Ice-Breaker Entertainment Ideas for Small Businesses

December 5, 2012

This article was written by Tom Clark and published with permission of the author.  AMC LLC does not endorse any of the products mentioned in this article.

Improve relationships within your business and increase productivity in the workplace

If you have a growing business it can be hard to keep in touch with everyone and ensure they engage well within the team. More and more companies are seeing the benefit in putting on out of work entertainment for the company to help build relationships within the business. Whether your objective is entertainment or teambuilding sometimes the problem can be coming up with creative ideas which will go down well with your team and get people talking. After witnessing this in numerous workplaces over the years, I have put together a couple of great ideas which work to help colleagues socialise. You can mix up the ideas to get lots of different things happening, or choose one and put it on around party food and drinks.

Hire Giant Games

My favourite ice-breaker entertainment is giant games which you can hire from corporate entertainment companies. You get to see the competitive nature come out in your colleagues and see everyone having fun. I think the best game for hire is the giant scalextrics, which has 8 lanes for colleagues to race each other on, showcasing their childhood racing skills.

tom clark

Hire a Simulator

Hiring a simulator for the ice breaker day is a great idea, and is a sure winner for getting people chatting over some food and drinks. A popular choice at ice breaker events is the F1 simulator, which is the next best thing to getting on a real race track and doing a circuit for real. If you hire more than one simulator you can really get the party started and have virtual races with your work mates. Simulators go further than just F1, you can get flight simulators, golf simulators, riding and shooting ones too so you are sure to please everyone.

Paintballing

Seeing your workmates in stealth is another awesome idea to break the ice and create stories that get shared forever. Paintballing, although incredibly exhilarating, can be a hit or miss ice breaker, so it is best to run the idea past everyone to see which idea would suit the team best before booking!

If you could never imagine your colleagues dodging bullets and storming bunkers, then you may find this to be one interesting day.

What ideas can you think of to break the ice and get your team bonding?

Tom Clark writes on organizing events for small businesses. Events House http://www.eventshouse.co.uk is a leading games for hire company giving businesses fresh ideas for corporate entertainment.


Comment on Why Many CEOs Can’t Build Legacies Anymore

October 10, 2012

Why Many CEOs Can’t Build Legacies Anymore
by Thomas J. Saporito | 11:00 AM August 9, 2012

My friend JoAnne O’Brien-Levin reviewed this article and gave me her view as follows:

As I read this, I saw what the writer describes as emblematic of the larger sea change that has been pervading business culture for a long time now. In each of the three examples they give, it’s relationships that are being replaced by impersonal transactions. First, it’s the CEO’s relationship with the company that goes away: He/she is brought in from the outside; he/she can’t build a legacy. Then it’s the senior team that no longer bonds with one another.

This seems on the surface to be more efficient, a better response to the speed of change and demands of market/shareholders, but I wonder if it is truly functional, let alone sustainable? If relationships don’t matter at the top, then they won’t matter at the bottom–with customers, suppliers, etc.

At the same time this is happening, there seems to be an increasing realization that relationships are core to the way the Universe functions; they’re fundamental to its nature.

“Collaboration is essential to survival; collaboration is dependent upon relationships. So is this trend actually running in opposition to the way the world/Universe works? If so, what’s to be done?” – JoAnne O’Brien-Levin

I agree with JoAnne and like to follow-up:

In my view to your questions, it is more a matter of ability to react and move. I have seen that the larger companies get so lethargic that they can’t move, they are so stuck in their old industrial-age paradigms and have an entitlement culture, that the sea-change is visible to them but they don’t know what to do with it. At one of our large clients I see that they feel they should be treated in some way because they are big. That does not work for the employees and they leave.

Turnover is increasing. More than 50% of the employees are over 40 years old and the new hires don’t stay. When the economy recovers they run away even faster because the culture is toxic and old fashioned.

I think we are at the beginning of the automobile age in business when a lot of the biggest players are still working in the horse-buggy paradigm. Critical mass hasn’t been reached, many of the roads and highways haven’t been built yet, and the technology and relationship development practices still have a lot of innovation ahead of themselves.

Still, if I had to choose, I rather improve automobiles than preserve horse buggies.

Axel Meierhoefer


Recessions Require Leadership from the Core!

September 29, 2012

When things are going tough, leaders need to step up and deliver more than every. Leading from the core is what we need to succeed.

When the mood in our workplace, at home, or in society in general is subdued, the value of great leaders becomes apparent.

How often have you seen individuals who have been promoted from one level to the next and the next and the next based on need and some extraordinary skills become insecure, controlling, stressed out and un-approachable, especially when their leadership is most needed?

How often have you lived through situations where decisions are being announced without a detailed explanation or reason why?

Have you been craving for leaders who are authentic, well balanced between factual knowledge and emotional intelligence?

Leading from the core is one of those traits that take a lot of development to become good at. To get into the right frame of mind, here is a little story I received today from Tom Mathews: As a leader, do you honor and appreciate the power of WE? Do you stop to thank and recognize the members of your team? Do you consistently show an attitude of gratitude? I recently read a great story about Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate from the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was captured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell. After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his experience and how it compared to the challenges of every day life.

Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, “How in the world did you know that?”

The man replied, “I packed your parachute.” Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, “I guess it worked!”

Charlie stood to shake the man’s hand, and assured him, “It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today.”

Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, “Good morning, how are you?” He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal.

As a leader, how many times a day, a week, a month, do we pass up the opportunity to thank those people in our organization who are “packing our parachutes”?

I can relate to this story, not only because I was a military jet aviator myself and have been with the guys who packed my parachute. I also relate to it because this core from which true, successful leadership comes from is a core of empathy, caring, praise, character, and appreciation.

To develop these traits and live them everyday in every situation, no matter how bad the problem, how bad the economy, how bad the sales, and how bad the approaching recession, a certain attitude is required.

This attitude assumes that every person is good, trying as hard as he or she can, and is willing to improve, given the proper guidance. As the leader we want to be this guide who provides support, creates the environment to excel, and is willing to take the blame and responsibility when things don’t work out as we had planned. That is distinctly different from a manager who takes a leaders’ vision and strategy and converts it into processes, policies, directives, and rules.

If you like to learn more about the development of this core, I recommend Henry Cloud’s book ‘Integrity’, Jim Collins ‘Good to Great’, Richard Boyartzis ‘Resonant Leadership’, and John Kotter’s ‘Our Iceberg is melting’. If you learn better with a story, you might want to start with Steve Farber’s ‘Radical Leap’.

In any case, ask yourself what you can do to develop a positive, resonating, caring core from which you operate, help other people succeed, and conduct your daily life. As you develop this core, you will enable yourself and those around you to come through adversity, recession, health issues, and the challenges of living and working with others with flying colors.

Don’t forget, they are packing your parachute – so you better treat them well and appreciate their focus and accuracy, so you will live another day and have a chance to be the beacon they require for direction in life.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

Dr. Axel Meierhoefer


Why Your Business Will Need a Mobile Management System

July 31, 2012

Mobile technology has advanced leaps and bounds over the last decade; smartphones are being grasped tightly and apps downloaded constantly. Mobile phones have become a lot more than just telephones, to the point where companies are now portable and able to work on the go with the use of 3GS connectivity. This is known as mobilizing a workforce, and although it is not always applicable to all industries, it is on the rise, within many trade services in particular.

Taking a look at the electrical trade for example will show you how stringently controlled the sector is, with customers expecting high level performance in a timely fashion. This means businesses have to report accurately on any work carried out, so efficiency can be monitored and business can be progressive. One key element of the effective mobile workforce is the emergence of digital signature capture and photographic evidence to ensure work is of the highest standard.

By mobilizing your workforce you are able to remotely manage your team and document the work with thorough reports that are accessible from anywhere.

Engineers of many fields can benefit from mobile technologies, to be able to compete with the tough competition often found in the industry. Management can monitor employees’ use of the mobile workforce software and take action on mistakes made when inputting data. Job scheduling is made easier and more reliable, ensuring both the employees and customers are kept happy.

Corporate environmental awareness is becoming a key topic circulating across many media forms, so companies are being pressured into a greater awareness of their waste. Mobile waste management is in place to reduce carbon emissions and increase staff efficiency, which in turn saves the business money.

Your workforce on the frontline are not the only ones who benefit from mobile technology; it is the internal departments such as the accountants, human resources and office management that also benefit too. All of these key players in your business also benefit by allowing staff to take the office with them. Mobile applications allow bosses to manage their teams, ensuring each team member’s accountability.
Paper-based work becomes streamlined, meaning efficient and environmentally-friendly business all-round.

Nobody can doubt that mobile technology is the future, and we all know that companies that evolve with technology survive through tough times. Stay in touch with mobile technology and benefit from its many possibilities.

Tom Clark writes on a variety of topics including mobile workforce management – http://www.gomobilize.co.uk/.


How to Buy and Save Time

July 25, 2012

A few years back I was involved in a study conducted by the RAND Corporation.  Among a lot of other things they wanted to know was the simple question: “How do you avoid getting overwhelmed when many projects and demands occur all at the same time?”

As I had said then and keep saying these days whenever a client or organization seems overwhelmed: ‘Gain or Buy yourself a Week’. You might reply: “That’s easier said then done”!

Not really. As soon as work and demands increase, you will find that there are things you really don’t like to do. Not only do these things distract from what you are really interested in, they also take time away from the tasks, and things you are really good and efficient at.

For most people, the work week is calculated at 40 hours, even though many of us actually spend more time then that at work.  On the other hand we have more and more flexible work schedules to accommodate an aging work force and the demands of work and family life balance.

You can take advantage of this flexibility and Buy yourself a Week. Think of it this way. You can easily find individuals with the skill you need. They are good at filing, paperwork, administrative work, making calls, helping with the mail, and on and on and on. In most areas you can find individuals who are thankful for $10 – $12 per hour, if the schedule is flexible. To gain a week per month for yourself, you are only looking at 10-12 hours per week in support.

Adding it all up, you pay $400 – $500 a month (4 weeks x 10-12 hours x $10 per hour). Think about how much more effective you will be if you don’t have to do the things you aren’t good at. Can you make $400 – $500 in 40 extra hours a week doing what you’re good at? If the answer is yes, then by all means, Buy yourself a Week and do what you are good at, while enjoying the help of someone who likes to do what you dread doing. If nothing else, you can Buy yourself a Week of vacation for about $450. That’s a steal…

Try it, you will be amazed how nice it is to know that stuff that normally piles up and makes you inefficient can get done without pain. This would be one way to make it easier and keep yourself, your boss, manager, or leader happy at the same time.

Dr. Axel Meierhoefer


Having a Mentor

July 24, 2012

A mentor is defined as:
A wise and trusted counselor or teacher. An influential senior sponsor or supporter.

It’s very useful to have a mentor as you are engaged in your journey and at all points of choice along the way.

Mentors shortcut your learning curve and save you precious time and money. They can also keep you from riding the trains that won’t take you where you want to go!

Think of it this way:

M= Mastery
E= Experience & Excellence
N=Network
T=Trust
O=Opportunities
R=Relax & Realize

Want to start a mentoring program in your organization or improve on the one you already have in place? Then , consider our Mentoring as a Leadership Skill course. We will teach your leaders how to be a highly effective mentor, adding value to your organization, creating a culture of  growth and support while increasing your bottom line.

Dr. Axel Meierhoefer


How to Avoid the Loneliness Hole

July 23, 2012

Have you ever attended an event, participated in a class or course, bought yourself a guided home-study program and caught yourself not really achieving what you had hoped it would do for you? We have several times.

One nice part of attending is the enjoyment of the new people participants get to encounter, the atmosphere focusing on the topic at hand for a few days. In case of regular classes or calls, we learned these scheduled events bring the mind back to a topic on a regular basis, although its’ harder to be in the subject over the phone than being in tune when being physically present.

Regardless if the event has the purpose to sell something or really the goal to teach something new, it is almost always the start of a change process, not the end. It requires us to make a commitment to ourselves to use the positive vibe and energy we have when we leave and part ways with the group of like-minded people. During the drive or flight home we still feel this momentum and drive to move forward.

Some of us actually take action the next day trying to keep the flow going. Many have concentrated so hard on the topic for several days that they feel exhausted when they return into the known environment. It’s almost like a muscle ache after a marathon. So what do we do?

We take a break from the topic or subject. We might call it reflection, but for the most part, it is taking a break, relaxing our mind, as well as our body. A few days later, when we find the binders, books, brochures, CD’s, DVD’s, and receipts from our trip, we are reminded that we actually had made a promise to ourselves. We wanted to take action and apply the great system we had heard and learned about.

This is when the Loneliness-Hole is opening up. While we were at the event, all the other folks we had gotten to know were with us. They had good ideas, they told us what they would do when they came home, they provided energy and momentum to us – where had they gone?
Often we try for some time to get going, but suddenly all the stuff we have and learned looks more like a mountain we need to climb. All the ideas we had are now countered with arguments why they might not work – and the energy we felt seems to have vanished.

Otto Scharmer talks about the power of Sensing. It is part of his theory. In a nutshell it looks and describes the process we go through when we calm down, focus on a topic or object, explore all its facets and aspects, and begin to understand its place, its function and how it fits into the bigger whole of the environment. Many scientists call this environment “The Field”.

What happens in the field is what will help anybody to get out of the Loneliness-Hole or avoid falling into the Loneliness-Hole in the first place. It requires the energizing of the heart to trigger a feeling. Like described at the beginning, we know how it feels to by in synch with a group of like minded people. We know how awesome it is to know that there is help, understanding, energy to spare, focus.

What we also find is that things seem to slow down. We can shed all the other things that seem to occupy our minds and our time normally. We can explore the details, and we can open up. This feeling is actually happening when we transition from thinking and sensing with our brain towards thinking and sensing with our heart.

We begin to resonate with the people around us. We see ourselves both as observers of the system as well as participants in it. We have all these ideas flowing out of us and the folks around us that seem unique, great, and helpful. We can really see and feel that the team/group and its innovations is greater than the sum of its parts. The experience is factual and emotional all at the same time.

That feeling is what we are missing when we fall into the Loneliness-Hole.

What can we do about it? You want to actually not only commit to steps, actions and change to yourself, but also to a group of people at the event or meeting, before it is over. Rather than trying to absorb the whole system, all the new ideas and opportunities, and execute them yourself, make a commitment to set up a regular event with a group of 5-7 people. This is similar to a master-mind group.

The best thing would be to have a facilitator who actually knows what the concept, content or area of interest of the event or meeting was. That way such a facilitator or coach can help you find your way back to the energy and emotions that gave you so much drive and readiness for action. We are actually working on introducing these kinds of group-coaching and facilitation groups as a services because the energy and creativity that comes out of them is very amazing.

If you don’t have anybody who can act as a facilitator or group coach, you want to establish a rotation in your group so that one person takes the lead for one month at a time facilitating the conference calls. Yes, you can do this over the phone or Skype/Internet messenger. You don’t have to be in the same place. The most important thing for such a group to be successful is to be able to bring the memories, feelings, goals and thoughts form the original event back into your mind and your heart.

If you practice this process, you will learn that you can begin to channel the field energy towards other things as well. One member of the group might go through and illness, a family member might have an accident and needs support to recover, someone might have to take a test or pass an exam. All these tings can benefit from the positive energy of thoughts that each group member can send to the affected person.

Learning how to find the energy, renew the emotions and good feelings, activate the field or keep it energized outside of the meetings and calls, is easier with a facilitator or a coach, but you can also do it yourself. Most importantly, setup the group and make the commitment while you are at the event, still in the training facility, during a project definition retreat, etc.

If you follow this process and make the commitment to the group, you will avoid ever again falling into the Loneliness-Hole.

That by itself is already a great improvement over most cases. The other great benefit of this process is the fact that you will actually get the full benefit of the event you attended and possibly spend considerable money on. And you will keep learning from the members of your group, bounce of some of your ideas, find solutions for things that didn’t work when you tried them, and most importantly, celebrate all the small and big wins you will encounter when you take action based on what you learned.

Dr. Axel Meierhoefer