Posts Tagged ‘team building events’

Manheim Inc Build-A-Bike in Fort Worth Texas

Manheim, Inc. is an automobile auction company and they came together in downtown Fort Worth, Texas to take part in the Build-A-Bike ® team building event.  Manheim, Inc. automobile auction company  is the largest one in the world by volume of trade. As a subsidiary of privately owned Cox Enterprises, Inc., Manheim provides services including financing, title work, transportation, recovery, auto body repair, dealership management systems, dent repair and remarketing technology. Manheim’s primary business is the providing of auction services for the physical sale of automobiles as well as online tools to connect wholesale vehicle buyers and sellers.
005Dan the senior manager along with the meeting planner Gina didn’t tell the group what they would be doing, so when they walked into the room many of the comments were “I don’t know how to build a bike”. The team building exercise was for a group of sales people that have worked for Manheim from two weeks up to twenty years. A very competitive group, even the activities leading up to building the bikes was very amusing to watch as chivalry went right out the window. Quite a few from the group said “everything is a competion“. Build-A-Bike uses a series of challenges and activities to encourage team building. The activities are meant to be something of a caricature of behavior we can see in the workplace. The exercises brought out the playful side of all the participants. The Boys and Girls Club of Fort Worth and Roland Greene accepted the bikes along with the kids. Dan wanted to surprise the group with the children coming to the event to pick up the bikes directly from the group, and they were. The Manheim group took pictures with the kids, helped them put on their helmets and ride around the room. The kids from the greater Fort Worth area even received snacks before leaving. “What a great event, the kids make it all worth it”

Informatica Austin Texas Build-A-Bike

Informatica of Austin Texas hosted the Build-A-Bike program for twenty of their sales team. Marlo Banks the Human Resources Director organized this event for the team so they could have fun while learning about working together more efficiently as a team. Informatica provides data integration software and services that enable organizations to gain a competitive advantage in today’s global information economy by empowering them with timely, relevant and trustworthy data for their top business imperatives. The Build-A-Bike event teaches teamwork skills through a series of challenges which the teams are to complete. This team building event encourage the teams to think outside the box to come up with solutions.

friends & family 027Paul Mudlaff the sales Manager along with the sales department was an amazing group of individuals, they came prepared for fun. The charity arranged to pick up the bikes was the Boys & Girls Club of the greater Austin area. Brian, the Director of operations brought four kids with him but didn’t tell them why they were coming and they were so excited when they saw their new bikes. The sales group was so moved to hear that they had just built the first bikes these kids had ever had. One of the team members suggested giving the kids their first lesson around the room. The group all snacked on cookies, exchanged names, took photos and listened to the kids talk about school, home and their new bikes. “This is wonderful”, “what a great thing we just did”, “I loved this event” were some of the comments made by the sales team of Informatica of Austin.

Symantec Hosts Build-A-Bike in San Jose, California

Symantec Build-A-Bike San Jose CaliforniaJust a week before everyone heads out for their holiday break, Symantec got together to host a Build-A-Bike ® Team Building Event at their headquarters near San Jose, California. Symantec is an high tech company that works to safeguard your technological equipment. The group is called IMG, for Information Management Group, and the team is part of the Research and Development Department made up of mostly engineers. Everyone is from the greater San Jose area and some know each other well, others may not. The occasion was to have some fun, give everyone a much needed break, come together as a group and build some bikes for kids. On this crisp but bright day all of the above goals were accomplished.

The first priority was to have a good time but the participants cannot escape the team building insights that come along with this program. Their team is full of engineers who are generally very good at anything related to math and logical reasoning. Getting them out of their comfort zones was part of the fun and where they can rely on each others strengths to earn their bike parts. The teams are given a set of questions to solve. When everyone works together and brings their talents and knowledge then they answer the questions much quicker. They saw how better communication and working together as a team, rather than individual departments, helped them to achieve their goals.

By the end of the short 2 hour event, 22 bikes were built that were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of San Jose. The group was surprised by some of the kids from the club being able to come and accept the bikes- they were still in school so only a few could come. The rest of the bikes were accepted by Fred McCaslin and are to be delivered to the children at the center. A successful event was had as shown by all the smiles on the faces of the adults and children alike.

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.

Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos Hosts Build A Bike in Chicago, Illinois

imageHard Rock Hotels & Casinos was looking for a high energy event to begin their convention, so they decided to host a Build-A-Bike team building event in Chicago, Illinois.  Hard Rock Hotels, as well as Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, are located in various locations in the United States and abroad.  This event brought together managers from both the hotel and casino division, with the goal of getting everyone on the same page and to give back to the community.

Some of the managers in this group knew each other well, while others were acquaintances.  There was some competition between the hotel and casino divisions of the company.  The Build-A-Bike event can be a great icebreaker for people to get to know each other outside of the workplace, while encouraging people to work together.  Each team cannot solve problems alone.  They must work with each other and with other teams to be successful.  While most of them are focusing on having fun during the event, they are simultaneously learning cooperative skills that result in not only a better work environment; they also increase productivity!  Competition is not necessarily a bad thing, but this team event places emphasis on cooperation, and how working together is essential to accomplishing goals.

At the end of the event, Hard Rock Hotels & Casino built 6 bikes for very happy children from the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.  Participants in the event were thrilled to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they received the bikes, knowing that they had helped make a difference in their lives.  The Build-A-Bike event helped realize one of Hard Rock Hotels and Casino’s core principles, giving back to the community.

“It was a GREAT event and our people have been raving about the exercise! I’m sure we’ll cross paths again in the future!” Claudia Infante, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos

Participants felt that this event was a great way to begin their conference, knowing that they had made the kids’ day, while also learning some new skills that could be implemented immediately.  Consider a team building event as a great way to kick off a conference in a fun and energetic way!

Chris McNeany
Chris McNeany is a Vice President and Instructor for the The Leader’s Institute®. He is based in Los Angeles, California, but he teaches classes in San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Seattle as well.

For details about a team building event in Chicago, Illinois, click here!

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?

Team Building- Opening The Lines Of Communication To Get Everyone Onboard

The idea behind holding team building events or conferences is to get everyone within a company or department working together towards the same goal.  One of the biggest factors involved in this is communication.  Whether via email, phone or face to face; there are thousands of interactions that take place every day in every office, store or warehouse.  Team building events try to teach the vital importance of open lines of communication between all members of a team. Any break in the lines of communication can lead to disastrous results.  There are many reasons for a break down in communication but below are three of the most common.

1.  The silo effect

While it might seem self evident that withholding information can cause problems, lapses in communication are not always intentional.  If a member of the team feels uncomfortable speaking to their teammates or they don’t feel their input is important enough, not sharing a piece of information can keep the rest of the team from performing as well as they might.  It can be due to competition, being split up geographically or that  different teams just do not want to share with another group.  I have seen this played out time and time again in the team building events I facilitate.  Once the teams realize they have to go beyond their group to solve the problems, the “team building” part has been accomplished.  There are many reasons the silo effect happens but it is very hard for the company to be at running at their optimal efficiency and effectiveness without breaking down the walls and sharing between all teams.

2. Everybody counts

A common issue that hinders communication is a reluctance to speak openly with members of upper management.  Participating in team building events where everyone needs to work together to solve the riddles or questions helps show that everyone is an important part of the team.  I remember an event where the teams and judges were comprised of everyone involved on the project. The people on the assembly line on up to the engineer’s and management were on the same team. It was very eye opening to see the different ways the different levels approached solving the problems. It can bond a group when they see the value everyone individual brings. When upper management acknowledges that it needs everyone from management on down to drive their company forward, it can shift the whole morale of a company.

3. Fear of being wrong

Some employees might not want to give their input because they feel if it is not implemented that it will reflect poorly on them.  While it is true that not every idea is a good idea, employees can learn even if they do not see a direct result from their input it is far from unimportant.  Management can learn what issues or obstacles employees face and understand why these problems arise.  Any input at all shows a company what it’s employees are thinking about and what they consider important.  Being able to hear what an employee has to say without judging goes a long way to build trust.

Learning and understanding the problems employees face and ensuring there are always open lines of communication goes a long way towards getting everyone focused on the common goal of the team or company.  Communication alone cannot ensure a successful business but not having it dramatically increases the chances of failure.  Team building events are a great way to get the team on the same page and shift the current context.

Truman Medical Centers WIC Program does Creating a Team Culture and Charade Murder Mystery near Kansas City, Missouri


Truman Medical Centers WIC program staff gathered for an annual day of team building activities recently outside of Kansas City, Missouri. They included a Creating a Team Culture workshop and a Charade Murder Mystery activity. As the largest WIC provider in the state of Missouri, Truman Medical Centers (TMC) is currently contracted to serve 14,500 participants each month at multiple clinic locations in Blue Springs, Grandview, Independence and Kansas City. The group of 45 people that gathered for this event does all the jobs involved in running the program – supervisors and managers, nutritionists, and support staff.

Creating a Team Culture is a great half-day workshop for covering four sets of people principles that deal with communication. The group was engaged and lively as they learned the principles and did fun exercises to drive the points home. Laughter echoed through the room as people recognized common behaviors and poked gentle fun at each other.

As the group transitioned to the Charade Murder Mystery program, there was some initial confusion about what was going on. Suddenly, one of the key program managers dramatically keeled over in a “death” scene that caught everyone’s attention! It became clear that we were switching gears, and the groups around the room buzzed with excitement as they examined evidence, interviewed suspects, and did their best to solve the “crimes”.

“This was a lot of fun! Everyone had a really good time.” —Brenda Brewer, Truman Medical Centers WIC Program

The combination of a session like Creating a Team Culture that focuses more directly on communication practices coupled with a program designed as more of a game can be a great recipe for any group. If you’re looking for opportunities to engage your group in great discussions as well as have some fun together, consider including Creating a Team Culture and any one of our other team building activities 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?

Microsoft Does Another Build-A-Bike in Seattle, Washington

At the end of their financial year, Microsoft employees gathered in Seattle Washington to let loose and have some fun while giving back to the community by participating in a Build-A-Bike ® team building event. The event was hosted at the Microsoft campus headquarters in Redmond, Washington, near Seattle. Despite the fact that it poured down rain through the whole event the Microsoft staff did not let that drown their enthusiasm. Throughout the event the employees were lit up with bright smiles and eager faces. Their teamwork and positivity were absolutely contagious as they worked through the challenges of the event.

The one hundred Microsoft employees were divided into teams to participate in the challenges of the Build-A-Bike ® team building event. Like many participants in the leadership and teamwork skills training event, the employees at Microsoft were dedicated to ‘winning’. However, one of the lessons of the event is to see how we behave when things do not turn out the way we wanted. It is this sort of challenge that encourages teams to grow together as they readjust their strategy. Again, the staff at Microsoft faced every challenge with a smile and enthusiasm.

While their main goal was simply to let off some steam and have fun, Microsoft also wanted to take the opportunity to give back to the community. The teams successfully completed eighteen bikes that were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue. The presentation of the bikes to the kids is always an emotional part of the Build-A-Bike ® team building event. The employees of Microsoft were beaming as the kids excitedly ran across the field to get their brand new bikes. Seeing directly the joy that comes from their work and generosity always leaves an impact. Even the chaperone from the Boys and Girls Club, Kristi Holmes, was in tears as she thanked the employees for their donation. Even in the pouring rain the employees of Microsoft were able to have a lot of fun, learn and give back to the community. Thank you Microsoft for hosting a wet but wonderful Build-A-Bike ® team building event.

Microsoft Build-A-Bike In Seattle, Washington

Employees of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing department gathered in Seattle Washington to take a break from their normal routine by participating in a Build-A-Bike ® team building event. The Trustworthy Computing department is broken up into three separate teams, Security and Reliability Communications, Incidence Response Communications and Policy/Trust Communications. It is very clear that the department is heavily focused on communications both internal and external. While the twenty five employees that participated were from many different locations most of them were very familiar with each other and comfortable working as a team. Though they already had a strong teamwork environment they were also open to learning and growing through the event.

The departments focus on communication and teamwork benefited them greatly during the events challenges. One of the underlying challenges of the event is to pool together individuals unique talents and strengths to find the most effective solutions. Sometimes teams that are already very comfortable working together find themselves under pressure when they are forced to adapt their talents in a new environment such as assembling a bicycle. While tension got high at some points the Microsoft employees worked diligently together to complete the challenges of the Build-A-Bike ® team building event. This is how the event helps teams grow even stronger and improve communication within the team.

Aside from having some fun and learning some new teamwork and leadership skills the Microsoft team was also able to give back to the community through the event. The twenty five employees built four bicycles that were presented to some lucky kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Seattle. All the tension of the events challenges was lifted when the kids came in to get their bikes. The Build-A-Bike ® team building event gave the Microsoft employees the opportunity to see a direct result from their work and generosity. The kids will certainly remember that day for a long time to come. And hopefully the Trustworthy Computing department at Microsoft will remember the fun times and lessons they learned for a long time as well. Thank you to the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing department for hosting a fantastic Build-A-Bike ® team building event.

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