops for Sumitomo Corporation of Americas—all on the same day! The others were in Houston, Chicago, and Detroit.
We were grateful for the company’s confidence in us and we made sure they met each of their goals. The 30 workshop participants in Manhattan were a diverse group of American and Asian-born staffers, so communicating was a challenge. But, when it comes to having fun, language barriers gradually disappear and relationships slowly develop.
The company’s goals centered around inclusion, diversity, and consensus-building. So we structured our workshop accordingly. Each phase of our leadership, communication, and professional development training focused on teamwork.
When it was time to assemble the bikes, the group divided into teams but winning was not the primary focus. Instead, it was learning how to work harmoniously toward a common objective.
The best team building activities involve charitable giving
Fortunately, our Bike-a-Thons are charitable workshops, which means the bikes are built to give away to deserving charities. This takes the focus off of self and onto what matters—giving to others!
The best team building activities are priceless
The 6 bikes we built during this workshop were donated to the Kips Bay Boys and Girl Club and the best part was the big presentation. When the kids arrived they had no idea why they were there. They just gorged on pizza and enjoyed the camaraderie.
Then we presented the bikes and explained that they’d each get one! The look on their faces was shock, joy, and elation! They were absolutely ecstatic! And the representative from the Boys and Girls Club was so overwhelmed she couldn’t stop crying.
The Sumitomo employees were pretty overwhelmed, too. In particular, I remember 2 top execs each of whom had been with the company 10 years and 20 years respectively. Both said they had never been part of a team building workshop that was as much fun or as successful as this one.
One client in 4 cities in 1 day—and 4 communities that we were able to give back to. This experience with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas reminded me once again why I started Magnovo years ago. Priceless.