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January 2006
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March 2006

Teambuilding Games with Mousetraps

Mousetraps are great for catching mice AND leading teambuilding games. 

I was introduced to mousetraps as a prop for teambuilding by my friend Sam Sikes who authored a great teambuilding games book entitled Raptor (along with many other wonderful books).

Are you looking for an "edgy" teambuilding game designed to build trust and practice coaching skills?  Have people partner up and give each pair one traditional wooden mousetrap.  There are 4 steps to this activity with the final step culminating in Person "A" coaching Person "B" to place their hand right on top of a set mousetrap.  Person "A" can guide Person "B" using verbal communication ONLY (no touching). Person "B" keeps their eyes closed during this step - they must rely on the coaching of Person "A" to keep them safe.  I've led this activity with groups as small as two people and as large as a couple of hundred. If it's led well, it can be an AMAZING experience for all!

Mousetraptrust1 Watch a video clip of the Mousetrap Trust activity and download a complete description of this activity in the members only area of (membership is FREE).

Now for some fun stuff with mousetraps...

Sam Sikes is a master at stacking SET mousetraps.  His record is 51 levels high!  This is remarkable!  Check out this photo of Sam and his record breaking 51 level mousetrap tower...

Mousetraptower (click on any image to enlarge)

And the fun continues...

I couldn't compete with Sam's 51 level tower so I went in a different direction.  Here's a picture of me sitting on a meditation cushion - blindfolded - stacking mousetraps on my head.

Everyone at the Heck household is getting into this mousetrap stacking thing.  Here's a photo of my 7 year old son Joseph who fell asleep stacking mousetraps in bed.



This activity can be found on the TeachMeTeamwork-Vol.1 multimedia training CD

Bode Miller - Should I aspire to be a "Bodeist"?

Bodemiller I watched the winter Olympics this weekend and had a chance to watch Bode Miller from the US ski team.  What a disaster!  His performance was dismal.  No medals and often didn't even finish his events.

Whats worse, it seemed like every other commercial was by Nike and it featured Miller sitting casually in a dark room (cave?) saying how the Olympics are not about winning the gold but about the experience.  At the end of the commercial I was asked if I wanted to be a "Bodeist" - - I guess they wanted to know if I wanted to be like Bode Miller.

At a January press conference Miller brazenly claimed to have competed in past events while under the influence of alcohol.  During a TV interview on the slopes Miller reported "I'm not getting drunk the night before the races".  So I guess he's getting drunk all other nights? 

Contrast that with the German 4-man bobsled captain who would not give an interview and was not seen much by the press - - he goes on to win gold. I got the sense that this German is totally focused on the matter at hand which is to do his absolute best at the Olympics.  He played full out.

Bodie Miller lacked the fire, focus and drive I'm used to seeing in Olympic athletes. Instead we get these lame Nike commercials with Miller telling us "it's not about the gold". Yeah right. If it's not about the gold then why go to the Olympics? Miller says you go to have fun. Of course you go to have fun. AND you go to win!

When did we lose the ability to combine the two - - playing really hard AND having fun? I see this in youth sports, kids are either taught to "have fun" (and not worry about the score) OR play to kill.

Does your team struggle with being great, being their best, AND having fun doing it?

Teams In Trouble # 8: Walls and Bridges - How To Facilitate a Mediation Between Two Adversarial and Entrenched Team Members

Bridgeout “Things go wrong when people build walls instead of bridges.”

Joe and Martha don’t get along.  It’s been getting worse and worse.  It’s gotten to the point where other team members don’t want to be around them.

Joe and Martha are members of a Business Process Improvement Team.  Joe complains that Martha isn’t supporting his ideas for improving the data entry process.  Martha gets upset when Joe suggests solutions that are unrealistic (even “stupid”). 

Initially it didn’t seem like a serious problem but team members are beginning to complain that in the meetings both Joe and Martha are throwing off snide remarks behind each other’s back.  And now it’s graduated to another level - - cliques are forming, one that backs Joe and the other backs Martha. 

The team leader met with Joe and suggested that he and Martha sit down to resolve the problem.  Joe attempted this but the conversation deteriorated in to a shouting match with Martha leaving the room very upset.

The team leader is at wits end.  He needs your help.  Your job is to meet with Joe and Martha and re-engage them.  They are valuable team members and you’ve got to help them get past their differences.

What will you do? 

Bridgingthegap4 On Thursday February 23, 2006 Michael Goldman of and I led a free TeleSeminar where we provided our solutions to work with these two people.  Michael shared  a proven 5-step Mediation Model and I shared a wonderful puzzle that creates an "opening" for mediation (picture of the puzzle to the left).

Listen to the 60 minute TeleSeminar now for free (limited time offer).  Click the link below to download the mp3 file. 

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Download directions to the team building game Tom shared during the TeleSeminar for free (limited time offer). 

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You will find the mediation model process notes for free at Michael Goldman's website

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Unknown Talent on Your Team

Jmac It was his team's final home game of the season. Jason McElwain entered with four minutes to go. It was his first and only appearance for the Greece Athena High School basketball varsity team in this Rochester, NY. Jason hit six three-point shots and a 2-pointer and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

Watch the video

This was Jason's first and only appearance on the court. Why? Jason is autistic and is the manager of the team (didn't make the team as a player).

Jim Johnson, the coach, was so impressed with Jason's work ethic and dedication that he asked Jason to suit up for the home game finale (with no guarantee he would play).

"He's been my right-hand man, he's there every day and just getting him the opportunity to suit up was emotional enough for me," the coach said. "For him to come in and seize the moment like he did was certainly more than I ever expected."

Jason McElwain is what I call a "sleeper" - someone who is pigeon-holed, someone who's true potential is awakened when given the chance. Who on your team is a "sleeper"?  Who would rise to the occassion if given the chance to "suit up"?  What would it take to release the greatness of everyone on your team?

Would you like to tap the full potential of your team members?  You can do it with one-on-one coaching.

R&D Team

Randdteam Would you like to participate in the TeachMeTeamwork "R&D Team"

I’m always working on several exciting projects at like creating new team building games, creating client programs or tweaking my web site.

I need feedback to make sure what I’m creating is well thought out and useful. That’s where you come in! I’ve put together a research and development (R&D) team and you might like to join (it's free).  Click here to find out more.

Adrenaline Addiction - How Leaders And Teams Suffer

Adrenaline_addiction_2 Are you or someone you know addicted to adrenaline? 

Many in leadership positions are addicted to adrenaline and don't even know it.

Not only does the adrenaline addict pay a price (working harder and harder, rushing, poor relationships, etc.), the organization they work for suffers (everything is last minute, poor strategic planning, always in crisis management, etc.). 

Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, has this to say about adrenaline addicts:

"There is something particularly insidious about adrenaline addiction that makes it hard for many leaders to kick the habit.  Unlike other addicts whose behaviors are socially frowned-upon, adrenaline addicts are often praised for their frantic activity, even promoted for it during their careers.  And so they often wear their problem like a badge of honor, failing to see it as an addiction at all in spite of the pain it causes."

Read Lencioni's article: "The Painful Reality of Adrenaline Addiction

Adrenaline addiction is a recoverable condition.  Here is a self-test to help you determine your level of addiction and some tips on how to overcome your addiction:

Download Adrenaline_self_test_iatf

When you have reserves -- when you operate from the place of having more than enough, you show up differently.

You’re able to be fully present with people - - your team members, your customers, your, suppliers, your friends, your spouse, your children...

On the other hand, if all you have is just enough - or worse, NOT enough - it becomes very easy to operate from a place of lack and fear.  Operating from abundance and possibility thinking is out of the question and so is anything having to do with inspiration. 

The greatest barrier to establishing strong reserves is an addiction to adrenaline.

As your addiction to adrenaline diminishes, your ability to develop strong reserves increases.

This leadership lesson comes from the IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program.