Meet your ODA Facilitator

Team building Facilitator Profile: Josh

Describe your team building philosophy

Josh at the base of the iconic Fitz Roy tower, in Argentine Patagonia.

I believe that events should be really fun and highly interactive, because that is usually the opposite of the work environment.

Favorite team building event or game?

Who Stole My Chicken?

Books or Books on tape?

Books on tape, I drive a lot. Although, I did recently finish reading The Emerald Mile, which was great.

Favorite place in the world?

Yosemite National Park, with all of its granite towers and green trees. I spent two months in the Yosemite backcountry and enjoy regular rock climbing trips there.

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would it be?

Aaron Rodgers or Joel Osteen – they are both class acts and role model leaders.

Favorite quote or piece of advice?

Go camping!


Four Easy steps to Improved Communication

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? Not so well? Well don’t worry, there is still plenty of time for self-improvement. Communication is one of those traits that any of us can easily improve upon at any given moment. Here are some simple ways to improve your communication skills – no daunting resolutions required.

1. Pace yourself. Be wary of using big words, long, run-on sentences and speaking too fast. People listen more slowly than they think, so give people space to consider what you are saying. Don’t be afraid to take your time when you speak.

2. On the other hand, also think about what you are saying. Make an effort to get to the point; communicating concisely so what you say is more easily retained by listeners.

3. Show respect to the listener by maintaining an attitude of consideration, caring and tact. Prior to the conversation, put yourself in your shoes, envisioning things like what they might hope to gain from and how they might interpret the exchange.

4. Make an effort, but don’t try so hard that you’re not being yourself. It’s OK to inject some personality into your conversations, which will engage the listener and help you better connect. Caring too much about how people view you puts you at risk of appearing uptight, fake or unapproachable.

Still want to keep working on those resoutions? Tips for helping make those goals stick can be found in previous blog posts:

Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for a team building game perfect for helping everyone on your team improve their communication skills.


Fumbles, Failure and Dealing with Defeat

If your ODA facilitators don’t seem as upbeat as usual this week, it’s because our favorite teams suffered some devastating losses in the recent NFL playoffs (colts and packers). The defeats are particularly difficult this year, as a playoff win would have brought a favored team to our Phoenix home for the Superbowl.

There was a particular moment in the Packers-Seahawks NFC Championship game that contained a valuable lesson for any team.

With five minutes left in the game, the Packers had the ball and a 19-7 lead on the Seattle Seahawks. What quickly became an epic collapse included a season-defining fumble.

In preparation for an outside kick, backup tight end Brandon Bostick was lined up on the left side next to Jordy Nelson, one of the best wide receivers in the league. Bostick’s job was to block the second man down. Nelson’s job is to get the ball.

“We’ve got certain guys to make these plays back there,” said cornerback Tramon Williams. “And certain guys to block.”

Instead of doing his job, Bostick jumped for the ball, which then bounced off his helmet causing a fumble.

“It wasn’t my job at all,” said Bostick, “I was supposed to block. I just ran to the ball. I felt like I had my hands on the ball. I just got hit and then I didn’t have the ball. I thought I could get it. Obviously, I couldn’t.

Bostick went onto the field as a team member. Each member was assigned a specific role and given specific instructions by their leader. Bostick took a risk in playing a role he wasn’t assigned to play and his risk backfired, to the detriment of the entire team.

Does that mean that team members should never take risks or challenge themselves? Of course not. Bostick’s mistake may have started a series of events that lead to the loss, but he was not solely responsible for the loss.

Teams are compiled of individuals, and those individuals are going to make mistakes. While those mistakes may lead to failure, other risks may lead to success. The team wins together and loses together. Ultimately, it’s up to the team to respond to mistakes in a healthy way. Use the opportunity for education and further mentoring. Support the team mate. Rise on the other side, use it to get better.

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Quotes taken from


Fear Factor

Last year we worked with a group that was led by a young manager. He had a rather strong, imposing personality. What he said, people did. While the group functioned well together, it was clear that they were somewhat intimidated by their manager.

The manager participated in the activity, joining one of the five teams competing against each other. It was clear that the manager had a difficult time getting out of “boss mode” and into the spirit of the team building activity. He had a hard time asking for help and trouble delegating responsibility. As a result of his challenges, his team placed last.

Leadership can be a scary, lonely place. It’s easy to mask insecurities by adopting an authoritative approach. While fear can be used as a short term tactic for generating a sense of urgency, it doesn’t bode well for an overall positive work environment.

If you recognized yourself in this story, you’re in a good place. Recognition is a healthy first step towards positive change. Next, spend some time brainstorming what it is that you are afraid of. Is it criticism? Failure? The burden of responsibility? Once identified, you are in a good place for taking positive steps towards change. Talk about your fears to a trusted mentor or friend. Then research strategies for overcoming your fear and put them into action. Soon you will find your team transformed.

A high ropes course is a great way to confront and release fear. Click here and here to read more.

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Surviving the Storm

Summer Storms have rocked the Phoenix metro area, stalling cars in flooded streets and leaving a mess of downed trees and mud-caked yards. In the same way, tough times – financial strain, acquisitions, PR crises– can sweep through a business, leaving employees feeling shocked and defeated.

The good news for organizations is that tough times can actually serve to galvanize teams, ultimately having a positive effect on morale. A business can use challenging times to focus internally, building company loyalty and creating high-performance teams that will position the business to be ahead of the competition when the economy rebounds.

Establishing high performance teams is a process that requires focused effort over the long term.  The term “team-building” has become so overused it’s almost meaningless, describing any group activity including the office pot-luck or Friday doughnut day.

However, strategic, professionally facilitated team activities creates trust and open lines of communication that don’t happen naturally but have real impact as a platform for other team functions such as generating vision and goal setting.

Effective team building requires more planning then simply arranging a group dinner but does not have to be as elaborate as an overnight dude ranch excursion.  A half day of in-town activity is sufficient, as long as the event is directed by a professional trained in group dynamics.  Effective events don’t leave room for cliquishness, but rather force the entire group of participants to interact and work together.

There are plenty of fun activities from paintball to rock climbing that are short but still exciting enough to leave employees feeling refreshed and create positive memories.  These memories can later be used by an office manager to trigger the learning that took place during the event.

Strategic team building events will improve the workplace atmosphere and keep loyal employees on-board both when times are tough and when they aren’t.

Contact our professionals today for a team building program that gets results! or 480-788-5093

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The Value of a True Professional

As the school year starts again, think about how important professional teachers are to the education process. Our trained educators know how to keep young learners engaged by pacing the lesson, asking the right questions, incorporating the right activities. Professional team builders use similar techniques to promote practical application of the various activities teams complete together during an event. Professionals get results like:

“Our group is really bonding well thanks to your program.”

“My team had a great time – as a team we were able to find solutions and overcome obstacles.”

Sure a team can have a fun time together at Applebee’s or the bowling alley. They might get some great photos and return to the office with some good “war stories” to reminisce about but they probably won’t get much more than that out of the activity. Instead, plan an event that gets feedback like this:

“I just wanted to express my appreciation and gratitude of the work that Frank and Ryan did on Friday. They really led the group in an encouraging and positive manner and we had a great time.”

“Great job last week! Lots of fun and definitely high impact.”  

When the group is left to their own devices the purpose of the day can quickly disintegrate. A facilitator won’t impede the group from having a good time, but they will do it while maintaining focus on strategy and collaboration.

Contact our professionals today for a team building program that gets results! or 480-788-5093

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Four Ways to Motivate Your Team

Quick – take a mental break from your work and think about one thing you most enjoy doing when you are off the clock.

Chances are, you are motivated to participate in that leisure time activity for different reasons than motivate you on the job. There are many types of motivators, or elements that drive us towards a given behavior. Motivation can be external, like the reward of a paycheck for completing our job, or internal, like the feeling of guilt caused when we don’t complete what’s expected of us.

The type of motivator most commonly associated with our selection of leisure activities is intrinsic, meaning we perform an activity for the behavior itself and the positive feelings derived from it.

There are four main categories of intrinsic motivation:

Physical. Active leisure pursuits like sports, dance and gardening, meet our needs for achieving physical health and wellness.

Social. Because we do not want to feel alone, we are attracted to activities that provide companionship, support, intimacy or feelings of being connected to a greater cause and community.

Psychological. A desire for excitement, challenge, escape, relaxation and stress relief are among the many psychological factors that contribute to our leisure preferences.

Emotional. Leisure is a major contributor to emotional health, as it can provide strong feelings of pleasure and satisfaction as well as serving as a healthy outlet for emotions which otherwise might produce distress. Emotions connected to leisure activity include happiness and well being, intellectual development and spiritual growth.

Can you identify which of these factors is the reason behind your preferred leisure activities? (There may be more than one.) Can this self-awareness be useful to you on the job, seeking out tasks that will keep you engaged and productive? What about in assigning tasks to your team? Those same factors that motivate us off work, will motivate us on the job also.

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Keepin’ Up the Kindness

Last month, in honor of Valentine’s, this space was dedicated to promoting workplace acts of kindness. But nurturing an atmosphere of goodwill, doesn’t have to limited to one month a year. Kindness is not difficult. It doesn’t require any money, any training, any real effort, and you can start right away, either individually or as a team.

Here are some more tips to encourage those good habits:

Spread the Word. Let others know of your commitment to being kind to everyone you encounter, from vendors to clients to clients. It’s OK to keep it simple; remembering to say please and thank you, or make an effort to offer help.

Make it competitive. Remember those games your mom used to play, making you give five complements for every criticism or putting a quarter in a jar every time you say something mean? Why not implement some of those same practices?

Start at the beginning. In these days of understaffing, new employees are often thrown into the fire with minimal welcome. Reverse the trend by taking a genuine interest in new employees, and an interest in helping them become successful.

You’ll soon find the benefits of a more benevolent workplace are worth the investment. Sign up for our newsletter for exercises that can be used to promote kindness. Return to the One Day Adventures home page


Random Acts of Kindness

Let’s face it; Valentine’s Day can be awkward at the office. We want to make a good impression and acknowledge our coworkers on holidays but the romantic nature of Valentine’s makes it tricky to do so without getting HR involved.

Why not use the thoughtfulness of Valentine’s Day to encourage random acts of kindness and caring. Given we spend around 2000 hours a year with our colleagues and they can affect our well-being. There are plenty of ways to use the positive feelings generated in February to improve the wellbeing of your team.  Here are some (HR approved) ways to get started.

Commit to Kindness

Try one kindness initiative at a time—for example, regularly saying thank you or offering to help a co-worker at least once a day—and see if you can get the kindness bug to spread.

Nix the negativity

It’s easy to get slip into negativity as a default behavior at work. We hear others being negative so we join in to stay out of the crossfire. We all need to remind ourselves to stay out of that negativity and instead be kind, nice, and thoughtful.

See Everyone’s Strengths

Seek to find value in what each of your teammates brings to the table – remember that there is a reason each of them was hired.

Call off the clique

Believe that everybody works hard—even if they are separated by building, business function or geography. Try a little kindness with the people who work in other divisions and you might be surprised how it actually makes things better for you.

Find Some Fun

Previous posts have discussed the positive effects of playing games and laughing together as a team. Subscribe to our newsletter for some games to do on your own, or contact ODA at to plan an event.


Lessons from the Field

The next time someone tells you that you watch too much football—tell them you’re working! Effective leadership and high performing teams possess many similarities, whether the goal is a trophy or revenue. There are plenty of business lessons to be learned from the sport of football.

A good coach, just like a good manager, promotes cooperation and teamwork. They regularly reassess their game plan, and make adjustments if necessary. They have to know the competition and how to best deploy team members and strategy to come out ahead. They have to communicate that strategy and motivate the team to effectively follow through.

There are examples within the organization as well, particularly in production-related organizations and factories that function similar to a football team. For example, they have an offensive line—production, maintenance, planning and scheduling, and marketing groups—and a defensive line–human resources, health and safety, and environmental protection groups.

Just like there are many skill positions on a football team, your business team needs people with a variety of talents to be able to compete. You need:

  • visionaries, who see the long term;
  • leaders, who define the mission and motivate others;
  • implementers, who make things happen; and
  • infrastructure builders and supporters, who keep the operation running.

Even in a team sport like football has many individual challenges. Take the goal-kicker. That is all he does, but the team relies upon him for points. In order to compete, there must be players to fill every role. Team members are more that just “team players,” they are talented individuals whose inputs feed into the team’s success.

Watching for leadership and team lessons in a football game can provide some great learning. And encouraging your business team to do the same, can be a great way to encourage conversation and team building. Subscribe to our newsletter for some tips on facilitating an activity.

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