Posts Tagged ‘fun team building’

Bimbo Bakeries Rescue Bear Team Event in Birmingham, AL

Bimbo Rescue Bear

I recently traveled to Pelham, Alabama, just outside of Birmingham, to work with Bimbo Bakeries on a really fun Rescue Bear® team building event. Bimbo Bakeries US is part of Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company, and although many American’s are not familiar with their name, the brands that they represent are iconic. Sara Lee, Boboli, Ballpark Franks, and Mrs. Baird’s Bread are just a few of the well-known brands that make up their large assortment of bakery items that are found in stores across the USA.

The Rescue Bear® team building event was for a group of their sales, manufacturing, and distribution managers from their Southeast region. With bakeries in Atlanta and Meridian, Mississippi, the Pelham sales center is centrally located as a great distribution point for the area.

Bimbo Rescue Bear Team BuildingThe typical Rescue Bear® event is designed for a two-hour time frame, but Bimbo’s HR team decided to have us customize the delivery to add in more team building principles and learning, so during the standard exercises, I was able to add more teaching and team development along the way. We focused a lot on personality temperaments. Although a lot f team building companies teach DISC profiles and Meyers-Briggs assessment workshops, I find many of those types of activities to be overly complicated and — dare I say — boring. So, instead, helped the entire group quickly self-organize into groups that had particular strengths and skill sets, which, very accurately, organized the group by personality temperament. Once in their groups, we had each new team accomplish tasks geared toward the natural strengths of each group. Once all of the fun activities were completed, they had every item they needed to begin building the stuffed animals, but of course, they had to share resources with the other groups to accomplish the final task.

We were able to show the group how every team had their strengths, but when all of the strengths come together, the esprit de corps of the entire company is elevated.

The event was a blast, and everyone had a lot of fun. At the conclusion, Patrol Sgt Roberts of the Pelham Police Department dropped by to accept the stuffed animals on behalf of his police officers. His officers will keep the toys in their patrol cars for instances where children or their parents have been injured, and a comfort item like a soft toy is welcomed.

Home Depot Build-A-Bike Savannah, Georgia

Hd babThe Home Depot Distribution center for the Southeastern United States was looking for a way to enhance their team network among departments, so they chose the Leaders Institute to do a team building workshop. They wanted the best of both worlds, a fun team event that would also provide some type of learning take away. Home Depot decided on Leaders Institute’s Build-A-Bike event for their annual conference, one of the most popular and unique team building events. Before the event began, one of the upper management personnel explained that he was trying to get the distribution departments to be more cohesive and communicative. Six teams were formed after a memory exercise amazed the participants how such a simple exercise doing things a little differently can significantly improve performance. The teams were then challenged to create a team name, flag and a team cheer. This is where the fun began as the teams quickly invented a team identity and practiced a team cheers that were performed. The teams were informed that the winner of the cheer contest would get a 60 second head start in the bike build competition. The teams came up and performed some very energetic and creative cheers to that entertained and surprised the whole group. After the cheer contest ended the individual groups were tasked with answering various questions that that took group delegation to solve successfully. The groups scurried up to the judges tables to turn in their answers and were awarded one bike part per correct question. Since the groups would get mixed bike parts, they found that they had to cooperate with other groups to be successful to complete their own bikes. After the bikes were completed the local Boys and Girls club of Savannah brought some very happy children to receive the bikes for a charitable donation.


Cisco Buld-A-Bike Orlando, Florida

Build bike orl m Cisco Corporation chose The Leaders Institute to put on a Build-A-Bike ® team building event for their Military Division at their annual conference in Orlando, Florida. Maggie Shaffer, the planner for this event had gotten strong recommendations from former Build-A-Bike attendees within the Cisco organization to influence her decision. She was looking for a team building event that would include exercises to encourage team cooperation among the employees that were scattered around the U.S. She also wanted an event that would ultimately to contribute to a local military charity which the Leaders Institute arranged for Cisco. The eager participants poured into the room where the fun team building exercises to begin. The attendees were introduced to a few warm up exercises that sparked their energy and enthusiasm. They were then formed into groups and tasked to come up with a team name, team flag and a team cheer to compete with the other groups to get a head start to build the bikes for charity. The teams had limited time to complete their team tasks, so team cooperation was crucial. The teams were judged in an exhibition of their flags and cheers with the winner awarded a head start in the bike building portion of the event.

After the cheer competition, the teams were given envelopes with clues to be solved and redeemed for the bike parts to complete a whole bike. Once again, team cooperation came into play as the groups had no choice but to depend on their team members to be successful. When the bikes were completed, the local military charity brought in the children escorted by uniformed personnel to receive the bikes.

If your company or organization is looking for a fun team building experience with a charitable component, the Build-A-Bike is an exciting event that will satisfy your team building needs.

NOAA Creating a Team Culture in Norfolk, Virginia


A group from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gathered recently to participate in a Creating a Team Culture workshop in Norfolk, Virginia. The group of 10 co-workers gathered at the Nauticus Museum near their offices to spend most of the day learning how to apply leadership principles that can help them communication more clearly and improve their working relationships. NOAA  has a wide variety of functions, including collection of data regarding the oceans, the atmosphere, and fisheries. This particular office supports the staff that work on the boats doing this important work.

We began the session talking about personality styles and how they affect our communication styles. Looking at the natural strengths and weaknesses of each personality style created lots of dialogue about how and why people react the way they do to many different situations.

We honed in on the four sets of Leadership Principles that deal with building trust and rapport, managing conflict, gaining cooperation, and building the team around you. The discussion was robust around the first of principles, building trust and rapport, as it is at the foundational base of that which affects most teams’ ability to work well together. Without first addressing these fundamental principles in this key area of communication, it is difficult to move forward with a strong team. The material and exercises challenged the group to move out of their comfort zones and interact in a way that had previously been avoided.

By the end of the workshop, the participants had an improved outlook on their ability to work together, and were more open to each other. They still have some work to do, but this workshop provided a strong base of ideas on where and how to start.

“This was a good place to start. We have a lot of work to do but these principles are definitely things that we can begin applying right away. Thank you!” — Jennifer Pralgo, NOAA

Communication difficulties can cause problems in the workplace that extend beyond the workforce and begin to affect our customers in adverse ways. Include Creating a Team Culture team building workshop in your plans to give your employees the tools they need to be more successful together!

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude is Vice President of Instruction for the Northeast region. She is based in Detroit, Michigan, but she also teaches in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toronto, Baltimore and other Northeast cities.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

Auburn University Build Bikes in Alabama

Auburn University hosted the Build-A-Bike event at the new Athletic Complex on campus. Auburn University (AU or Auburn) is a public university located in Auburn, Alabama, United States. With more than 25,000 students and 1,200 faculty members, it is one of the largest universities in the state. Auburn has traditionally been rated highly by academic ranking services, and has been listed as one of the top 50 public universities for 20 consecutive years.[28] The 2011 edition of U.S. News and World Reports ranks Auburn as the 82nd university in the nation among public and private schools and 37th among public universities. Dr. Peggy Howland, the consulting Psychologist for the athletic department said “this is exactly what this team needs, we have had a dramatic year”. “This was inspiring” said Kim Evans the soccer coach for Auburn University.

Joe-Joe Petrone, the director of sports medicine arranged the teams so different departments got to work with each other, so there was some rivalry going on. The Build-A-Bike event teaches teamwork skills through a series of challenges which the teams are to complete. The tasks encourage the teams to think outside the box to come up with solutions. The Auburn Athletics department was an amazing group of individuals, they came prepared for fun. Everyone showed up in track suits so the activities were very competitive, fast paced and very high energy. The charity to receive the bikes was set up by the University, Project Uplift of Lee County Youth Development Center, the representative arrived at the luncheon following the event.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

Rain for Rent hosts a Build-A-Bike for annual meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Rain for Rent held its annual meeting at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center for their Operations Manager from all over the US. Rain for Rent is a profit-oriented company committed to providing solutions to their customers’ water-handling, irrigation, and temporary liquid storage problems that exceed their expectations for service and quality. Many of the Managers in the group had never met until that night, but the feeling you got from this group was they are a team. The event started after dinner and a long day of meetings, Sarah Plumlee the contact, was amazed the energy this group had, the playful banter back and forth, the joking and laughter with one another, myself included.

Each team was given an envelope containing problems to solve, questions to answer, riddles to overcome. As the group solves the clues they are brought to the judges to see if they are correct, then the parts are given to build bicycles. I actually saw some teams trying to bribe the judges even though we said this isn’t a competition, they were very competitive.This sounds much easier than it was for there were hidden problems and obstacles that may surface along the way that as a team they must overcome. In the end the bicycles were built and everyone had a great time with the experience. The end of the event is when we introduce the representative for the Boys & Girls club to receive the bikes, many participants  said, “We should have had more bikes” they already had 10. The group asked for pictures of the kids when they receive the bikes, you see the kids couldn’t be there because it was to late in the evening. The operations manager from Detroit said “This was amazing and it hits you right here” as he tapped his heart.

Chick-Fil-A Build-A-Bike in Atlanta, Georgia


Chick-Fil-A hosted a Build-A-Bike workshop for its Training and Development team to encourage team building and philanthropy as part of its recent retreat outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Build-A-Bike uses a series of challenges and activities to encourage team building. Meant to be something of a caricature of behavior we can see in the workplace, the participants have a good time poking fun at themselves and each other as they move through the exercises together. The participants in this event are training facilitators themselves, and they truly enjoyed getting to “play” themselves! They had a great time hamming it up and joking around, while truly getting something of value from the exercises.

The organization that received their donation is called “For My Sisters” – a newly-formed non-profit organization that helps single mothers through many different programs and support systems. None of the kids had their own bikes, and for both kids and moms alike, the donation of the eight bikes from Chick-Fil-A was overwhelming and a dream come true! The Chick-Fil-A team members were equally humbled and moved by the experience.

“Our group LOVED not only the build-a-bike activity but the team building activities that took place prior. Sometimes team building can feel as though it drags on and on, but because we were split into teams and participated in fun activities where we could laugh with and at one another it was a success for ALL involved. I had several people approach me about possibly using the Leader’s Institute for future events as well. The group also really enjoyed Ellen’s facilitation. She kept it moving and was very engaging!” — Noel Maynard, Chick-Fil-A

Sometimes groups need to approach team building through just having some fun together, and in this instance, that’s what Build-A-Bike was able to provide. And everyone loves to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they get a brand new bike! If you want to encourage team building while giving back to your local community, consider including Build-A-Bike in your next conference.

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude is Vice President of Instruction for the Northeast region. She is based in Detroit, Michigan, but she also teaches in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toronto, Baltimore and other Northeast cities.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

ExxonMobil Build-A-Bike in Houston, Texas

ExxonMobil held a Build-A-Bike team building event in Houston, TX recently.  ExxonMobil is the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, providing energy that helps underpin growing economies and improve living standards around the world. They operate facilities or market products in most of the world’s countries and explore for oil and natural gas on six continents. This event was for the Reservoir Performance Prediction & Modeling team based at the Upstream Research Company.

As a small group of 12 people, the leadership of the team wanted to make sure that the group would still have a great experience of the event. We were able to customize the agenda to fit the size of their group, as we can do with any size group, and give them the same great experience on a smaller scale. The goal for the overall day was to have fun and create better team dynamics across the whole team, while doing something worthwhile! Build-A-Bike is a high-energy, really fun workshop that gives the participants a chance to engage together in “play with a purpose” exercises.

At the end of the event, the group had built four bikes and had a really great time together. The excitement in the room ratcheted up another notch when the YMCA of Houston arrived with four local children who were the ecstatic recipients of the bikes! The ExxonMobil team is based locally, and one of the team members is a regular volunteer with the YMCA, making the donation even more meaningful for the group.

 “This was a great exercise – exactly what the team needed to get us out of the office and away from our computer screens for a little while!” — Bruce Chalton, ExxonMobil

No matter what size your group, Build-A-Bike is the perfect way to add spark and fun to your retreat or conference while giving back to your local community. It can help your group gel together while reinforcing important team building lessons.

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude is Vice President of Instruction for the Northeast region. She is based in Detroit, Michigan, but she also teaches in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toronto, Baltimore and other Northeast cities.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

GlaxoSmithKline Ace Race in Raleigh, North Carolina

GlaxoSmithKline recently included an Ace Race team building workshop in their conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. GlaxoSmithKline has as their mission to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. They produce medicines that treat major disease areas such as asthma, anti-virals, infections, mental health, diabetes, cardiovascular and digestive conditions. In addition, they are a leader in the important area of vaccines and are developing new treatments for cancer. The workshop involved 120 of their Contract Management and Operations associates from offices in Raleigh-Durham and Philadelphia.

The Ace Race began with a couple of quick warm-up activities that get at some of the fundamentals of good team communication. The group shared a lot of laughs and the competitive spirit was high! Moving into the Ace Race itself, each team created a mini putting green for themselves using non-perishable goods. Each green had a unique design and some included very tricky obstacles! All of the teams then had a race to see which team could get around the entire course first, making a hole-in-one on each green. With 120 people divided into 18 teams around the room, the energy level was high, and it was chaotic!

Some of these folks had never met face-to-face before this conference, and morale was a little low going into it. This event gave the group a fantastic opportunity to break loose, have fun, laugh and work together, and do it all for a great cause. There was a lot of laughter and cheering as they created and then played their course. At the end of the event, they invited the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, a local hunger relief organization that serves 34 counties in North Carolina. A representative from the Food Bank came to the event and spoke to the group about their work and the impact that the donation of nearly one ton of food will have in their communities.

“The workshop was GREAT!  Everybody thoroughly enjoyed it and had a phenomenal time.  Ellen did a fantastic job with all of it – she was great with getting everyone engaged and staying on task – which is not an easy thing with so many people!  Certainly it benefited not only our team from the perspective of working together, but it also provided fun and added that extra philanthropic benefit as well.  It couldn’t have been more timely for our team and the Food Bank!! ” —Cheryl Parrish, GlaxoSmithKline

Team building workshops that are composed of activities that have a point, coupled with a lot of fun and the opportunity to give back to the community are a great way to get people having fun together. Consider including an Ace Race in your next conference and give your team a memorable experience!

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude is Vice President of Instruction for the Northeast region. She is based in Detroit, Michigan, but she also teaches in Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toronto, Baltimore and other Northeast cities.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

Florida Department of Children Rescue Kids With a Rescue Bear in Panama City

Connie Timpson
Connie Timpson is Vice President of Instruction for the Southeast Region. She is based in Jacksonville, Florida, but she also teaches in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Atlanta, and other Southeastern cities.

Florida’s Department of Children and Families gathered at FSU on the Bay, to learn, share, and Rescue Kids With a Rescue Bear Team Building Event.  These people have devoted their lives to helping families cope with life’s problems, and when necessary rescuing a child from an unsafe environment.  This process is stressful for all involved.  For the child it can be the most traumatic event in their life.   It is estimated that In Florida each year, there are nearly 10,000 children removed from their homes, because they experienced neglect or abuse at the hands of a family member. That is when DCF is called in to make some tough decisions.  If it is no longer safe to live at home, the child is removed, at least for awhile.

Putting cute stuffed animals into the arms of a traumatized child can ease the pain a bit, and help him feel like he is not alone.  This cuddly buddy will help him feel less isolated, and comfort him during this very painful process. This day, the people who make very difficult decisions got to step back, laugh, and give in to their creative-childlike side.  They learned a little more about each other; and how to communicate more effectively, with different kinds of people, after determining the other person’s personality temperament.

 For the entire group, every day, and every home visit, it comes down to one thing – the kids, the families.  They work to keep the family intact, and help them in any way they are able.  These folks would do most anything to take a little fear away from some of the kids they help. Stuffing and dressing some little darlings for some frightened kids felt like they were doing something beyond what their job description says.  Having a cuddly friend during a traumatic time can help the child focus on something other than what is wrong with the world.  For the team, this event allowed them to see beyond the day-to-day business of taking care of problems.  This fun team building brought them together as a team and helped unify their goal.

Interested in a Team Building Event of Your Own?

Below are a Few Additional Florida Team Building Events

  • Cisco Buld-A-Bike Orlando, Florida Cisco Corporation chose The Leaders Institute to put on a Build-A-Bike ® team building event for their Military Division at their annual conference in Orlando, Florida. Maggie Shaffer, the planner for this event had gotten strong recommendations from former Build-A-Bike attendees within the Cisco organization to influence her decision. She was looking for a ...
  • Florida Hospitals Donned Costumes and Built Some Bikes And Their Team in Orlando, Florida Florida Hospitals met to build some bikes, and become a better team in Orlando, Florida.  Under the spell of Disney,  that makes anything possible, they played dress up, and created a little magic for area kids.  Viking hats, and horns aside, there was learning to done and bikes to be built.  The participants learned how ...
  • Participants in Miami, Florida Fearless Presentations Class Learn the Importance of Connecting with Your Audience Participants in the Miami, Florida Fearless Presentations® Public Speaking Class Learn the Importance of Connecting with Your Audience when delivering presentations. We had seven people attend the presentation skills class in Miami, and we focused on, not only reducing public speaking fear, but also effective ways to really connect with your audience. The connection begins ...
  • Florida Department of Children and Families Camaraderie Quest in Panama City Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) strengthened its team with a Camaraderie Quest team building event in Panama City, Florida.  High tech gadgets in hand  folks from DCF learned about each other and took a walk into St. Andrews history, solving high-tech challenges to collect all the pieces to the puzzle. Which way did they ...
  • Adecco Came to Jacksonville, Florida to Collaborate, Build a Team, and Create Smiles Jacksonville, Florida – Adecco marketers and recruiters from New York joined their colleagues in the Jacksonville, Florida to get to build a better team in a Build-A-Bike team building event for kids who really need a break. Adecco matches people and their skills to the demands of employers looking for “just the right person.” Putting faces ...
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