Audio Interview with Master Teambuilding Games Leader Sam Sikes - - The use of props in experiential teamwork activities

Tuesday, January 2 · Comments (0) Comments

Websam Sam Sikes is one of the most creative teamwork trainers I know. He has an amazing gift for finding everyday items and turning them into powerful teambuilding games props and so this is what I'll be talking with Sam about in this interview.

Sam has worked with small, medium, large and extra large groups in the US and beyond. He is a prolific writer of team building games books (I own them all), and a master team facilitator. He has been awarded both the “Practitioner of the Year Award” and the “Karl Rohnke Creativity Award” by the Association of Experiential Education. In addition to all of this, Sam is flat out one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.

Topics we’ll cover in this interview:

  • What is a team building “prop”?
  • What makes a good prop and what makes a bad one?
  • Can you have too many?
  • Common props
  • Unusual props
  • Sam’s favorite props

Click on the link below to listen to the 37 minute audio interview (4.6 MB):
Download sam_sikes_mp3_sm.mp3

Be sure to visit Sam's website

Audio Interview with Dr. George Kohlrieser -- Lessons about teamwork from a hostage negotiator

Sunday, December 10 · Comments (0) Comments

When you think of conflict, what comes to mind? 

Fighting? Aggression? Hatred? Fear? Struggles? Battles?

This is how most think of conflict.

17809 But hostage negotiator turned professor of leadership Dr. George Kohlrieser says effective leaders (and hostage negotiators) have trained themselves to look at the positive side of conflict:  opportunity, energy, passion, creativity, and engagement.

Not only that, Kohlrieser says you’ve got to learn to like dealing with conflict.  He goes so far as to say teams must be able to have intense arguments (constructive fights) if they are to make the shift from “good team” to “great team”. 

0787983845 Kohlrieser is the author of “Hostage at the Table – How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance

In this audio interview Kohlrieser shares an empowering view of conflict and then explains where conflict comes from and how you can lead your team through it and enjoy – and benefit from –  the process.

Click on the link below to listen to the 45 minute interview:

Download dr. George Kohlrieser sm.mp3

Here's what others are saying about this book:

"George Kohlrieser's brilliant book offers a unique and penetrating perspective on how people can free themselves from being held hostage to their self-imposed limitations. Hostage at the Table is filled with inspiring stories and the depth of Kohlrieser's insights that will enable the reader to become a fully empowered leader. It is a must-read."
-- Bill George, author, Authentic Leadership; former chairman & CEO, Medtronic

"In Hostage at the Table George Kohlrieser brings his unique expertise in the emotional land mines of negotiation to the challenges of leadership. Leaders everywhere will find much of practical use in this smart and engaging look at the emotional undercurrents that make or break an organization."
-- Daniel Goleman, author, Emotional Intelligence

Interview: Shonnie Lavender and Bruce Mulkey -- Commitment, Relationships, and Teamwork

Tuesday, October 31 · Comments (1) Comments

Shonnie_bruce I recently interviewed marriage vow experts Shonnie Lavender and Bruce Mulkey.

You must be wondering why I would interview marriage vow experts on a website dedicated to all things teamwork.

What could marriage vows possibly have to do with teamwork?

The answer is simple:  COMMITMENT

In their book "I Do!  I Do! The Marriage Vow Workbook" Shonnie & Bruce share how to create inspiring marriage vows that will sustain your marriage now and into the future.

A marriage vow is a commitment to the relationship.  But what does it mean when you make a commitment? 

Do you know individuals or teams that struggle with this idea of commitment?  As in, they say they are committed to the relationship or team project but at the first sign of difficulty (or challenge) the commitment is quickly forgotten.

We in America are well practiced at bailing out of our marriage commitments.  Approximately 2.4 million people get married each year and about half of those marriages end in divorce.  Is it any wonder that some of these same people bring this willingness to bail out of commitments with them to the teams they belong to?

To help us explore this idea of commitment, Shonnie & Bruce created a thought provoking "Scale of Commitment" which you'll hear us talk about in the interview.  CLICK HERE to view the Scale of Commitment.

Click on the link below to listen to the 44 minute audio interview (mp3 format)

Download shonnie_lavender_and_bruce_mulkey_sm.mp3

Interview: Marc Kielburger -- Coauthor of "Me To We: Finding Meaning in a Material World"

Sunday, October 29 · Comments (0) Comments

Marc_kielburgerHow old do you need to be before you start doing your life's work?

How old do you need to be to change the world?

If you're Marc Kielburger you're going to answer the above questions a little differently than most. 

Marc is a 29 year old Canadian who is an accomplished social advocate, leadership specialist, best selling author, and sought after speaker whose work has been featured on Oprah, CNN, 60 Minutes, BBC and profiled in numerous magazines and newspapers.

For 12 years Marc and his brother Craig (age 23) have been running the world's largest network of children helping children through education and - - literally - - saving thousands of children's lives every year through their organization Free The Children.

Yep. Do the math.  These guys started playing big on the world scene when they were young teenagers.

And now Marc and Craig have coauthored a new book entitled Me To We -- Finding Meaning in a Material World.

This book that will change the way you view the world.

Me To We inspires readers to improve their lives, communities and the world by thinking "we" in order to gain a level of fulfillment and happiness that cannot be acquired through materialistic means.

I recently interviewed Marc about this book and he said:

"Having spent time with world leaders such as Mother Teresa and street children all over the world, we discovered one undeniable pattern.  When individuals have a strong involvement in the betterment of their community, they show increased levels of meaning and happiness in their life."

Listen to the entire interview by clicking on the link below (it's an mp3 file)

Download marc_kielburger_1006_sm.mp3

In this interview you'll hear Marc share some statistics that wil shock you (I was shocked) that point to how our personal values impact people living around the world. 

Marc also shares simple action steps you can take that help bring about positive change on a local, regional, national and international level.  This is what I love most about the message Marc and Craig are sharing in their book Me To We - - that we don't have to wait on someone else, some government agency or head of state, to decide when it's time to bring about positive change.  Marc and Craig teach NOW IS THE TIME and WE ARE THE ONES who are fully capable of doing what's needed.

Don't wait.  Take action now.  Be empowered.  Read this book.

Interview: Andy Wibbels -- Business Blogging Expert

Sunday, October 15 · Comments (0) Comments

Many who read this website are entrepreneurs and business owners and this audio interview is just for you.

In August 2006 I made a decision to abandon my "traditional" html website design in favor of a blogging platform.  I have never looked back.  Making the move to the world of business blogging (you're reading a business blog!) has transformed by business. 

Andy_wibbels Why did I make the move from a "traditional" html website to that of a blog?  There are many reasons and you'll hear them in this audio interview with business blogging expert Andy Wibbels.

I hired Andy to guide me through the transition to business blogging.  And now, Andy has a great book entitled Blog Wild -- A Guide For Small Business Blogging.  You can use this book to help you make the transition.

Topics we covered in this interview include:

  • What's the difference between a website and a blog?
  • Fact vs. Fiction -- blogs in business
  • Business blogging success stories
  • How to get started in business blogging
  • more!

Click on the link below to listen (or download) the audio interview:

Download andy_wibbels_sm.mp3

Are you ready to start your own business blog?  Tom Heck is leading a live 2 1/2 hour Introduction to Business Blogging Workshop at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce on November 14, 2006. Learn more HERE

Tom Heck interviewed by Michael Port on "Think Big Revolution"

Friday, October 13 · Comments (0) Comments

Every Monday at noon Michael Port hosts the Think Big Revolution telephone conference call.  Michael shares ideas, tips and strategies for thinking bigger about who you are and what you offer the world.  It's free to participate and Michael has had some amazing guests on the show including Michael Gerber, author of "The E-Myth", a book virtually every entrepreneur has either read or knows about.

Michael recently invited me on the show to discuss the power of teams.

CLICK HERE to listen to the 60 minute program.

Audio Interview: Dr. Ken Blanchard

Saturday, October 7 · Comments (0) Comments

Kenblanchard Dr. Ken Blanchard's impact as a writer in the field of management is far-reaching.  The One Minute Manager (1982), coauthored with Spencer Johnson, has sold over 9 million copies and has been translated into more than 25 languages. 

In this interview, Dr. Blanchard talks about the principles outlined in one of his latest books High Five - The Magic of Working Together.  Dr. Blanchard shares why teams are important and what individuals and organizations can do to build successful ones. 

Click on the link below to listen to the interview
Download kenblanchard_mp3_sm.mp3

Audio Interview: Dr. Jim Cain -- In Defense of Adventure Based Education

Wednesday, September 27 · Comments (0) Comments

"Teambuilding is nice but we've got work to do around here."

Have you ever heard that statement or a variation of it?

Dr. Jim Cain has.  He's an award winning team skills trainer and author of many books including Teamwork & Teamplay.

Dr. Cain travels widely training educators of all types.  Many of these educators need to "make the case" for experiential learning when they return to their facilities.  To help people in this situation, Dr. Cain has authored a detailed article entitled "In Defense of Adventure-Based Education and Active Learning Opportunities".  Download the article by clicking on the link below.

Download InDefenseOfAdventureBasedEducation.pdf

Click on the link below to hear Dr. Jim Cain make the case for Adventure Based Experiential Learning.

Download dr. Jim Cain mp3.mp3

Audio Interview: John Taylor Gatto - brilliant educator, speaker, author

Thursday, August 31 · Comments (0) Comments

What does it mean to be a teacher (trainer)?

How much can you trust the students (training participants) with the learning process?

I have a teaching degree from Virginia Tech and when I graduated in 1986 I thought I knew the answers to these questions.  And then reality hit me square in the face.

I was a classroom teacher in Manassas, VA (just outside of Washington, D.C.) during the 1990-91 school year.  This was one of the hardest and most frustrating jobs I've ever had.  And it wasn't difficult because of the kids - - I had learned how to work with difficult to teach kids when I was a juvenile corrections officer.  What was the source of my frustration?  I couldn't seem to put my finger on it exactly. Until I found John Gatto.

Gatto Just after I resigned my teaching position, I read a speech written by Gatto.  The speech was entitled Why Schools Don't Educate and was delivered when he received the New York City Teacher of the Year Award (he taught in the classroom for 30 years).   Reading the speech caused me to stop in my tracks.  I felt as though Gatto was speaking directly to me.

Gatto spoke about teaching and learning in terms I had never heard before.  Gatto helped lift the fog I was in and provided me with a clear and hard hitting explanation of what it really means to be a teacher.

I began reading everything I could find by Gatto.  His writing has changed the way I look at the world of teaching and learning. 

Now, 15 years later, I have the great pleasure of sharing an audio interview I did with John Gatto.  I interviewed him today and I found him to be a generous and gracious man.  And did I mention he is brilliant?  I love the way he uses the English language - - I think you'll enjoy hearing him speak to.

Click on the link below to listen to the 70 minute recording (mp3 file)

Download john_taylor_gatto_sm.mp3

3rdcover_sm During the interview you'll hear Gatto mention several of his books.  I encourage you to buy a copy of his latest book entitled "The Underground History of American Education".  Buy it at

If you like what you hear in the interview you will likely enjoy this archive of Gatto's articles HERE

Watch John Gatto on 19 different video clips HERE

Tipjar75 If this audio interview makes a difference in your life then please donate to the TeachMeTeamwork TIP JAR  .  Your donation goes directly to the maintenance and expansion of teambuilding resources like this one.

Tom Heck interviewed by Scott Chesney on Internet Radio Program "Maximizing Life"

Monday, July 17 · Comments (0) Comments

A couple of years ago I had the great opportunity to work as a lead trainer at Discovery Camp, a leadership program for teens created by the Anthony Robbins Foundation.

My job was to help train the teachers who accompanied the students to the camp.  I taught the teachers how to use experiential teambuilding games to build community in the classroom.  I also taught how to integrate the games into the existing curriculumn so as to drive home important lessons.

It was a powerful and transformational camp filled with teachers and students who were committed to improving themselves and the world.  Be sure to watch the video clips when you visit the link to the camp.

One of the people I met at Discovery Camp was Scott Chesney.  Scott is a motivational speaker and success coach who now has an internet radio program entitled "Maximizing Life with Scott Chesney".  Scott interviewed me today with the topic being "Maximizing Teamwork".

It was my first time being interviewed on live radio.  Having to pay attention to commercial breaks was fun.

Listen to the interview here.

Tom Heck interviewed by Coachville Member News

Wednesday, July 5 · Comments (0) Comments is one of the largest coach training organizations in the world and I was recently interviewed by Soni Pitts of Coachville Member News.

Read the interview here.

I've delivered workshops and large group presentations at ICF and Coachville coaching conferences.

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

Thursday, June 8 · Comments (12) Comments

Mark_victor_hansenI 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. Maybe now is a good time for you to get one of those too.

A day after the interview with Mark I was listening to one of my favorite live lectures from Wayne Dyer (Secrets To The Power of Intention).  I was half way through a multiple CD set when I heard Wayne say virtually the SAME MESSAGE that Mark shared with me.

Has this happened to you?  Getting the same message from multiple sources over the course of a couple of days?  When this happens I always pay attention and take action.

I decided to take massive action and risk it all (at least it felt like risking it all) - -   I made membership at FREE.  You probably remember when I made this announcement - there are now 132 resources and 101 videos of teamwork-essential tools available free to you, all because of the story of I'm telling you!

The move to making membership free has caused me to grow and stretch in amazing ways.  I’ve had to face this idea of abundance head on.

My learning and growth has been significant.

My beliefs about what I can and can’t do have been forever altered.

And now I need your help.

Having risked everything, and with the changes I’ve gone through the last six months   I’ve begun to take a closer look at how I can best serve you.

It's really important to me to know what you most want when it comes to teaching team skills and leading teams. Where do you get most stuck - specifically - so I can help you get detangled?

I'm hoping you'll take a moment to share this with me so together we can - like a team! - make an even bigger difference in what we do. 

I have a great passion for teaching team and leadership skills through experiential learning exercises (aka “games”).  The games provide a powerful and fun doorway to teaching and advancing important life skills such as trust, communication, creative problem solving, and more. 

But I can't do it alone.  Will you help advance my mission of teaching these skills to the world - raising team consciousness worldwide by getting  to the “heart” of our team members (rather than the head)?   

Like Mark, I think you can tell I have a great sense of urgency about this work.  I'd really appreciate your in understanding how I can more fully support you.

Just leave a message on this blog post (see below) or send me an email ([email protected] or call me 828-665-0303 by Monday July 10, 2006.
I will definitely be listening carefully to every word you say, and as a small thank you for your help, if you are curious about whether Mark is still angry with me, I will tell you the answer when I reply. 

Yours in team building,

Tom Heck
Teamwork Coach

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

Click the PLAY button (triangle) to hear the interview with Mark Victor Hansen

If you like, download the mp3 file of this recording:

Download mark_victor_hansen_mp3sm.mp3

Facilitative Learning - An Interview with Dr. Michael Gass

Monday, May 29 · Comments (0) Comments

There is a 12 ounce glass and it has 6 ounces of water in it.

Is this glass half empty or half full?

Mike3 In this audio interview, Dr. Michael Gass of the University of New Hampshire offers his unique persective on this puzzle.  You'll hear how he uses this glass-of-water metaphor to share powerful distinctions between "PROBLEM-Focused Facilitation" and "SOLUTION-Focused Facilitation". 

In this interview we discuss the power of questions, being (and staying) curious and inquisitive, the "confusion technique", approaching difficulties as gifts, and more.

Mike knows what he's talking about:

  • Mike is the author of several books on facilitation and experiential leanring. 
  • Mike is the recipient of the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) Kurt Hahn award for leadership and is the recipient of AEE's Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year award. 
  • Mike has presented over 150 professional workshops on adventure and other forms of experiential programming in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.

Icon_audio_22 Listen to the audio interview by clicking on the link below (mp3 file).

Download dr. Michael Gass sm.mp3

Understand the Master Collaborator - an interview with Michael Port

Tuesday, May 23 · Comments (1) Comments

Michael_port How does a master collaborator view the world? 

This is the question I posed to Michael Port who recently published Book Yourself Sold - The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling.

Using the collaboration skills he teaches in his book and seminars, Michael launched Book Yourself Solid at and two hours later the book went to # 1 on all major business categories and climbed to the # 2 spot overall at

In this audio interview Michael will share key principals on how you can become a master collaborator. 

Book_yourself_solid Whether you're an entrepreneur or an employee of a large or small company, your success will skyrocket when you collaborate more effectively.

This recording is useful for anyone who wants to think big and play a bigger game.

Download michael_port_sm.mp3

During the interview you'll hear Michael mention the Think Big Revolution.  This is a project worth your time.


Crucial Confrontations - An Interview with Ron McMillan

Monday, May 15 · Comments (0) Comments

Ron_mcmillan_3 How do you resolve broken promises, violated expecations and bad behavior AND do it in a way that will actually strengthen the relationship?

This is the question Ron McMillan answers in his 2005 book Crucial Confrontations which became a NY Times Best Seller.

One of my favorite writers on teams and organizational development is Tom Peters and he says "If you read only one management book this decade I'd insist that it be Crucial Confrontations.

Today I interviewed Ron and we start off by clarifying what a "crucial confrontation" is and is not.  He outlines the 3 criteria that make a confrontation crucial:

  1. High stakes
  2. Opposing opinions
  3. Strong emotions

Crucial_confrontations We then discussed the 4 primary mistakes people make when confronting others and then Ron provides solutions for each.

Icon_audio_20 Click the link below to listen to the 50 minute audio interview in mp3 format:

Download ron_mcmillan_sm.mp3

Learn more about Ron McMillan and his great work here.

Ensure Success in the First 100 Days of the Woman Exec

Tuesday, May 2 · Comments (0) Comments

Liz_cornish My friend Liz Cornish has written a wonderful book for new women execs and she is offering a special deal for members of the community that allows you to purchase the book and companion workbook for 38% off list.

About the book…

It’s called JumpStart: A Woman Exec’s Guide to Maximizing Success in the First 100 Days on the Job. If you are being promoted or transferred, taking over a new team or launching a new project, this book is for you.

  • provides a blueprint for success in your first 100 days;
  • shares the advice and wisdom of scores of successful female executives;
  • shows you where the landmines are buried in any workplace;
  • describes how to overcome challenges and disadvantages common to women leaders in their first 100 days;
  • develops strategies for exploiting your strengths and managing your limitations.

Jumpstart_cover McGraw Hill has picked up the book and will be publishing this book soon and the price will go up significantly.

Buy the book and the companion workbook for 38% off list at this special link.

Icon_audio_19 Listen to the audio interview I did with Liz about her book.  Click on the link below:

Download liz_cornish_sm.mp3

Dr. Dan Garvey -- President of Prescott College Interviewed

Friday, March 10 · Comments (0) Comments
  • Why do we "do" experiential education at all?
  • What is the ultimate goal of teaching through experiential education?
  • Whats the difference between a "seasoned" experiential educator and an inexperienced/new facilitator"?

Dangarvey If ever there was someone qualified to answer these questions it is Dr. Dan Garvey who is the president of prestigious Prescott College.  Dan is the former president and executive director of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and is the recipient of the 1997 Kurt Hahn Award. He has authored more than 25 books and articles dealing with the broad topic of experiential education.

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Garvey recently and we discussed these topics and more including:

  • Education follows culture
  • The unique demands of an experiential educator
  • Personal development and the path to becoming a top facilitator
  • Trust

Icon_audio_16 Click on the link below to listen to the interview
Download dr. Dan Garvey sm.mp3

Cdaudio1 Do you like to learn by listening?  I've developed three CDs for you - - each one is filled with audio interviews  designed to help you become more effective at teaching team and leadership skills.  Learn more here.

Conscious Leadership - An Interview with Dr. Lance Secretan

Wednesday, March 8 · Comments (1) Comments

Lancesecretan Dr. Lance Secretan is the author of the new book entitled ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership.

In this recent audio interview I did with Dr. Secretan he reveals how how the conscious leader practices the CASTLE Principles

CASTLE is an acronym for six attributes: 

  1. Courage
  2. Authenticity
  3. Service
  4. Truthfulness
  5. Love
  6. Effectiveness

One Like all fundamental, life-changing concepts, these are simple ideas - well known to us all, yet easier to talk about than to live.  In this interview Dr. Secretan shares how to LIVE these principles.

I love this book because it gives leaders a clear and practical approach to leading consciously and thus, building teams consciously.  And this is a guy who knows what he's talking about.  Dr. Secretan is a former CEO of a global corporation, former business school professor, best selling author of 13 books, and consultant to large organizations world wide. 

Icon_audio_15 Click on the link below to download the interview
Download lance_secretan_mp3sm.mp3

View a detailed descriptioin of the CASTLE Principles

Jack Canfield interviewed

Wednesday, December 21 · Comments (1) Comments

Imagine for a moment that you love basketball and you're a huge fan of Michael Jordan who is arguable the greatest basketball player of all time.  And you ask Michael Jordan if you can hang out, shoot some hoops, and maybe play a little one-on-one.  Would that be amazing or what?!

Jackcanfield_1Well, I had a similar experience of visiting with someone who is Michael Jordan's equivalent in the field of personal development - - I recently visited with Jack Canfield who is a world renowned expert at warming hearts and changing lives.  Jack is, according to the Guinness World Book of Records, the best selling author of all time along with his coauthor Mark Victor Hansen - - together they created the Chicken Soup For The Soul book series.

I interviewed Jack about his recently published book entitled The Success Principles - - How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be.  It's a big book (470+ pages) - I own it in hardcover form and in audio form (download it now at and I listen to it frequently.

In this interview I focused my questions on one section of the book entitled "Build Your Success Team".  Jack shared valuable insights including staying focused on your core genius, saying no to the good so that you can say yes to the great, and mastermind principles.

SuccessprinciplesAfter the call Jack and I visited offline for 15 minutes.  I told told him he was very good at being interviewed (easy to interview).  I guess that comes from being on so many radio programs (600+) and on TV so many times. 

And then Jack gave me some feedback...

He said "Tom, you're really good at this!  You're calm and relaxed and have a natural style.  You go with the flow and you keep bringing things back to focus.  You're obviously living these principles and it comes through in the back and forth."


I've got to tell you that after a compliment like that I felt like doing a few back flips.  To receive such a kind compliment from one of my biggest heroes was a huge gift. 

And that got me thinking...

Would you like me to interview you?  Yep, I'm talkin' to you.  Do you have the need or desire to be interviewed?  Perhaps you'd like to put the interview on your own website or you can create a transcript and sell it (or give it to your mom for her birthday).  I've interviewed 50+ people and I love it.  I'll help you understand what makes a great interview, help you prepare your talking points, record the call and then give it to you as an mp3 file in sizes for the web and CD.  Send me an email and we can discuss the particulars. 

Icon_audio_12Here is the 43 minute audio interview with Jack Canfield.  It's an 8 MB mp3 file.  Enjoy!
Download jack_canfield_mp3_sm.mp3

Is Your Team Dysfunctional?

Monday, November 21 · Comments (0) Comments

Five_dysfunctions The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a best selling book that explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure.

I bought the book in the unabridged audio format through  The book is written in a fable (story) format and is so compelling that I found myself sitting in the car listening to the book in the driveway after I had returned home from a short trip.

If you work with teams you need to read this book.

I contacted the author Patrick Lencioni and here's the results of a little Q&A:

Patrick_lencioni Q: What is this book about?
A: Essentially, it’s about the root causes of politics and dysfunction on the teams where we work, and the keys to overcoming them.  It’s also a testament to the power of teamwork, and the competitive advantage that it can bring to any organization.  Finally, the book is a reminder that success in business may be difficult, but it’s not overly complicated.  It is more about discipline and persistence than intellectual prowess.

Q: Why are so many teams dysfunctional? 
A: Because they are made up of human beings with varied interests and frailties.  When you put them together and leave them to their own devices, even the most well-intentioned people will usually deviate toward dysfunctional, unproductive behavior.  And because most leaders and managers are not schooled in the art of building teams, small problems are left untreated and spiral further and further into ugliness and politics.

Q: What is the worst behavior you’ve ever seen on a dysfunctional team?
A: Choosing just one is difficult.  But if I had to select one, I would say it was a company where the CEO was unable to confront his direct reports about basic behaviors such as their blatant refusal to attend staff meetings and honor reporting structures.  Ultimately, this led to the stifling of conflict around key issues, resulting in massive financial losses and scandal. 

Q: What advice do you have for someone struggling with a dysfunctional team?
A: If you’re the leader of a team, go back and start by ensuring team members trust one another and are comfortable engaging in open conflict around issues.  There is no substitute for trust—it begins with the willingness of team members to open themselves up to one another and admit their weaknesses and mistakes.

In addition, any individual, whether an executive or a line employee, can impact a team in either a positive or negative way. Without holding one another accountable, even the best-intentioned team members can create dysfunctions within a team.

If you’re not the leader of the team, find a way to get your leader committed to addressing the five dysfunctions.  Or be prepared to take risks calling people on unproductive behaviors.  If neither of these options are possibilities, think about finding another team.

Q: Can you apply this model to any current events?
A: Yes.  Enron, President Bush and his Cabinet, The New England Patriots, and of course, the break-up of the Go-gos.

Q: What exactly are the five dysfunctions of a team?
A: Lack of trust.  Team members are uncomfortable being vulnerable with one another, unwilling to admit their weaknesses, mistakes or needs for help.
Fear of conflict.  Team members are unwilling to engage in passionate, unfiltered debate around important issues.
Inability to commit.  Team members fail to achieve buy-in around clear decisions and courses of action.
Unwillingness to hold one another accountable.  Team members fail to confront one another around behaviors and deliverables that do not conform to agreed decisions.
Inattention to results.  Team members put their individual needs for career development and recognition before the collective goals of the team.

Q: Why do you convey your messages through fables?
A: I believe that readers learn more through fables because they can relate to the characters and more easily internalize the messages.  In addition, they are more apt to finish a book if they find it intriguing and fun to read.  Finally, because I’ve had some experience writing screenplays, I enjoy the process of bringing my theories to life through interesting dialogue and character development.

Download the Five Dysfunctions Model

Download five_dysfunctions_self_assessment.pdf

View a Summary Article by Patrick Lencioni

Download Book discussion points (prepared by Patrick Lencioni)

Do you love this book (like I do) AND do you also love to teach using experiential exercises (like I do)?  If yes, I've got a great resource for you! 

On October 4, 2006 I led a live TeleSeminar where I share 5 experiential teambuilding exercises that support the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  You can access the recording, the class notes, and detailed descriptions of the activities along with video clips right now by clicking HERE.

The Attractor Factor & Team and Leadership Development

Monday, November 14 · Comments (5) Comments

Do you work hard, do everything right, and yet rarely achieve the results you had hoped for? 

You might be trying to build a better team or lead people in a more effective and conscious way.  You might be trying to become healthier or experience more fulfilling relationships.

So you go to a workshop or read a book or listen to a tape to learn more techniques and you think you're doing everything right and working hard but you never achieve the results you're after.

I've experienced this.  Working hard.  Doing everything I thought I was supposed to do.  And still not quit getting there.

What is the missing piece?

I found the answers I've been looking for in a new book by Dr. Joe Vitale entitled "The Attractor Factor - - 5 Easy Steps For Creating Wealth (or anything else) From the Inside Out".  This book has 75 five star reviews (the highest rating) at and has been a number one best seller twice at amazon - both times beating out Harry Potter!  Click on the book image to read the reviews yourself.

Joe reveals that success of any kind doesn't depend on what you're doing, it depends on what you're being!  In his book Joe combines time-honored practices of spiritual self-discovery with proven marketing principles into an extraordinary how-to manual for happy living both in and out of business.

Joe_vitale_1 I interviewed Joe recently and we discussed the revolutionary five step process he shares for manifesting whatever you want as well as THE KEY belief you must adopt to create big shifts in your life.

Click on the link below to listen to the 30 minute interview with Joe Vitale.
Download joe_vitale_mp3_sm.mp3

As you'll hear in the interview, the implications of the secrets Joe is sharing are profound.  With this information you can improve every area of your life.

Join us each week to discuss the book.  More info here.

Recordings of the Attractor Factor virtual book study group below:

Download attractor_factor_feb_14_2006_mp3_sm.mp3

Download attractor_factor_22106_mp3sm.mp3

Download attractor_factor_feb_28_sm.mp3

Download attractor_factor_march_7_1.mp3

Download attractorfactor_march14_sm.mp3

Stephen M.R. Covey -- The Speed of Trust

Thursday, September 29 · Comments (1) Comments

Trust is soft.
Trust is slow.
Trust is for wimps.
Trusting people is too risky.
Trust can't be taught.

These are common myths about trust.

Covey_smrBut what is the truth about trust?  Find out in this audio interview with Stephen M.R. Covey who will soon publish a book entitled "The Speed of Trust".

Stephen MR  (pictured) is the eldest son of Dr. Stephen  R. Covey who authored "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".  Stephen MR is the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center which, under his stewardship, became the largest leadership development company in the world.  He is now the co-founder and CEO of his own firm CoveyLink which is a learning and consulting practice focused on enabling leaders and organizations to increase and leverage trust to achieve superior performance. 

As a teacher of team and leadership skills, there is no doubt that you seek to build trust among team members.  But how best to do it?

Icon_audio_5In this interview Stephen MR Covey shares strategies, tactics and tools to help you establish, grow, extend, and restore  trust with all stakeholders (customers, suppliers, investors,  and co-workers).  Click on the link below to listen to the interview (it's an mp3 file).
Download stephen_mr_covey_mp3_sm.mp3

Trust is THE critical leadership competency in the new global economy. Trust is more important than vision, strategy, skills, systems and structure and... the list goes on.  Trust is what will make your team outstanding.

Speed_of_trust_1Training Opportunity:  Stephen M.R. Covey is leading a training event entitled "Leading At The Speed Of Trust" to be held November 9 and 10, 2005 at the Sundance Resort in Utah.  It will be an intimate setting with only 40 people attending so now is the time to take action because there are less than 20 spaces left. You will be in the company of some amazing individuals, all committed to mastering trust at the deepest level.  Click here for more information.

The Fourth Turning and Your Place In History

Thursday, June 16 · Comments (0) Comments

Have you ever stopped to wonder why you have a desire to teach team skills?  After reading the book "The Fourth Turning" by Neil Howe and William Strauss, I realized why I teach teams skills.  I now clearly understand my place in history as a teacher of team and leadership skills.

FourthturningbookThe Fourth Turning outlines a profound theory that suggests history moves in cycles (history is NOT a linear progression), much like the cycles of the seasons.  Each season lasts approximately 20-25 years with a full cycle of the seasons lasting 80-100 years. 

Moving through these seasons are (large) groups of people or generations - - a generation is composed of people whose common location in history lends them a collective persona. Recent generations are Baby Boomers (born 1943-60), Generation-X (born 1961-81), and Millennial Generation (born 1982-2005).  You might know the Millennial Generation as "Generation Y", but Millennials don't like the "Y" designation because they don't like being seen as an extension of the "X" generation (the generation Millennials have the least respect for).

Why is this important to those of us teaching team and leadership skills?  Read on...

Howe and Strauss say that we are at the end of fall and about to start the winter cycle of history (if we haven't already).  Winter is always a time of huge change.  To put this in perspective, take a look at the past three winters we experienced here in the USA:  The Great Depression & World War II, and the winter before that was the Civil War, and the winter before that was the Revolutionary War.

The generation that "comes of age" during the winter (the crisis) is referred to as the "hero" generation.  The "G.I. generation" is the last generation to fall into this hero archetype. 

What does this mean?

1. We (the US and likely the world community) are about to experience the winter season, a time of great challenge (a period of approximately 20 years).
2. The generation that will come of age during this crisis is the Millennial Generation - - our next Hero generation.  The lion's share of Millennials are in school - - elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges and universities.  The oldest of the Millennials are now 23 (just out of college)
3. One of the most important skills for any hero generation to master is that of teamwork. ALL hero generations must master team skills because the challenges they face will be so demanding (remember WWII?).
4. The book describes how individuals and society should prepare for the Fourth Turning.  As you might imagine, team skills are absolutely critical in a Fourth Turning - the challenges are so great that they can only be solved through a massive amount of teamwork.
5. Therefore, your desire to teach team skills (esp. to the Millennial Generation) is in PERFECT harmony with the cycles of history. 

Neilhowe_1Listen to my interivew with Neil Howe (co-author of The Fourth Turning).  I suspect you'll gain some real clarity about why you feel compelled to teach team skills. 
Download 01_neil_howe_mp3.mp3


A Whole New Mind -- An Interview With Dan Pink

Sunday, June 12 · Comments (1) Comments

Quiz Time:  Which college degree is more valuable?  An MBA or an MFA (that's Masters of Fine Arts).

DanpinkDan Pink says the answer is clearly an MFA - - at least it will BECOME more valuable over the next ten years.

Dan Pink is the author of "A Whole New Mind -- Moving From the Information Age to the Conceptual Age".  In this amazing book Dan describes why many of the "left brain" jobs are moving to India and Asia (outsourced) and why "right brain" jobs (jobs requiring creativity, non-linear thinking, etc.) are going to soon become more valuable here in the USA. 

This book may change the way you look at the world.  It did for me.

"One of those rare books that marks a turning point."
-- Seth Godin
"I was moved and disturbed and exhiliarated all at once."
-- Tom Peters

After reading the book I contacted Dan to setup an interview because I wanted to Awholenewmind_1get his take on how this coming shift will effect teams.  We had a great conversation and I recorded it for your listening pleasure.

Listen to the 34 minute audio interview - click the link below (mp3 file)
Download danpink_mp3_sm.mp3

Behind the curtain: Tom Heck interviewed by Anita Law

Thursday, June 2 · Comments (1) Comments

Today I was interviewed by Anita Law of  Anita is an author and coach who has put together a series of live audio interviews entitled "Five Who Thrive: Getting the Life And Business You Want"

Anita has been a subscriber to my e-newsletter (now e-updates) for a long time and has been following my online career.  She asked me to speak about how I made the shift from leading live in-person team and leadership development workshops to what I'm doing now at - - using technology to train thousands of people around the world AND having a great life in the process. 

I offer a "behind the curtain" look at my life and business. 

Download tomheck_mp3_sm.mp3

Influencing with Integrity -- an interview with Genie Laborde

Thursday, May 12 · Comments (0) Comments

Genie Laborde is fun and she happens to have a PhD, is a distinguished communications consultant to major corporations in the US and abroad and wrote a book entitled "Influencing With Integrity" which has sold over 200,000 copies and has been translated into five languages.   Genie has trained thousands of people from all over the world how to become more effective communicators and influencers.  She has even created an amazing web-based training program that teaches you how to become a master influencer (and you know how much I like web-based training!).

Today I had the great pleasure of interviewing Genie about how to influence people with integrity.  I thought this was an important topic because the most successful team leaders (and team facilitators) are masterful at influencing people.

But how do you influence without manipulating?  Listen to this interview and learn how. 
Download genie_laborde_mp3_sm.mp3

Check out Genie's blog HERE

Thanks to Coach Barbara Brady for introducing me to Genie Laborde.

SmartMatch Alliances -- Audio Interview with Judy Feld and Ernest Oriente

Wednesday, May 4 · Comments (0) Comments

Today I had the great pleasure of interviewing two people who are truly "possibility thinkers".  There names are Judy Feld and Ernest Oriente and they are master business coaches. 

Judy and Ernest are experts in the area of alliance building and in this 30 minute interview, they share some key insights from their book "SmartMatch Alliances"

Learn what an alliance is, how to assess your alliance-ability, determine your current and target "PINS", where to look for high potential alliance partners and more. 

As someone involved in the world of teambuilding, you need to become a master alliance builder.  Judy and Ernest teach an approach that produces a win for all concerned (producing truly synergistic relationships). 

As you listen, note how many times Judy and Ernest mention "community".  Building alliances is all about supporting your community.

Click on the link below to listen to the interview:

Download judyfeldernestoriente_mp3_sm.mp3

A Teachable Moment -- an interview with Michelle Cummings

Tuesday, April 12 · Comments (2) Comments

The teambuilding activity is over.  The group is circled up and looking at you.  It's time to debrief - - to help the group make sense of what just happened and apply lessons "back in the real world".  I call this "debriefing"while others might call it processing or reviewing or reflection.

When I started in the field of experiential learning, it was the debriefing that gave me the greatest challenge.  Learning how to lead the activities was a breeze compared to debriefing.  Whenever I observed a skilled leader work with a group in the debrief session I thought I was witnessing magic.

Michellecummings_1 This is where Michelle Cummings steps in (that's Michelle in the picture).  She's the coauthor of a great new book entitled "A Teachable Moment -- A Facilitator's Guide to Activities for Processing, Debriefing, Reviewing and Reflection". 

On April 7, 2005 I interviewed Michelle about her book.  She offers some great insight on how to become a more effective facilitator of teams, especially when it comes to debriefing the activity. 

Listen to the 30-minute interview here (mp3 file).
Download michelle_cummings_mp3_sm.mp3