Archive for the ‘Team Building’ Category

Margaret Thatcher’s Passing Reminds World Of Her Team Building Abilities

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was an indisputably polarizing political figure in the UK. Her passing, however, reminds both proponents and critics of her policies how well she fostered consensus and utilised team building in her leadership approach.

There’s no doubt that Margaret Thatcher’s passing this week gave rise to a revisiting of her tenure as Prime Minister of the UK in the 1980s. Even three decades after the Thatcher era, there is little consensus over whether her domestic and international policies were helpful or hurtful to Great Britain. Just recently, with the rise of tensions in the EU and renewed wariness of Germany’s role in steering the euro through its fiscal crises, Thatcher’s position of Germany (she never trusted them — even post-WWII)  – as well as other international policy positions, are being debated and questioned. The same can be said for her domestic fiscal policies, which some believe have come to bear on the UK’s current fiscal issues.

However, a growing majority of Britons and citizens of the world alike see Thatcher’s legacy as a quintessential leader, as well as someone who knew how to team build at a time when the world remained perpertually poised on the precipice of World War III.

For Ronald Reagan and the United States, the ideologies between their own governmental system and that of the Soviet Union was clear-cut. However, in Europe, where Socialism began to take root in continental Europe, Ms. Thatcher had the daunting task of finding consensus between American policy and that of France, Germany, Italy, and other European players, while at the same time positioning the UK to succeed encouraging a hegemonic change in Russia. In the end, the players who brought about the end of the Soviet Era in Russia — Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II — could not have been a more disparate group of individuals and politicians. Yet, it can be argued that it was Thatcher’s leadership style that united this “team” of political players, and managed to bring the world out of the polemic cold war.

Big Four

Sadly, the only photo I could find of Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev & Pope John Paul II

So, what is the team building takeaway from Margaret Thatcher? Even if you’re a staunch member of the Labour Party and detest Thatcher for her economic approach, is there something to learn from her leadership style?

If anything, Thatcher teaches corporate leaders, executives, and managers the importance of identifying areas of consensus, and then doing what it takes to exploit those areas in order to gain in productivity and success. Whether a manager is managing a group of team members, or an executive is seeking to find a middle ground among his or her executive staff, the ability to find a common denominator is key to effective team building.

Managers often make the mistake of assuming that employees are all driven by the same goals. We’ve written several times here on the blog that this is simply not the case; even team players see their role in the team as a means to an end for their own individual goals. This being said, it is imperative that we as leaders in our own small corners of the world learn how to manage personalities and ideologies the way that Thatcher did. It is the first step in effective team building.

Thanks for reading our article! Are you looking toward team building for your corporate team? Be sure to contact Accolade on how we can help!

A-Z of Corporate Event Planning part 2

Friday, April 5th, 2013

school sports day 2

Here’s the second part of our A-Z list of some of the most important factors to consider when hosting a corporate event regardless of whether it is a small team building event or a large 1000+ delegate conference.

N – Numbers

Obviously it is important to work out early on how many delegates you want to attend your corporate event.  The number of invites will determine the type of venue you need and the scale of the catering required.

O – Outdoors

While British summers are known for their length or warmth, let this not deter you from considering an outdoor corporate event.  From fun family days to inflatable team building events, the great outdoors offers a vast variety of events that your team will enjoy.

P – Potential

Team building events offer your team the chance to show their true potential.  Often, doing the same job day in day can lead a person to not think outside of the box and showcase some of their skills.  A good team building event will help a person to stretch themselves and unearth some hidden talents.

Q – Quiz Shows

Quiz and game shows are great team building activities as well as superb ice breakers for larger corporate events such as company dinners or conferences.   Inclusive and fun, everyone enjoys a trip down memory lane playing a retro quiz show such as Blankety Blank or Play Your Cards.

R – Reward

Corporate and team building events can be hosted as rewards for your team’s hard work throughout the year.  Annual balls, Christmas parties and dinner dances are a great way to say thank you and have the added bonus of raising morale and increasing company loyalty.

S – Skillset

Team building events are an excellent way of discovering and capitalising on your teams skillsets.  Whether you need to focus on communication, time management or productivity, we can tailor a team building event to suit your exact business needs.

T – Team Building

Not only do team building events increase skillsets as mentioned in the previous point, they are also excellent business tools for improve working relationships.  Used to bring together different departments or to better harmonise existing teams, team building events help to break down any walls and have colleagues respecting each other and striving to help each other in their working goals.

U – Understanding

You need to understand the needs of your delegates and what they hope to get out of the event, and in turn we need to fully understand what you want to achieve from your corporate event.

V – Venue

Finding the perfect venue for your corporate event can be a time consuming task, particularly if you want to host your event in a different town or city.   Because we have a great working knowledge of venues across the country and overseas, we can find the perfect venue for your corporate event.

W – Working Relationships

Allowing colleagues or business acquaintances to network and mingle at your corporate event can only improve working relationships.   Providing areas where people can chat, meet each other and swap business cards will enhance business opportunities and allow colleagues to get to know each other better.

X – Xmas Party

Even April is not too soon to be thinking, and indeed booking, your Christmas party.  The best venues get snapped up very quickly in the year so if you want your 2013 Christmas party to be the one that everyone remembers you need to start preparing now.

Y – Yes

Yes is a positive word, and that is exactly what you want from your corporate event.  Embracing all that is positive about your company and your employees will have everyone on board and eager to listen to your company message.

Z – ZZZZs

Not something you want to see at your corporate event.  Make sure your event keeps everyone’s attention and doesn’t become dull and boring leading to delegates fighting the urge to catch a few zzzzs.  Conference fillers and energisers, along with a good mix of speakers will ensure that your event is a success.

What’s Your Company Story?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

event management for corporate eventsA team building event with a difference—our ‘What’s Your Company Story?’ team building event allows delegates to hone their storytelling skills in order to improve on other key areas needed to be successful in today’s business world.

Natural leaders tend to be great storytellers; they can deliver engaging and motivating stories that have their audiences eating out of their hands.   Good storytellers understand the importance of a powerful story, how it can inspire others or make them really think about a situation and how a powerful business message or mission statement can be delivered via a story.   However, to be a good storyteller you also need to be a good listener.   Listening to others gives you the cues to work with for your stories as well as the inspiration for your stories.

Great stories are passed on, delivered time and time again to new audiences who take it away with them and pass it on again.   But to become a great story you need great content, and it also needs an inspirational speaker to tell the story in an engaging and memorable way.

We believe that everyone has the potential to be a good storyteller; they simply need to polish the skills required in a fun and relaxed setting.   Creating a story, complete with characters that will hold the interest of the audience, and then delivering the story to an audience is an excellent way to get across a positive message, making the audience respond positively to the story and feel uplifted by it.

This type of team building event has many benefits for your business; not only will it help improve your teams’ communication skills it will also help to break down barriers, boost morale, encourage listening, and show leadership potential in delegates.

Our storytelling team building event will split your team up into small groups so they feel more secure practicing their storytelling technique.   We demonstrate just how effective storytelling can be in delivering positive and powerful messages and we help your team to harness the skills needed to become good storytellers themselves.   The individuals tell the story of your company as they see it through their eyes and each person’s story will help to reinforce the positive company message that others will want to hear and pass on.

Second Time Lucky for Sisters in the Dragons’ Den

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The moral of this week’s episode of Dragons’ Den has to be: “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”.

The show started off with a strange pitch from a horror writer who wanted to launch a business selling scary experiences—he got short shrift from most of the Dragons with the exception of Theo who inexplicably found his horror book (which he sat reading instead of listening to his pitch) hilarious.

Of course, this wasn’t the only bizarre pitch of the night; as a Northern Ireland would-be entrepreneur attempted to get the Dragons’ on board with his travel coat—an airplane bag that doubled up as a coat in an attempt to get around baggage restrictions on budget airlines—a product that might not attract the attention of airport staff checking for overweight baggage, but probably would alert security staff into thinking what on earth you had strapped around your waist.   Unsurprisingly, the Dragons quickly dismissed his idea and sent him packing.

Elsewhere a Polish duo tried to get the Dragons to invest in their health product.  Their inflatable exercise area sadly fell flat with all of the Dragons, especially health club owner Duncan Bannatyne.

Of the more successful entrepreneurs were the two ladies who wanted to further their children’s backpack business.   The women already had substantially orders for their bags and a prime advertising slot on the children’s TV channel Nickleodeon.  They managed to impress the Dragons with their figures and Peter and Deborah agreed to work together for a share of 30% of the company.

However, the success story of the evening was for the sister partnership from Manchester.  The duo had appeared in the Den back in 2005 but hadn’t managed to get any investment in their business venture.  This time around they invited the Dragons to taste their new range of gluten and MSG free Chinese dipping sauces and found two of the five Dragons keen to part with their hard-earned cash to invest in the sisters.   In the end the women asked if Duncan and Hilary would be interested in working together, and they agreed taking a 40% share in the company.

How would your teams fare any better in our team building event—Investors Den?  They will need to invent a new product or service, which can be general or relevant to your own business.  They will then need to build a prototype and present their business plans to the assembled investors.

Dragons’ Den – When teamwork goes bad!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

This week’s episode of BBC2’s Dragons’ Den was a master class in what not to do in front of the dragons!  Whilst warmth and charisma may get the dragons on side they are rarely going to part with their hard earned cash to help get an ill-conceived project off the ground, as the infectious and eccentric Welsh Grandmother, Vicki Edmunds, proved even though her daughter did come and bail her out when the dragons started talking figures for her travel and food website.

Dragons' Den

Dragons' Den

At least Georgia knew her figures, unlike the hapless man and wife team who whilst trying to pitch their office nursery idea forgot the most basic of information and had to do a ten-series first and go to the back of the room—not to confer about any offers put forward from the dragons, but to try and desperately remember how much profit their business had made so far.  Unsurprisingly, they felt the full fury of the dragons and left the den not only without any investment, but with their tails very firmly between their legs and their cheeks stinging with embarrassment.

Other ideas squashed this week were a range of larger sized bras and an exercise device to be used on board airplanes to prevent DVT.

Thankfully, not all the would-be entrepreneurs displayed such lack of attention to detail.  Another man and wife team from the North East won the dragons over with their hair care brand for children.  Not only had the Tyneside couple already secured a large order with a high street chemist for their children’s shampoos and conditioners, they had also negotiated prime display areas within the stores.  Clearly the dragons were impressed with their business acumen and sales forecasts and Peter Jones told the couple to expect five offers for a share in their company.

In another program first, the duo were basically told to choose which dragons they wanted to work with, such was the interest in the den.  Jeff and Collette Bell chose to negotiate with Hilary Devey and Theo Paphitis and managed to get the full £75,000 investment they wanted with the two dragons taking a 10% share of their business each.

Would your teams fare any better in our team building event, Investors Den?  They will need to invent a new product or service, which can be either general or relevant to your own business, and then impress the investors with their presenting skills.

 

Photo credit

Team Building Ideas To Reinforce Office Guidelines

Monday, March 18th, 2013

team building ideas for new guidelines

Check out these valuable team building ideas for ensuring that office and work process guidelines are followed, resulting in higher productivity and quality.

Business executives spend countless hours formulating guidelines and norms for business processes, all in the name of streamlining work productivity and ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to getting the job done right. Unfortunately, guideline fragmentation, ego, and a wealth of other factors often conspire to derail new office norms and guidelines, making it difficult to implement them: veteran employees often tend to ignore new work processes, and a lack of communication can make internalizing norms difficult at best.

In the end, adhering to guidelines is as much of a team effort as it is an individual one, as individual employees tend to make decisions on their own professional behavior based on the actions of the group. To be sure, the enforcement of new norms and guidelines is a major part of ensuring that they are adhered to, but team building can be another means by which guidelines take root with your team.

Here are some Team Building Ideas For ensuring that new guidelines and norms are properly implemented:

Use Multiple Communication Channels

How have you communicated new guidelines in the workplace? Was it done at a long, formal meeting? In many cases, employees might have missed that meeting, due to illness, a personal day, or out-of-office work that kept them from attending. Just like in school, missing a key meeting can cause a chain reaction that hampers employees to never fully onboard onto new guidelines.

The best way to avoid missing one or a few employees when announcing new guidelines is to use multiple communication channels. A formal meeting is a good idea, since it gets everyone’s undivided attention and gives employees the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. But managers should also follow up with a comprehensive e-mail, outlining all new guidelines and norms — as well as an invitation to review guidelines one-on-one with any employee that is confused or has further questions. These three channels: a meeting, a memo, and a one-on-one follow up as needed, is the best way to leverage team communication to ensure your guidelines get implemented.

Let The Team Set The Guidelines

If you want to get your work team invested in new norms and guidelines, then give them direct input into the process of creating them. There are two ways to approach this: one is to put out a call for suggestions, collect them from the appropriate employees, and then make an effort to implement them into new guidelines. This is a very streamlined way of involving your employees in the process, however, if you choose to ignore suggestions, you should also be prepared to explain why in a meeting and/or one-on-one.

Another approach is to call a preliminary meeting, and have a kind of dialogue with employees on building guidelines. This is a more fluid, dynamic means of doing so, and perhaps the best team building idea is you really want to involve employees in the process.

Test Out New Guidelines In The Abstract

One final team building idea for reinforcing guidelines and means is to test out new guidelines in an abstract, team building event-style drill. Since there will always be a portion of employees who are resistant to change, a best practice is to create a fun, dynamic team building event around new guidelines that allow employees to experience them in the abstract. Not only is this a good way to endear employees to new guidelines, but also it allows managers to test new guidelines and norms before putting them directly into place.

Thanks for reading our article! Did you know that Accolade Corporate Events can custom-make team building events to meet your company’s specific objectives? Contact us today for a FREE quote on how we can help!

 

Team Building Events for Introverts

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Not everyone is super confident and likes to put themselves out there, in fact many people are actually quite shy and would prefer to blend into the background without drawing too much attention to themselves.  This isn’t to say that they aren’t vital and well respected members of the team, introverts are certainly no less efficient at their jobs.  They may not want to be leaders, but they tend to be meticulous and are often great at skills such as planning and attention to detail.

For every extrovert, it figures that there must also be an introvert.  This balance is vital to most teams as they usually possess very different skill sets and the two sets of skills bought together can only enhance a team and make it stronger.

When it comes to team building events, many introverts will dread them.  Scared they will be forced outside of their comfort zone and be made to embarrass themselves, they will often try to get out of attending them, offering to stay and man the office instead or sometimes even go to the lengths of phoning in sick to avoid them.

However, by choosing the right activity, introverts can get a lot out of attending a team building event.  Choosing events that play to everyone’s strength will give the introvert the chance to shine without necessarily putting themselves in the spot light.

Most of our team building events require a variety of skills to complete the tasks, many of which will suit the introvert and really get them to showcase their skills without needing to do any presenting, public speaking or anything else they feel very uncomfortable with.

Forcing an introvert to ‘come out of their shell’ will inevitably backfire and far from leaving the team building event with a raised morale, they are more likely to feel bitter that they’ve had to endure such an experience.  However, using a team building event to unearth skills that the introvert has is a different matter; for instance that person may well be very good at writing presentations, but because of their reluctance to speak in public it’s a skills that hasn’t been notice before.

Introverts are often logical minded and can be very methodical, they may also be extremely skilled in time management and paying attention to fine detail such as finances, skills needed in activities such as Investors’ Den or our Team Apprentice team building events.   They may also be in their element solving clues in one of our many treasure hunt style team building events.  Just because they don’t want to push themselves forward as team leader or project manager, doesn’t mean their input won’t be vital in the overall success of the team and that their ideas and suggestions are any less valid.

Choosing the correct team building event for introverts will ensure that every member of the team enjoys the day out, that they will feel more confident in themselves and the skills they offer to the team once back in the workplace.  In addition, their morale will have been lifted by being given the opportunity to show off what they can do without enduring any personal embarrassment.