'More Than Just Fun' Workshop with Mark Collard - 26 July 2013 in Durham, NH

An Outrageously Fun, Professional Development Workshop for Teachers, Outdoor Educators & Recreation Staff

Friday 26 July 9:00am-4:00pm in Durham, New Hampshire!

CLICK HERE to register.

  • Learn stacks of new activities which build confidence, team-skills and well-being
  • Learn how to engage your student & adult learners immediately
  • Discover why your ice-breakers aren't working
  • Experience first-hand a simple three step progamming model
  • Explore critical 'soft-skills' to improve your group & activity leadership
  • Bonus subscription to playmeo.com to access 220+ group games & activities online

Mark Collard, one of Australia's foremost adventure educators, author of two top-selling activity books, international Project Adventure trainer & founder of playmeo, is coming to the UNH Browne Center (USA) for one day only. The IATF supports the good work Mark Collard is doing in the world. Everyone in the IATF community is encouraged to attend Mark's amazing workshop! 

UNH Browne Center, Durham, NH

Friday 26 July 9:00am-4:00pm

CLICK HERE to register.

Mark guarantees that his workshop WILL be one of the best & most enjoyable professional development programs you'll ever do! Or, you don't pay.

Boston Fans Sing National Anthem

We are stronger together. 

We must rise above the fear and ignorance that produces violence.

Our work as teamwork facilitators is all about raising consciousness. It's all about bringing more love to this world.

I love this video showing fans at a Boston Bruins event singing the National Anthem a couple of days after the bombing tragedy in Boston.


IATF recognized as a top 100 leadership site

MastersinLeadership.org has just published a list of 100 Exemplary Sites for Future Leaders, and International Association of Teamwork Facilitators has been included!

The sites on the list are all great resources for people already in leadership positions, or those that are seeking a leadership role at a business.

MastersinLeadership.org strives to provide readers with useful information on leadership education and career opportunities, and this list is a further extension of that mission.

The full list of exemplary sites is available HERE.

Leadership, Teamwork and the "Generation Global"

Many Boomers in management and supervisory roles have expressed the challenges of leading "Gen-Y" and "Millennials" (click here).

Some are calling the newest generation to enter the work for "Globals" and National Public Radio has an interesting report on this generation.  CLICK HERE to access the free recording.

Are you wondering how to lead this generation? Motivation wont' work.  This generation is all about INSPIRATION.  Do you know the difference between "motivation" and "inspiration"? Your success and the success of your team/organization will depend on your understanding of this distinction.  Read about the "Inspiration Economy" in my open letter at the IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program website.

Globals_1Jennifer Larr (center), 24, is seen here in Rwanda at the Gashora Girls Academy where she was a teacher in 2011. Larr is part of a new generation of young adults focusing on travel, studying abroad and global experiences.


"They understand this idea of a shared fate, or a linked fate. That somehow, what happens to somebody in Mumbai may have an effect on me in West Los Angeles."
- Franklin Gilliam, dean, UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Today is we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here in the United States.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Dr. King.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broad conerns of all humanity.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the one hand, we are called to play the good smaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway.  True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.  It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Breakthrough Leadership with Brian Biro -- Amazing Live Workshop on January 24, 2012


I'm so excited to announce the 5th Annual Lessons In Leadership main event! 

The date is Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at the magnificent, brand new Kimmel Arena at UNCA.  Registration and Networking is from 5:00 to 6:00 with the program from 6:15 to 8:45. 

The speaker for this special 5th anniversary event is America's Breakthrough Coach, Brian Biro delivering BREAKTHROUGH LEADERSHIP! 

Brian is an amazing teacher of team and leadership skills and is on the faculty here at the IATF.

When we hear…we forget.  When we SEE…we're more likely to remember.  But when we DO, we UNDERSTAND! 

This will be a one-of-a-kind event that will move you out of the stands and into the game!

It is unlike any seminar or presentation anywhere for the unequaled engagement, energy, focus, and value.

Brian has delivered more than 1,250 events around the world to companies like Lockheed Martin, Starbucks, Staples, Microsoft, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Verizon, AT&T, Southwest Airlines, the University of Notre Dame, UCLA, TIAA-CREF, AFLAC, Allstate, and hundreds of others reaching  more than half a million participants. He was also recently named one of the 100 Most Inspirational Graduates of the UCLA Graduate School of Business in honor of their 75th Anniversary. He has has written nine books including bestseller Beyond Success.

Brian's presentation on Breakthrough Leadership will leave you six-feet off the ground ready to create lasting breakthroughs in your life, health, business, and spirit!  AND, because he speaks exclusively for organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, this  is the only PUBLIC event Brian will do in 2012!

REGISTER  NOW  at www.wncleaders.com

Cost is only $20/person

Every cent goes to charities including MANNA Food Bank, the YMCA of WNC Healthier Communities Campaign, and the UNCA Scholarship fund.

This event will be held at the brand new Kimmel Arena on the campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville. It is truly state-of-the-art! During the networking time from 5:00 to 6:00 the concession stands will be open, so you can enjoy a delicious and easy dinner right there PLUS there is plenty of easy parking!

When companies bring Brian Biro in to speak they invest upwards of $20,000 for facility, speakers fees, and AV.  This same quality of experience is yours for $20 on January 24th.

We encourage you to make the most of this opportunity and BRING YOUR ENTIRE TEAM!!  This year's event will have enormous value for you personally and professionally.  By the time you leave the arena that night you will understand that no matter your job title or position, you are a leader…the CEO of your own life…and will be inspired and crystal clear that you have the potential to elevate you and those around you every single day.  

REGISTER  NOW  at www.wncleaders.com

Cost is only $20/person

IATF President Tom Heck will be there and would love to connect with you at the event.

Systemic Shame -- What does Penn State have to teach us about organizatonal culture?

Brene Brown, Ph.D. has a great post on her blog about what the recent events at Penn State have to teach us about shame and organizational culture.

When the culture of an organization mandates that it is more important to protect the reputation of a system and those in power than it is to protect the basic human dignity of individuals, you can be certain that shame is systemic, money drives ethics, and accountability is dead. This is true in corporations, nonprofits, universities, governments, churches, schools, families, and sports programs. If you think back on any major scandal fueled by cover-ups, you'll see this pattern.

Read the full post HERE.


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Teaching Teamwork at the North Carolina Youth Giving Summit


IATF member and good friend Eric Rowls invited me to present two leadership development workshops at the recent North Carolina Youth Giving Summit.  The video above is a news spot on TV about the event.

Eric is the president of Leading To Change and also heads up the North Carolina Youth Giving Network.

Eric and his inspired team are doing amazing work with youth and those who work with youth. Eric has surrounded himself with outstanding people which makes for events that run smoothly and are high energy.

Eric and his team are experts at "production" - - the music, lighting, balloons, signs, check-in, handouts, gifts for participants, food, name tags, snacks, seating, etc.  When you walk into a Leading To Change event you immediately know you're about to experience something special.

In the above video from the TV news crew you'll see me leading a game involving tennis balls - - I call this game "Tennis Ball Madness" and I used it to help the students learn what "lose-lose", "win-lose", and "win-win" feel like.  I've led this same game with a wide variety of groups (corporate groups, nonprofits, health care, educators, students, military).  The game is a powerful learning opportunity.

Click on the link below to download lead-it-yourself directions to the game:

Download TennisBallMadness

Watch the instructional video of the game here:

Inspiring Story of Teamwork: The 9-11 Boatlift

Tom Hanks narrates the epic story of the 9/11 boatlift that evacuated half a million people from the stricken piers and seawalls of Lower Manhattan.

BOATLIFT premiered on September 8th at the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Summit: Remembrance/Renewal/Resilience in Washington. The Summit kicked off a national movement to foster community and national resilience in the face of future crises. See www.road2resilience.org to become a part of the campaign to build a more resilient world.

Thank you to IATF member Rabbi Shmuly Rothman for pointing us to this video.


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"The 12 Hidden Laws of Performance" by Donald MacNaughton

12hiddenlaws My friend Donald MacNaughton has written a new book entitled "The 12 Hidden Laws of Performance".

If you want to get the inside story (literally) on how to perform like a champion in work and life, then check this book out.

Don works with top athletes and high-achievers and has been producing amazing results for the last twenty years.

He's finally put his discoveries as one of the worlds top "Sports Shrinks" down in a book that will show you how to perform like an Olympian at a time when it really counts. 

The book includes a stack of premium bonuses for less than the price of a coffee and a magazine.

I met Don a few years back when we were both speakers at a business building event in Asheville, North Carolina.  I discovered Don's expertise in Neuro Lingquistic Programming (NLP) and his passion for sports performance.  I'm a big fan of NLP and have played competitive team sports for most of my life.  We've been friends ever since.

Check out Don's work at Zoned In Performance.

Leadership and a Plane Crash

Remember the US Airways Flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson River?  Can  you imagine what it must have been like to hear the captain say "Brace for impact."?  Ric Elias was on that flight and in this five minute video from TED Ric shares the three things he learned that day. 

I'm sharing this video with you because I want you to think about what is most important to you.

How would an experience like Ric's change the way you show up as a leader?


9 year old girl is a leader in her community

We here at the IATF are big fans of the Go-Giver principles. While speaking with my good friend Tim Sinatra today he shared the story of a 9-year-old girl who is a living example of the Go-Giver principles in action.

Tim is the exec at the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties (Oregon) and one of his club members is Alyssa "Lulu" Garvey.  Allysa was given $50 by her grandmother as a gift and then challenged to raise more money with it and donate that money to charity.  

Lulu Allysa got to work.  She started selling cupcakes and the money started to roll in.  Allysa converted the $50 gift into $5,600 which she donated to the Health and Dental Services Center of the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.

Read the full story HERE.

Make a donation HERE to the Boys & Girls Club and help Allysa help more kids.


Turns out Allysa is a great public speaker!  Check it out!


Human Towers -- teamwork example

TARRAGONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 05:  A casteller of...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Here is an amazing example of teamwork in action.

This video was shot in Tarragona, Spain.  Teams gather every two years to see who can build the highest most intricate human castles. 

Notice how there are men, women and children all working together for a common goal. 

How high is your team willing to reach?

What risks are involved in your team's journey?

What is the level of commitment among team members?


Casteller from Mike Randolph on Vimeo.

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NY Times: "competitiveness will be more about organizing relationships than amassing force"

In the January 24, 2011 issue of the NY Times, David Brooks shares his thoughts on what it means for the United States to remain competitive in the global economy.  Two of the paragraphs literally jumped off the page for me:

In the 20th century, America was the Big Dog nation. We had more money, more resources and more skilled labor, and we could outcompete our rivals by dominating the inputs and the outputs — by pouring in more talent, greater investments and more resources.

In the 21st century, the U.S. will no longer be the Big Dog. Human capital will be more broadly dispersed. There will be an array of affluent nations fully engaged in the global economy. Therefore, competitiveness will be more about organizing relationships than amassing force. To thrive, America will have to be the crossroads nation where global talent congregates and collaborates.

Brooks is right on target.

What all of us know who work with teams and teach teamwork is that relationships are the foundation of high performing teams.  Relationships make teams and organizations competitive.

Before the world became flat, leaders didn't need to focus on relationships so much.  We were competing with organizations inside our borders.  Organizations could remain competitive simply by buying the latest technology (phone, fax, computer, etc.).  Then the cost of technology dropped so low that a teenager with a $200 netbook could compete with some of the largest companies on the planet.

The landscape has changed.

Money alone no longer gives you the competitive edge.

Here's how you stay competitive in today's flat world:  become masterful at building and leading inspired teams.

We are now in the "inspiration economy" - - our economic success is determined by our ability to (A) be personally inspired and (B) inspire others.

The path to becoming an inspired leader is here:  Leader As Coach Fast Track Program

Video Message # 1 -- The team and leadership development shift felt around the world

What is the # 1 team and leadership development shift happening in the world right now? 

Find out in this 5-minute video message from Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF.

OPPORTUNITY:  The live 7-week IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program starts on March 23, 2010.  This $695 program is FREE for all IATF members.  Join the IATF today and receive all member benefits.

"Lessons In Leadership" workshop in Asheville, NC

The Western North Carolina Lessons In Leadership group will be hosting a fantastic evening training event in Asheville, North Carolina (headquarters of the IATF) on January 21, 2010.

The theme will be Leadership 2010: Accelerating Results in Uncertain Times.

The featured presenters are nationally-acclaimed leadership coach and motivational speaker CHIP MADERA, and GEORGE FLEMING, whose Personal Transformation workshop at Lessons in Leadership 2009 was a huge hit!  Read about their presentations here.

In keeping with the Lessons in Leadership concept of "giving back to the community," both presenters and many other people involved in organizing the event have donated their time and talents free of charge which means you can attend this amazing world-class leadership training for a low $25 per person (discounts for groups).

Space is limited so please register now!

Association for Experiential Education -- Regional Conferences Spring 2010

AEE_logo The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) offers regional conferences each spring.  I've attended AEE regional conferences and have presented at them as well.  There are always great workshops and great people to learn from.

From the AEE website:

AEE sponsors a variety of events for experiential educators, practitioners and students from around the world to come together in a supportive community with the goal of promoting, defining, developing, and applying the theories and practices of experiential education.

AEE conferences are designed to help you to develop professionally, find employment or employees, learn valuable new strategies and skills to integrate into your work, and develop lasting personal and professional relationships.

The conferences take place in 8 regions of North America during March and April.

CLICK HERE for details and links.

Free IATF membership benefits Q&A call

Is membership in the IATF right for you?

Will you benefit from enrolling in the IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program which starts next week?  This course is normally $800 but free if you join on or before Sept. 4.

Come to this call on Wednesday to get all your questions answered about IATF membership benefits and the Leader As Coach Fast Track Program.

A special joining incentive will be announced during the call.

CLICK HERE to register. 

Call Details:


IATF membership benefits Q&A call


Wednesday September 2, 2009
starts at 12 pm Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs 60 minutes

Call Leader

Tom Heck, IATF President & Founder


Free. No charge.

Register Here

CLICK HERE to register.  It's free.

If you join the IATF on or before September 4 you’ll save money AND have the opportunity to enroll in the IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program for free.

I look forward to having you join us!

Tom Heck
President & Founder
International Association of Teamwork Facilitators
[email protected]
(828) 348-4677

Association of Experiential Education -- 37th International Conference in Montreal

Imagine a team skills workshop that involves sitting and listening to an "expert" talk about how to be a good team.  You might even hear this in the workshop "Please open your books and read the section on shared leadership between pages 129 and 157."

Now imagine a team skills workshop that involves engaging, hands-on learning exercises that create openings for dynamic and productive conversations that build on the collective wisdom of the participants - - all guided by a skilled facilitator who helps the group learn how to apply what they've experienced.

Which one of these workshops would you prefer to attend?

I'm going to guess your answer is workshop # 2 where you'll learn through EXPERIENCE.

All of the great teamwork facilitators understand the value of experiential education.

AEE_logo If you're new to experiential education then you need to know about the Association of Experiential Education (AEE).  This organization supports the work of experiential learning practitioners worldwide.  You'll find many AEE members who are teamwork facilitators.  I have presented at many AEE conferences on topics involving team and leadership development - - usually sharing strategies, tactics and tools for teaching team skills experientially. 

AEE is holding their international conference in the beautiful city of Montreal between October 29 and November 1, 2009.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the conference.

IATF members Michael Cardus of Create-Learning.com and Brian Capron of UNC Charlotte Venture Program will be leading workshops at the event.  Read the list of great workshops and workshop presenters HERE.

Teambuilding Games in Nepal

I just received this email from a subscriber in Nepal (permission to share was granted).

Hello Tom

Excuse my informality. But I feel I know you so well after a year or more of your invaluable advice and my use of your book "Teambuilding Puzzles" and other stuff.

I thought you'd like to know how I've been using your "stuff".

Nepal_1 I am English.  I have aquired a job in a school in a small town here in Nepal as Progams Director.  This involves teaching just a few conversation classes to the higher grades, but more importantly I do teacher training and teacher assessments.

Using your skills I try to introduce both students and teachers to new ways of thinking by giving them problem solving exercises from your book and also to get them to do critical thinking "Out Of The Box".

They LOVE IT!!!!

Both students and teachers have never seen anything like the way I teach.  The teacher training sessions are looked forward to instead of thought of as a dreary and mandatory part of the job.  The teachers are improving their professionalism in leaps and bounds and the students actually enjoy it!

In the next couple of months I will be organizing a Teachers Team Building Day based on your programs.  I have no doubt it will be an eye-opening experience for them and one that will make them work better as a team.

It's sad that at the moment I'm unable to come to any of your workshops, but it's my one ambition to some day be able to do so. 

Of course, you could always come here to do some workshops?!  You'd REALLY love it here. You can see the peaks of the Himalayas as you walk to work every day, and meet some of the warmest people you'll ever meet in your life!


Brian Stokes

Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of my students, my teachers, and above all...ME.

Who Is Responsible For Your Training & Development?

Here's a true story that raises the question of "Who is responsible for your training and development?"

You be the judge.  What should this team leader do?

True story:  An IATF newsletter subscribers just wrote me and really wants to participate in our new leadership program called the Leader As Coach Fast Track Program.

This manager asked her supervisor if she can participate and the answer came back:

“No, you can’t participate.  We don’t have the money.” 

Then, the manager sends me an email saying:

“Much as I want to, I can’t enroll because my boss says we don’t have the money.”

How would you coach this manager?  What should she do?

Here’s how I responded:

Dear Manager --

It’s unfortunate that your employer doesn’t have the money to invest in your training.  However, the person who is ultimately responsible for your training and development is YOU. 

Now is not the time to place your future in the hands of your supervisor (she’s too busy watching out for herself her limiting beliefs are blocking your potential). 

When you allow your supervisor to determine whether you participate or not you’re abdicating your power and allowing someone else to decide how your future is going to play out.

If ever there was a time to investment in YOUR development IT IS NOW.  Leadership development is THE best investment you’ll ever make.

Why?  Because you’re replaceable.  You’re downsize-able. 

Investing in your leadership development is like investing in your job security. 

The people who will ALWAYS be seen as more valuable in an organization are the ones who demonstrate strong leadership - - the people who make things happen.

Strong leaders know how to make the most out of any situation and they know how to inspire a team to succeed regardless of what CNN is yelling at us.

Strong leaders become invaluable to organizations in uncertain times.

Becoming a Strong Leader

The Leader As Coach Fast Track Program is GUARANTEED to make you a stronger leader. 

That’s right -- GUARANTEED -- or your money back!

Are the results you’ll achieve worth your investment of money, time and energy?  You be the judge.  If you’re not satisfied I’ll refund your money.

If you think you can put this decision off then I would challenge your thinking.  NOW is the time organizations need strong leaders.  If you wait to invest in your own leadership development they may find someone to replace you who HAS made the investment and then...

Face it.  Challenging times call for strong leaders. 

A leader is a person who LEADS!.

Who are you?

Advanced Facilitation Skills 2-Day Workshop

My friends Scott Winter of Learning Change and Barry Rellaford of The Speed Of Trust have teamed up to create an Advanced Facilitation Skills 2-Day Workshop to be held September 19-20, 2008 in Chico, California.

The Advanced Facilitation Skills Workshop provides the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills necessary for effectively facilitating individuals and groups to achieve better results.

Scott and Barry are accomplished facilitators and fantastic trainers. 

I highly recommend this program.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Team Hoyt: Inspirational Father & Son Team

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races.  And if they're not in a marathon they are in a triathlon.  Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.

It's a remarkable record of exertion -- all the more so when you consider that Rick can't walk or talk.

For the past twenty five years or more Dick, who is 65, has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines.  When Dick runs, Rick is in a wheelchair that Dick is pushing.  When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike.  When Dick swims, Rick is in a small but heavy, firmly stabilized boat being pulled by Dick.

At Rick's birth in 1962 the umbilical cord coiled around his neck and cut off oxygen to his brain.  Dick and his wife, Judy, were told that there would be no hope for their child's development.

"It’s been a story of exclusion ever since he was born. When he was eight months old the doctors told us we should just put him away — he’d be a vegetable all his life, that sort of thing. Well those doctors are not alive any more, but I would like them to be able to see Rick now."

What are some lessons here for teams and those who lead teams?

  • When things look tough you still get to choose how you will respond.
  • 100% dedication to your teammates can be an inspiration to others.
  • Listening to the well-meaning advice of "experts" will not necessarily give you the life you desire.

Here's a heart warming video of Team Hoyt that's been viewed on YouTube over 8 million times.

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

Teamwork Comparison: Toyota vs. Ford

Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River .

Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.

A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.

It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower.

There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.

The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.

Sadly, The End.

Here's something else to think about:

Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.

Toyota has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US.

The last quarter's results:

Toyota makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

Ford folks are still scratching their heads.

Spiritual Movie Will Help Us Connect And Advance World Peace - - Mark your calendars now for April 6, 2008 peace vigil

I've been teaching teambuilding since 1986 and if there is one clear truth I've seen demonstrated over and over again it's this...

We are amazing creative beings and when we come together (work together as one) our power is magnified ten fold.

TeachMeTeamwork.com member Niek van Duivenbooden in the Netherlands points us to an amazing and delightful movie event to be held in venues around the world on the weekend of April 5-6, 2008.

Here's what the movie website says:

For the first time a major spiritual film release is being combined with a worldwide prayer vigil focused on shifting the planetary consciousness.

Join millions of people from every corner of the globe in learning the most powerful manifestation tool in the history of the world. Then on one momentous day we'll use the code to promote peace and compassion for all beings through over 1000 gatherings worldwide.

This is the chance for humanity to use the Law of Attraction to create peace on the deepest level.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

"Beat The Bitch" -- How a presidential candidate botched a leadership opportunity and revealed his weakened "Personal Foundation"

The woman said something disgusting and the leader let it slide and it was all captured on video.

Here's how it played out...

Presidential candidate John McCain was in South Carolina at a gathering of political supporters and a woman stands up and asks the senator,

"How do we beat the bitch?'

The woman was referring to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

McCain, along with the rest of the group, laughed out loud at the question.  McCain even said it was an "excellent question".

Watch the video below:

McCain missed a great opportunity to lead.

McCain should have stepped right up to that woman and said "That is TOTALLY unacceptable.  You will NOT use that type of language in my presence.  Referring to women as bitches is wrong and I demand an apology right now."

Was McCain's response clouded by his need for support (money and votes) of the people at that gathering?

How will you respond when someone you're leading says something incredibly disgusting and everyone in the room starts to laugh?

If you don't have a strong "Personal Foundation" you'll be susceptible to the same inappropriate response McCain had (trying to laugh it off, etc.).

A Personal Foundation is much like the foundation of a building.  If the foundation is weak then whatever you build on it will be unstable and unreliable.  Build the foundation strong and you've set the stage for a building that will stand the test of time.

A Personal Foundation consists of:

  • Restoring Integrity
  • Extending your Boundaries
  • Raising your Standards
  • Re-orienting around your Values

The part of your Personal Foundation that will protect you most in these situations is clarity of Values AND orienting your entire life around your top value(s).

If you aren't clear about your top values and you haven't oriented your life around them, your life will become compartmentalized - - you'll find yourself saying one thing and then, when your guard is down (and the video camera is rolling), you'll say another.

Compartmentalization happens by not having great clarity about your top values AND not orienting your entire life around those values.

Compartmentalization leads to duplicity and duplicity is toxic.

When you first identify (clarify) your top values and then orient your entire life around those values, you'll see these benefits:

  • Easier goal setting.  Your goals will be in sync with what's most important to you.
  • Developing deep clarity.  You'll free yourself from being torn between things.
  • Experiencing FLOW more often.  You'll enjoy your work and the different areas of your life will flow together.  No more compartmentalization.
  • More energy.  Releasing goals and projects that drain you and don't express your values.
  • Regret free living.  When you're true to your core values you have no regrets.

You can strengthen your Personal Foundation and upgrade your leadership skills.  Learn more HERE

Want to learn more about the McCain "How do we beat the bitch" comment?

CLICK HERE to read this great article by Debra Condren in the Huffington Post.

CLICK HERE to view a fascinating 20-minute video of Bill Moyers interviewing Kathleen Hall Jamieson on women in power.


Teamwork News: Stadium fooled into "We Suck" - - Leaders lacking integrity

Here's a news item that speaks to how easy it can be to fool people.

A small group of high school students play a prank on visiting fans during a football game.  Be sure to watch the video clip below.

This small group of students passed out small (8.5 x 11 inch) pieces of paper to fans sitting on the opposing  side of the field.  The fans thought the signs would spell out something positive ("Go Darby") but instead said "We Suck".

This small group of students was not operating in integrity and yet they were able to quickly and easily fool a few hundred people because only they lacked the "big picture".  Had the fans known what they were doing they would have never participated in the prank.

It's easier for  leaders who aren't operating in integrity to fool larger and larger numbers of people because so many people are in a fog.  This fog can be caused by many things but one of the biggest culprits is our seemingly never ending desire for  more TV that is the equivalent of junk food for the brain.

TV distracts us an makes us more susceptible to being fooled, much like the fans at the football game were fooled.  When we're distracted it becomes harder to think about the big picture or what's really important.

Al_gore Al Gore talks a lot about this in his must read book entitled "The Assault On Reason".

Read a book review of "The Assault On Reason" by the NY Times HERE

NPR interviews Al Gore about this book.  Listen HERE

Would you or your team members like to develop the skills needed to lead with high integrity?  Take a look at my new 12-month leadership development program:  the Emerging Leaders Coaching Program

New Teambuilding Game and 2 great newsletters to recommend

Michellecummings My friend Michelle Cummings at Training-Wheels.com is interviewed in Thiagi's newsletter.  Michelle is an expert facilitator and teacher of teamwork activities and is the author of several teambuilding games books.

CLICK HERE for the interview.

CLICK HERE for the great teambuilding game Michelle shares - - it's from her book "Playing With a Full Deck"

When you sign up for Michelle's newsletter she sends you 9 free teambuilding games from Playing With a Full Deck.

I also recommend Thiagi's free monthly newsletter.  Thiagi is a masterful teacher of games and how to use them in a training situation.  I always learn something new and valuable.  You can sign up HERE.  Look at the current issue and back issues of Thiagi's newsletter HERE.

Creative way to start a team and leadership development conference

Have you ever attended a workshop or conference that was really boring?  I have, which is why I try to start my events a little differently just so everyone knows they need to expect the unexpected.

The video clip below is from a couple of years ago when I had designed a 4-day leadership conference for employees in programs receiving funding from the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention (NC DJJDP).

Famed youth development expert Elbert Hargrave opens the conference doing his best to be VERY boring and all in attendance wonder what they've gotten themselves into.

And then the music starts and things get interesting.

What's crazy is that it took three days of preparation to pull off this 2 minute stunt.  When I told the conference facility what I wanted to do they just looked at me like I was crazy.  Thanks to Matt McCoy for keeping me safe on the roof.

At the end of the clip you'll see me call for "back up". The person on the other walkie-talkie is African drumming teacher Tom Harris who works at Inner Harbour near Atlanta. Tom Harris rolled into the room and had everyone standing up playing "boom whackers" (a percussion instrument). Then master games teacher Jim Cain took over and led 60 minutes of fun icebreakers. By the end of the evening the group was laughing and acting like best of friends.

Teamwork & Creativity -- How to survive in the new global economy

Michael Cardus of Create-Learning.com points us to a powerful 7 minute video clip with a clear message:  there are BIG changes on the horizon.

Because I look at the world through a teambuilding lens, I see this video as a wake up call which says teamwork and creativity will keep your team/business competitive. 

If you haven't done it yet, you need to read Dan Pink's book entitled "A Whole New Mind".  Dan's book will help put this video into perspective and more importantly he tells you what to do so you won't become a dinosaur.

Top Five Reasons Why Most Teambuilding Events Are A Waste Of Time

Alex Kjerulf at the Chief Happiness Officer blog has a nice post entitled "Top Five Reasons Why Most Teambuilding Events Are A Waste Of Time"

I like # 3 of the top 5...

3: People learn less when they’re competing

Studies show that we learn less when we compete and more when we cooperate. Here’s an example from education:

In a comprehensive review of 245 classroom studies that found a significant achievement difference between cooperative and competitive environments, David Johnson and Roger Johnson of the University of Minnesota reported that 87 percent of the time the advantage went to the cooperative approach.

In visiting classrooms where cooperative learning is used, I like to ask students to describe the experience in their own words. One ten-year-old boy thought a moment and replied, “It’s like you have four brains.” By contrast, a competitor’s single brain often shuts off when given no reason to learn except to triumph over his or her classmates.

- Alfie Kohn (Source)

Anyone who quotes Alfie Kohn is OK by me. 

Teamwork is everywhere - - even among plants!

Science Daily reports on new research which reveals that plants have their own chat systems that they can use to warn each other.

...plants cannot be considered boring and passive organisms that just stand there waiting to be cut off or eaten up. Many plants form internal communications networks and are able to exchange information efficiently.

Many herbal plants form networks via runners between plants which allow the plants to communicate with each other.

But what do plants want to chat to each other about?

...clover plants warn each other via the network links if enemies are nearby. If one of the plants is attacked by caterpillars, the other members of the network are warned via an internal signal. Once warned, the intact plants strengthen their chemical and mechanical resistance so that they are less attractive for advancing caterpillars.

Thanks to this early warning system, the plants can stay one step ahead of their attackers. Experimental research has revealed that this significantly limits the damage to the plants.

Read the complete Science Daily article HERE.

What is the lesson for your team?  Strengthen your communication systems!  Pay attention to how you communicate and do everything you can to grow in this area.

The "Certified Communicator Program" is a fantastic tool you can use to help guide you and your team to grow and strengthen your communication skills. 

There are 100 points to the Certified Communicator Program and it focuses on the following 10 key areas:

  1. How well do you come across? - - These are how others would likely describe your communication style
  2. How well do you listen? - - How well do you hear what is being said, and not said?
  3. How well do you articulate? - - How well are you understood?
  4. What do you converse about? - - What do you focus on and talk about with others?
  5. How well do you converse? - - How often do you have fluid, two-way conversations?
  6. How authentic do you sound? - - How real are you and how real do you sound?
  7. How big are you? - - How flexible, respectful and generous are you?
  8. How mature are you? - - What does your communication style tell others about you?
  9. How free are you of communication blocks? - - What's holding back your effectiveness as a communicator?
  10. How effective are you? - - How good are you at producing results?

The Certified Communicator Program is a free resource to all enrolled in the Emerging Leaders Coaching Program. 

Teamwork Raises Everyone's Game - - so says The Wall Street Journal

How does teamwork impact the bottom line?

Who better to answer that question than The Wall Street Journal?

An article from the November 7, 2005 issue says research from a variety of settings points to the fact that how a team works together will determine their level of success - - even in fields thought of as dominated by individual "stars".

Individual stars?

Yes, you know who I'm talking about.  Like the "star" heart surgeon.  Surely you want the star heart surgeon to be the one digging around in your chest.  Right?


The research points to the fact that "the death rates from similar procedures performed by the same surgeon can vary as much as fivefold" depending on the surgical TEAM the heart surgeon is working with.

The article says:

...the results suggest that the surgeon's interactions with anesthesiologists, nurses and technicians are crucial to the outcome of the surgery. "The argument has always been that if you want to get something done well, you go to the best surgeon," he says. "Our findings suggest that the skills of the team, and of the organization, matter."

Even though teamwork has been a buzzword in management and business-school circles for years researchers say companies tend to focus recruiting efforts on a handful of stars. Focusing on assembling a groupof stars is a sure way to stay mediocre.  If you want your organization to excel then you focus on building TEAMWORK.

Read the WSJ article HERE.

Saltwater As Fuel - A US inventor may have discovered the answer to global energy wars

Inventor John Kanzius was looking for a cure for cancer and accidentally found a way to produce energy by burning saltwater.  He uses a radio frequency generator to release the hydrogen and oxygen in the saltwater to produce an intense flame.  Watch the video below.

The implications of this discovery are earth shattering - - or should I say earth saving.

Imagine a time in the near future when we fill up our cars with saltwater instead of gasoline.  Imagine all of the ecological disasters that could be avoided (no more super tankers filled with oil). 

How would the policies of the US change in the middle east?  How many wars would be avoided if gasoline was replaced by saltwater?

This invention by Kanzius reminds me of economist, entrepreneur and professor Paul Zane Pilzer wrote a book entitled "Unlimited Wealth - The Theory And Practice Of Economic Alchemy".  Pilzer suggests that because of technology, we have an unlimited number of resources. From the book:

For the past four hundred years, virtually all practitioners of the dismal science we call economics have agreed on one basic premise: namely that a society's wealth is determined by its supply of physical resources--its land, labor, minerals, water, and so on.  And underlying this premise has been another, even more profound, assumption--one supposedly so obvious that it is rarely mentioned: namely, that the entire world contains a limited amount of these physical resources.

This means, from an economic point of view, that life is what the mathematicians call a zero-sum game.  After all, if there are only limited resources, one person's gain must be another person's loss; the richer one person is, the poorer his neighbors must be.

Over the centuries, this view of the world has been responsible for innumerable wars, revolutions, political movements, government policies, business strategies, and possibly a religion or two.

Once upon a time, it may even have been true.  But not anymore.


The Italian Connection and the Hole Tarp Teambuilding Game

I received an email today from Jacopa Nicelli who lives in Italy.  Jacopa employs experiential learning exercises from TeachMeTeamwork.com in his training events.

My friend Dr. Jim Cain from the USA (he coauthored Teambuilding Puzzles with me) was in Italy not long ago and Jim taught a group of trainers the Hole Tarp Teambuilding Game from TeachMeTeamwork.com.

Jacopa and Jim got to talking and discovered the connection between Jim and myself.

Notice how Jim has different size holes in the tarp.  My directions suggest making all five holes the same size.  I do like the variation of placing different size holes because you can place different size balls on the tarp simultaneously (example: tennis ball and marble) - - the larger ball won't fall through all the holes but the small ball will.  Have you ever encountered a problem (hole) that seems bigger than other problems?


TeachMeTeamwork.com Referenced in Fortune Small Business Magazine

Anne_fisher Anne Fisher, a senior writer at Fortune Magazine, writes a column entitled "Ask FSB" for Fortune Small Business Magazine and she called me last month in reference to an article she was writing.  Anne wanted to know the story behind my moving to the number one position on Google for the phrase "teamwork coach".  If you pick up a copy of the March 2007 issue of Fortune Small Business you'll find mention of TeachMeTeamwork.com in Anne's column.  Thank you Anne!

Front Page of Google

When you Google the phrase "teambuilding game" you'll now find TeachMeTeamwork.com on the front page of the organic results. 

This is amazing and delightful because just a week ago TeachMeTeamwork.com could only be found on page 57 of Google's organic results.

What happens when you're listed on the first page of anything Google?  For one, I'm getting LOTS of newsletter signups which means I'm reaching LOTS more people which means I'm realizing my grand vision.

In a recent teleseminar I shared 4 key strategies I've been following to make my website remarkable.  You can download the recording of that teleseminar HERE.  Read what people have been saying about that teleseminar here.

R&D Team

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

I’m always working on several exciting projects at TeachMeTeamwork.com 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.

Milwaukee has Teams In Trouble

Yesterday I delivered the first ever "Teams In Trouble" workshop at a regional conference of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) in Milwaukee, WI.  The workshop is based on the popular teleclass series I've developed with my colleague Michael Goldman of FacilitationFirst.com.

Ron_mcmillanThe event was attended by approximately 100 full time trainers and was called a "Knowledge Summit".  The morning presenter was best selling author Ron McMillan (pictured) of VitalSmarts.com who is the coauthor of "Crucial Conversations" and "Crucial Confrontations".  Ron's presentation revealed some very useful skills in facing tough issues with people.  Ron was a humorous and lively presenter and he was thoroughly engaging plus he had a beautiful Power Point presentation (yeah, I'm a little envious).  We commiserated about missing our children's halloween parties. 

The lunch keynote speaker was Debra Schmidt whose topic was "The Power of Possibility Thinking".  I didn't get a chance to see Debra's presentation because I was meditating in my room (something I always do prior to delivering a presentation).  I did get a chance to visit with Debra before lunch and she is a super nice person who happens to be an accomplished wind surfer.

I was the third and final speaker of the day.  My Teams In Trouble workshop is designed to get people up and out of their seats, having fun learning through experiential activities.  I wrapped up my presentation with a piece on the power of intention and the Law of Attraction (more on this later).  A small group stayed after for an extra set of Power Point slides showing Dr. Emoto's amazing research with water crystals.

Tom_and_james_tIn the evening I visited with my good friend James T. Harris who is a remarkable speaker living in the Milwaukee area.  James and I are students of generational history and big fans of William Strauss and Neil Howe who coauthored a fascinating book entitled "The Fourth Turning".  We think we've figured out who the next president will be - - based on our understanding of the cycles of history (see The Fourth Turning) we predict it will be General Norman Schwarzkoph, Jr.  I hope James T will go into great detail at his blog as to how we came up with this prediction.  James and I met a month after 9/11 while helping our friend Laurie Beth Jones complete a home study video course for the Path Personal Mission Statement program.  We've been good friends ever since.

Fun Team Building Activities - - Enhancing Well-Being Through Connection

Earlier today I led a workshop at the Southeast Therapeutic Recreation Symposium entitled "Fun Team Building Activities - Enhancing Well-Being Through Connection".  The people who attend this type of symposium are usually members of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and they work in the field of therapeutic recreation.

I offered a fun, highly interactive and fast paced workshop for recreataion therapists who work with groups.  I have a strong background in using team building games as a therapeutic tool - - I worked in a wilderness theraphy program for 2.5 years and became a lead instructor.  I loved to use team building games in this environment to teach team and leadership skills.

My friend Dr. Ed Kesgen encouraged me to speak at this event.  Ed is a professor at Western Carolina University who teaches in the field of therapeutic recreation.  Ed is a great guy with an amazing amount of insight and knowledge to share about this field of study.  My hope is that Ed will start to blog so we can all benefit from his knowledge and passion.

NEWS FLASH! Blog update!
It's Monday November 8, 2005 and I just received a phone call from Rob Raynor of the symposium.  Turns out my workshop received the highest ratings at the symposium which means I won the "Ann James Award" which recognizes the outstanding speaker of the symposium.  The award requires excellence in session content, design, delivery, and impact.  Rob invited me to present the SAME workshop at the 2006 conference AND to deliver the closing keynote.  And ofcourse I accepted!  I hope you can come to the 2006 symposium to participate in this award winning presentation!


Teambuilding Games at an Orphanage in India

Images_1 A couple of months ago Rich Swannell called me from Pirth, Australia (Rich found me through a mutual friend).  He said he was headed to Southern India to begin an amazing project. 

Rich is teaching a hand picked group of children at the Hebron Children's Home to trade on the US stock market with the goal being to help make the orphanage and community self-sustaining financially.  This project will take years to see through to the end.

Rich is teaching the children how to work as an investment team and is using the resources at TeachMeTeamwork.com to help him learn how to teach in a memorable way.

A group is documenting this project and Rich sent me some video of one of the initial team training sessions. 

I had tears in my eyes as I watched these children participate in teambuilding activities taught to them by Rich who had learned them at TeachMeTeamwork.com.  This was one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. 

Listen to a 30 minute interview I did with Rich Swannell by clicking on the link below:

Download rich_swannell_mp3_sm.mp3

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Hebron Children's

Below you can view the video clip of the kids playing these games.

Do you have an inspirational story you'd like to share about how you're using teambuilding to change lives?  Please send me your story and I might just write about it in this blog.

List of Countries Served

TeachMeTeamwork.com has members in the following countries: 

  1. Albania
  2. Argentina
  3. Armenia
  4. Australia
  5. Austria
  6. Bahrain
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Barbados, West Indies
  9. Belgium
  10. Bermuda
  11. Bolivia
  12. Bosnia
  13. Botswana
  14. Bulgaria
  15. Brazil
  16. Brunei
  17. Canada
  18. China
  19. Chile
  20. Columbia
  21. Costa Rica
  22. Croatia
  23. Cyprus
  24. Czech Republic
  25. Denmark
  26. Dominican Republic
  27. Egypt
  28. Estonia
  29. Ethiopia
  30. Finland
  31. France
  32. Germany
  33. Ghana
  34. Greece
  35. Guatemala
  36. Haiti
  37. Honduras
  38. Hong Kong
  39. Hungary
  40. India
  41. Indonesia
  42. Iran
  43. Ireland
  44. Israel
  45. Italy
  46. Jamaica
  47. Japan
  48. Jordan
  49. Kazakhstan
  50. Kenya
  51. Kyrgyzstan
  52. Latvia
  53. Lebanon
  54. Lithuania
  55. Macau
  56. Malaysia
  57. Malta
  58. Mauritius
  59. Mexico
  60. Namibia
  61. Nepal
  62. Netherlands Antilles
  63. Netherlands
  64. New Zealand
  65. Nicaragua
  66. Nigeria
  67. Norway
  68. Pakistan
  69. Paraguay
  70. Peru
  71. Philippines
  72. Portugal
  73. Puerto Rico
  74. Romania
  75. Russia
  76. Rwandda
  77. Saudi Arabia
  78. Serbia & Montenegro
  79. Singapore
  80. Slovakia
  81. Slovenia
  82. South Africa
  83. South Korea
  84. Spain
  85. Sri Lanka
  86. St Kitts
  87. St. Lucia
  88. Sweden
  89. Switzerland
  90. Syrian Arab Republic
  91. Taiwan
  92. Thailand
  93. Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
  94. Turkey
  95. Uganda
  96. United Arab Emirates
  97. United Kingdom
  98. United States
  99. Uruguay
  100. Venezuela
  101. Vietnam
  102. Zimbabwe

Don't see your country on this list?  Send me an email and let me know what country you live in.

Would you like to become a member of TeachMeTeamwork.com?  Sign up here (it's free)