What an operation! Charitable team building, Seattle-style

Yesterday we had the pleasure of engaging the high-energy, enthusiastic teams of Boeing Aircraft in a rousing game of "Operation Care Kits."

Wow. What an experience.

Boeing staff earned care kit components such as canned and packaged food, warm blankets, toe warmers, convenience items like can openers and spare AA batteries, games and puzzles to while away the dull off-duty hours (we can't wait to hear about the all-night Yahtzee tournaments!), and more by overcoming zany challenges with spirit and commitment.

They developed camaraderie by developing a team "marching song," exhibited artistic skills by creating "uniforms" out of tin foil, navigated mazes of red tape blindfolded, and more. They even learned a new way to spell and got very generous while "budgeting."

In the end, they crated up twelve priority-mail shipping boxes of great stuff and enclosed personal notes of thank you to our troops, reminding them that we do, in fact, remember and honor their service and sacrifice.

And when the Army reserve officer stepped out of the shadows to thank them for their generosity... well, there weren't many dry eyes in the house.

See for yourself. Here are some photos of the fun.

Arms specialist and mess captain


Foiled Again!



Helping victims of Hurricane Sandy

What does a hurricane on the east coast have to do with teamwork in the Pacific Northwest? Or in the south, on the plains, in the islands of Hawaii?

The answer:  Everything.

If you've tried to order something on-line, for example, in the last week or so, you probably have witnessed a message to the effect of, "Delivery may be affected by Hurricane Sandy."

Planes are grounded. Train schedules disrupted. World wide markets put on hold. Tax dollars spent to help protect and recover our nation's valuable assets.

We're all in this together. Whether we have field offices in the northeast - or whether we ARE the field office of an east coast headquarters - or whether it's just Aunt Ruth that we can't reach by phone in New Jersey - we're all affected, directly and indirectly.

Teams aren't always what you expect.

Sometimes they are much larger.

Here's a great way to help the team, by the way:  www.redcross.org/HurricaneSandy


Four ways to show you remember the troops

With so much going on - FrankenStorm, elections, back-to-school and getting-ready-for-winter activities crowding our brains - it's easy to forget that we still have men and women fighting overseas.

Well, we do. And they need us as much as we need them.

Here are four things you can do to show them that you still remember them - and that you appreciate what they are doing for you:

1. Vote.

Here's the easiest one:  exercise the very freedoms and privileges they are fighting hard to preserve for you. It's not hard. Fill out your ballot. Vote. Do it.

2. Donate.

There are a lot of great organizations out there keeping the fires burning for the troops and their families. You can donate phone cards, leftover Halloween candy, cash, you name it. Check out one of the Troop Support Links here for more information.

3. Write letters to them.

They love hearing from you - yes, even if they've never met you. Why? Because it lets them know that you appreciate their sacrifice. The Troop Support Links above can get you connected.

4. Send a care package.

You can put together your own, or do it as part of a team building activity. Either way, they appreciate the packages we send, not only for the goodies they get but for the reminders of the comforts of home they are foregoing on our behalf.



Crazy amazing team building

Lots of companies get their teams out for "team building" exercises that are just that - exercises. Drills. Activity for its own sake.

What if you could engage in something that was so crazy amazing, you can never forget it? Something that changes you forever?

Look at what these FedEx employees did and tell me if they didn't do just that!Freewheel: Crazy amazing team building

Warning:  Grab the kleenex. You will be moved.



Four ways to reward your team for less than a dollar

Friday afternoon, 4 PM. Your team has slaved away all week, giving you great results.

They deserve a reward and some recognition. And they'll love it if you do.

But budgets are tight. What can you do that's cheap but lets them know how much you appreciate them?

Here's four things you can do, really cheap - under a buck per employee - that they'll love you for:

Rich rewards

1. Sugar.

For under a buck, you can give each of them a sweet treat. And who doesn't love candy?

But anyone can buy candy. Random sugar isn't "special" enough. Try to make it personal or tie it to what they did for you. For instance, if they hit a "home run" on a proposal, a Baby Ruth bar. Saved you money? A $100,000 bar says it all.


2. Text 'em.Text

Send each employee a personal message to their cell phone, congratulating or thanking them for a specific accomplishment this week. They'll know it's personal... if you get it right.



Hot movie tip3. Tip 'em off.

Got a hot tip for something fun to do this weekend? Let them know. And better yet, make sure it's something they'll love, not just something in your wheel house. For instance, if they love sports... did you know there's a live college game on ESPN-3D Saturday morning?


4. Swag.

Phone swag

This takes a little planning, but it's a high-payoff move. Go online, find some silly, laugh-inducing chotchkies - the kind of stuff you swipe off tables at trade shows - and make Friday a regular "awards banquet." Hand out a branded novelty item for your top accomplishments. Some of my recent favorites are rubber cell phone amplifiers, ear phone wire cord saddles, branded stress balls and "sparkly" sunglasses. Use your imagination... or those of the swag-dealers, if you're not creative on Fridays.


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