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March 2008
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Teambuilding Game: Helium Stick

The Helium Stick teamwork activity is easy to lead and offers a powerful lesson.

I’ve successfully used this activity to help the leadership of an organization realize that having a company mission is one thing and making it a reality is another.  I did this by leading the group in a four-hour company mission and vision statement workshop. 

After everyone was in agreement about the mission and vision statement and understood it I had the group do the Helium Stick activity. 

Here is the metaphor I shared with the group:  The tent pole was the company vision and by successfully lowering it to the ground they achieved their vision. 

What happened next was eye opening!  The tent pole immediately went in the OPPOSITE direction from where they were trying to go. 

After 50 minutes of trying to lower the tent pole to the ground they succeeded. 

In the debrief I asked the group if they experienced any parallels to real life while doing this activity.  YES they said…everyone had to be committed to the process, blaming and excuses didn’t make things better, staying calm and focused was critical, and so on.

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

Get instant access to the growing online archive of lead-it-yourself teambuilding game directions which 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 100 new and different lead-it-yourself teambuilding game write-ups and growing!

All this and MORE when you become a member of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators.  Explore the list of member benefits by CLICKING HERE

CLICK HERE for a sample teambuilding game write-up.

Social Spreadsheeting -- an effective tool for collaborating using Google's free apps

Google's free online apps (word processing, spread sheet, and more) offer you and your team the opportunity to collaborate quickly and easily.

CLICK HERE to read an interesting description on "Social Spreadsheeting" at the Google Docs blog.

On a related note, HERE is how a classroom teacher uses Google Docs to promote collaboration in the classroom.

"How to talk about training games" by Thiagi

If you're a trainer then I urge you to subscribe to Thiagi's free monthly newsletter.  I enjoy reading every issue.

In his April issue Thiagi (prounounced "Tee - Ahh - Gee") offers a great way for you to respond to “So tell me all about the training games you play”.  Instead of telling them, Thiagi plays a game to demonstrate what it is all about.

CLICK HERE to read the complete directions on how to lead this simple easy to lead game.

How to destroy team morale by following the rules

Each week I receive emails and phone calls from people in organizations who want to create a strong team culture.

Teamwork requires a serious and long term focus on building trust and win-win consciousness.  Virtually every company worth mentioning will announce the importance of "TEAMWORK!" and "TRUST!"

Words are one thing.  Deeds are another.

Take for example Enron.  They had the lingo down.  In their 2000 annual report they stated their top values as "Communication, Integrity, Respect, Excellence".

Enron is dead so let's apply this lesson of creating win-win team culture to another prominent business:  WalMart.

Here's a quote from the WalMart "corporate fact sheet" from their website:

"We're all working together, that's the secret.  And we'll lower the cost of living for everyone, not just in America, but we'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better lifestyle, a better life for all.  We're proud of what we've accomplished; we've just begun."  Sam Walton

Now watch this video which shows how the WalMart lawyers work to destroy the sense of team culture and trust within their own organization! by following the rules!

You can read an article about this fiasco HERE

The Coming World of Collaboration -- Howard Rheingold shares his genius

In this 19 minute video from a TED conference, you can get a glimpse of the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action -- and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group. As the presenter Howard Rheingold points out, humans have been banding together to work collectively since our days of hunting mastodons.

Turn off your TV and watch these amazing videos of inspired talks by the worlds greatest thinkers and doers presented at the annual TED (Technology, Education, Design) conference.  You can watch over 200 TED videos on YouTube HERE

Marshmallow Blowgun -- Teambuilding games you (probably) shouldn't play

At the 2006 Alpine Tower Symposium I led a couple of Train-The-Trainer teambuilding games workshops.  Some of the activities I teach require the use of PVC pipe and at the end of one workshop I demonstrated the awesomely fun marshmallow blowgun.  I wrapped up the workshop by providing all the supplies needed to make marshmallow blowguns for all.

Mayhem ensued.

Now you can make a LASER GUIDED version of the marshmallow blowgun.  Check out this video.

Mind Mapping Tool -- use in designing your teambuilding training event and for collaboration

When I set out to design a teambuilding training event I start by creating a "Mind Map".

New to Mind Maps?  Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

Read the full Wikipedia article describing Mind Maps HERE

Master coach Andrea Lee points us to a great online Mind Mapping tool here:

5 ways to use Mind Maps with your team:

  1. Use a Mind Map in a team brainstorming session to design your next staff retreat.
  2. Read Covey's "The Speed of Trust" as a team and then Mind Map the lessons from the book that are pertinent to your team and how you will APPLY those lessons.
  3. Produce a staff training manual as a Mind Map.
  4. Get clear on your personal mission, values, standards using a Mind Map.
  5. Train your staff how to use Mind Maps and then, when it's time for a one-on-one meeting, have the staff person create a Mind Map of what they want to discuss / accomplish and bring it to the meeting.

TeleSeminar: Restore Your (Team) Integrity

Integrity_1Integrity and Teamwork.

Would people describe you as someone who has Integrity?

And how do people describe your team?  Do they use the word "Integrity"?

Having Integrity is crucial to experiencing long-term success both individually and as a team.

But, how does one "get in" Integrity?

I just Googled the phrase “integrity and teamwork” and there were 20,600 pages found!

With so many references to Integrity you'd think we'd all understand how to achieve it both personally and as a team.

I think I know what the challenge is...

Integrity work is deep (not superficial). 

You can’t get to integrity by using a “technique”.

Integrity can’t be purchased or faked.

Integrity is about alignment...

The ONLY way to experience integrity (and the benefits) is when there is alignment between who you are (at your core) and the behavior you engage in.

A team experiences integrity when there is alignment between it’s purpose/mission and the behavior (actions) of the team.

There is a direct correlation between the degree to which the team MEMBERS are "in Integrity" (personally) and the degree to which the TEAM is able to be "in Integrity".  In other words, you can't have a team that's in Integrity without the individual team members being in Integrity FIRST (no matter how fancy those motivational posters are hanging on your wall).

Remember Enron?  You got it.  That was flash-in-the-pan success.  Zero integrity.  House of cards.

When “Out Of Integrity”

  • Disturbances occur regularly
  • Others are blamed and criticized
  • We react rather than respond to others
  • Decisions and choices are difficult and lack clarity

When “In Integrity”

  • Fewer problems are experienced
  • Consistent feelings of peace and well being are present
  • One reacts to others very little
  • Decisions and choices are clear and easy

How does one get to integrity?

How does a team get there?

The answer to these questions is found in the “integrity equation” which states: 

No Unresolved Matters  +  Alignment  +  Responsibility   =  INTEGRITY

Create these 3 conditions in your life and on your team and you get to integrity.

The resources include:

  • 70 minute recording of a LIVE and interactive TeleSeminar led by IATF President and Founder Tom Heck in March 2008
  • Class handout/notes in PDF format.

Registration Fee: $79

NOTE:  This resource is now only available to members of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators for free in the IATF Members Only Area.  Become an IATF memer now and get immediate access.  Member information HERE