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Explore the 7 Deadly Sins of Assessments

Have you thought about using assessments to help your team?

How do you know which assessment to use?  After all, I just Googled the phrase 'team assessment' which resulted in 174 million (MILLION!!) websites to visit and study!

Selecting the right assessment tool for your team can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

I don't have time to search haystacks so I went in search of experts instead. 

On June 28 I hosted a special 55 minute teleseminar with Jay Kipps, noted assessment tool expert.  Jay's company administers over 8,000 assessments each week in 24 countries (23 languages).  Having delivered over 3 million assessments, Jay's company has an amazing amount of experience to draw on - - experience that you can benefit from.  Why reinvent the wheel?

In this live teleseminar recording, you'll learn the biggest and most common mistakes of selecting, administering and leveraging assessments for teams. 

Three of the 7 Deadly Sins:
- - Confusing screening and selection
- - Using skill or IQ tests to predict performance
- - Using Type Indicators as performance predictors

This 55 minute recording will help you become an informed consumer so you're fully prepared the next time you need to use an assessment with your team or a team member.

This teleseminar recording includes lots of questions from the live audience.

Download 7_sins_of_assessments_1.mp3

Download a copy of the teleseminar notes below

Download common_assessment_mistakes.pdf

Download an article entitled "Assessing The Assessors -- Choosing The Right Profiling Tool For Your Training Business"

Download assessing_the_assessors.pdf

Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars -- Patrick Lencioni does it again

Marketing won't speak to engineering.

Sales thinks production hogs the budget.

Front desk believes back room's lazy.

Silos_politics_turf_wars If this sounds anything like what you deal with on your team then you need to read Patrick Lencioni's latest book entitled Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars (buy the book at amazon)

Lencioni presents a model for achieving alignment across departments within an organization and thus, eliminating unnecessary and costly infighting.

Whereas Lencioni's book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a fantastic tool to be read and used by the entire team/organization, Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars is designed more for the leadership team within the organization. 

Silos helps you understand the critical leadership lesson of: "If everything is important, then nothing is." Lencioni has a nice article about this lesson in his latest newsletter (read it here).

Training Ideas LIST

I'm a member of an online community of trainers and coaches (5,600+ people) who share ideas about all things training.  It's a "Yahoo Group" that is very active. 

I highly recommend joining this list if you love to ask questions and learn from others.

To subscribe to the group and start receiving emails, simply send an email to:  [email protected]  (you can unsubscribe anytime)

You can view the group's website (and archives) here.

Teambuilding Game: Balloon Trolley

While speaking at a conference recently I was asked if I knew any team building games that use easy to find props.  This person didn't want to spend lots of time finding or making props for her team building events. 

I suggested teambuilding games using balloons.

Each person has a balloon.  The team stands in a line with a balloon separating each person.  The team must move as one, from point A to point B.  Balloons can't fall.  No hands allowed.


Would you like to lead this teambuilding game with your group?

I'll send you the complete teambuilding game write-up!  Just subscribe to my free teamwork ideas e-newsletter (see the form in the right hand column).  In addition to receiving a free teambuilding games e-book, I'll regularly send you complete and detailed lead-it-yourself instructions to teambuilding games like the one above.  The lead-it-yourself instructions include: 

  • Setup & Preparation directions
  • Rules
  • Comments and insights about the teambuilding game
  • Debriefing suggestions
  • Variations
  • Detailed "how to make it" if props are involved
  • Video clips and photos

Over time you'll receive over 100 new and different lead-it-yourself teambuilding game write-ups for FREE. 

CLICK HERE for a sample teambuilding game write-up.

Do you need immediate access to my growing online archive of lead-it-yourself teambuilding games?  When you purchase my popular Multimedia 3-CD Training Bundle, I'll immediately send you the password to my online archive of teambuilding game write-ups.  Learn more HERE.

>> Lead consciously.  Learn how HERE


Teamwork Metaphor: Cluster Ballooning

It's called "cluster balooning" and it's for those who've dreamed of being carried into the sky by a giant bouquet of colorful toy balloons.

Cluster_balloon The most famous cluster balloon flight took place in 1982.  Larry Walters, with no prior ballooning experience, attached 42 helium weather balloons to a lawnchair, intending to go up a few hundred feet, but instead soaring to 16,000.  Surprisingly, Walters survived his flight.

Cluster ballooning is a great metaphor for teamwork.  One balloon all on it's own can't lift the person.  It takes a "team" of balloons all moving in the same direction to successfully lift the person (the organization/business).

Reminds me of the group of small fish who organize themselves to protect themselves from the larger fish.

Teamwork, Diet Coke, Mentos

Diet_coke_mentos I'm always on the lookout for unusual examples of teamwork and now I found a VERY unusual example.

Two guys in lab coats (with entirely too much time on their hands) + 200 liters of Diet Coke + 500 Mentos mints = over one hundred jets of soda flying into the air in less than three minutes.

Watch the amazing and completely insane video clip.

And watch how well these two guys work together.  The equation for success?  It all boils down to... fun.

Death By Meeting - taking on the oldest and most dreaded complaints in the working world: bad meetings!

Are your meetings dull and uninspiring?

Do team members question the usefulness of meetings?

Are critical issues avoided or overlooked during meetings?

Boringmeeting2 If you answered YES to any of the above then your team might be suffering from Death By Meeting syndrome - - you know, your meetings STINK and everyone hates them.

Death By Meeting was written by NY Times best selling author Patrick Lencioni who also wrote a fantastic book entitled The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The biggest mistake Lencioni says is that most every team is using just ONE style of meeting to address all issues and it doesn't work. In fact, it can't work. 

Think of it this way, when building a beautiful piece of furniture, does the carpenter have just one tool - a hammer - to do all the various jobs?  Absolutely not!  Having one tool and forcing it to do everything is what a caveman would do.   

There are four types of meetings and your team needs to use all four types:

  1. Daily Check-in
  2. Weekly Tactical
  3. Monthly Strategic
  4. Quarterly Off-site Review

Each meeting requires a different amount of time and each has a different purpose and format. CLICK HERE to view a diagram describing each of the four models. Download an outline of the four meeting types below:

Most teams meet once a week and therefore the weekly meeting is the most misunderstood and abused meeting style.  Lencioni calls the weekly meeting a "Weekly Tactical Meeting" and offers a very specific outline for how this meeting should run.  CLICK HERE to download a Tactical Meeting Guide (PDF).

Click on the link below to download a simple quiz developed by the author that will help you determine how bad your meetings are:

Download death_by_meetings_quiz.pdf

CLICK HERE for a great Q&A with Patrick Lencioni about his book Death By Meeting

CLICK HERE to read 5 Tips for a Better Meeting by Lencioni.

The IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program will help you become an INSPIRATIONAL leader so you can lead inspirational meetings.

Teambuilding Game: A What A Which

Here's an easy to lead team building game for 8-28 people that gets the group communicating simple ideas back and forth.  I should clarify - - the ideas are simple but the communication itself moves from easy to confusing, in a fun way.

You'll need two simple props (almost anything will do).  In the video clip (below) you'll see the group using a roll of tape and a plastic cup.

Would you like to lead this teambuilding game with your group?

Follow the link below to read detailed directions on how to lead this teamwork exercise which include:

  • Setup & Preparation
  • Rules
  • Comments and insights about the teambuilding game
  • Debriefing suggestions
  • Variations
  • Detailed "how to make it" if props are involved

CLICK HERE to read complete lead-it-yourself instructions.  You will be taken to a password protected "Member Only Area".  Become a Member - Learn how HERE.

Teamwork in the Movies: Mad Hot Ballroom

Mad_hot_ballroom We (my family) watched an AWESOME documentary this evening entitled Mad Hot Ballroom which received an 83% positive rating at

In this documentary we follow several groups of fifth graders (age 10) in the New York City public school system as they are introduced to ballroom dancing in their P.E. classes.  A handful of these kids go on to compete in a city wide ballroom dance competition.  The results are amazing, delightful and heartwarming. 

There are lots of reasons I love this movie...

You get to see teachers who love teaching.  You get to see kids who love learning how to dance.  You get to see 10 year olds talking about what it's like to be 10 years old. 

My first job out of college was working as a professional dancer with a group known as the Green Grass Cloggers.  (if you have a good eye you can spot me in this photo from 1986).  I danced and traveled with this group full time for one year.  I got into this scene in college because of the great music and dance community.  I had so much fun playing music (banjo) and dancing and I learned a lot about how to work with (dance with) others who are incredibly passionate about "getting it right" and being professional.  Up until this point, music and dance was just a hobby.  Making it into a job caused me to grow in ways unexpected and, to this day, I still benefit from.

All this to say - - You must watch Mad Hot Ballroom.  And if you're lucky, you will pick up on the nuances of dance and how they apply to building high performing teams.

"And a five, six, seven, eight..."

How I Made Mark Victor Hansen Angry (by accident) and Received a Whack On The Side of the Head

Mark_Victor_Hansen I have a confession to make: I made Mark Victor Hansen angry and I tried to cover it up.

If you don’t know who Mark Victor Hansen is then you’ll know his books.  He’s the coauthor of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series - - the best selling books of all time according to Guinness Book of World Records.

In December 2005 (six months ago) I interviewed Mark about his latest book entitled Cracking The Millionaire Code – Your Key To Enlightened Wealth. It’s everything you need to know to create a more abundant life without sacrificing your health, spirituality, freedom, or family.

I’m a big fan of Mark’s and was really excited to interview him, especially because I knew of his beliefs around teams.  Mark believes building a team is critical to building an abundant life.

As someone who is working with teams, you may get a whack upside the head from my interview with Mark as sure to have a listen as I include the recording below.  Did you know the best selling book author *of all time* believes so very strongly in teamwork?

It was the concept of abundance that I got stuck on towards the end of the interview.  You’ll hear it.

Mark was talking about abundance.  He was sharing how we need to get clear on the gift we have to share with the world and then give it away.

“Give it away?!” I said.

How is that possible?  I thought.  I like the idea of abundance thinking, but give it away?

I challenged Mark.  I wanted to know why he wasn’t giving his book away.  Was it the way I asked the question?  Was I being difficult?  Slow?  Anyway… you’ll hear it - - this is when I angered Mark. 

I’m curious to know if you hear the shift in energy in the interview.

You’ll definitely hear it at the end of the interview because you’ll hear a loud “CLICK!” as Mark hangs up his phone BEFORE I have a chance to fully wrap up the interview.

I was so embarrassed with the loud click that I edited it out (I've since put it back in).  I was reluctant to share the interview with you at first, but rethought it.  If I was meant to learn this lesson by upsetting Mark, then you deserve to learn from it too.  Because you don't want to have to go through what I did with Mark to figure it out for yourself, do you? So I've decided to share it, raw as it is.

The fact is, the interview may have changed the course of my life.

You see, Marks message of abundance stuck with me for days.  I kept hearing Mark talk to me about “giving it away so you can receive more”.

Mark had given me a present: A whack on the side of the head.

Mark's message was that of a "Go-Giver" and at the time, it was hard for me to hear because I wasn't "there".

With the help of a great coach I was able to make the necessary shift which has allowed me to operate from a new place.

Maybe now is a good time for you to receive the support you deserve - - the support you need to make an important shift. 

I invite you to join the IATF and receive this support.

To your success!

Tom Heck
President & Founder
International Association of Teamwork Facilitators

PS  Thank you Mark.  Thank you for the whack on the side of the head.  Thank you for helping me think more abundantly.

Click on the link below to listen to the 32 minute recording (mp3 format):

Download mark_victor_hansen_mp3sm.mp3

Teamwork in the Movies: Over The Hedge

Over_the_hedge Yesterday I took my seven year old son Joseph to see the new movie Over The Hedge which received a 73% positive rating at  We both loved the movie and laughed a lot.

As I watched, I thought about the messages built into the movie's story:

  • Family (community) is vitally important
  • You are strongest when you are in your community
  • Living life as a loner is no fun
  • Working as a unified team, we can over come the most threatening challenges

THIS is a movie made to appeal to the Millennial Generation!

The Millennials (born 1982 - 2005) are the generation following the X-Generation.  If the cycles of history continue as predicted by Howe & Strauss in their book The Fourth Turning, Millennials are on tap to become our next "hero" generation.  As a point of reference, our last hero generation is known as the "G.I. Generation" because they fought in WWII. 

All hero generations are predisposed to work in teams and it's a good thing to because it's the Millennials who will be facing the next "crisis" (our last one was WWII). 

Back to the movie... Millennials are the most diverse generation ever - and the movie depicted a diverse "family" (see the photo.  Millennials like messages about the importance of team and community and the movie's strongest theme was FAMILY and COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING.  Millennials will be asked and expected to give their all during the next crisis and in the movie the animal family had to pull together like never before to stay alive and beat several fierce and determined enemies.

A similar message was delivered last summer to our children (and adults) in the wildly popular kids movie entitled "The Incredibles".  Expect to see more movies (esp. kids movies) with the same messages.