Take 5 With Pinnacle – Steven

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Pinnacle Team Events facilitator tick then you have come to the right place! Each month we will be taking 5 minutes to chat with each of our facilitators about their lives both inside and outside of work.

Photo of Steven Pawson

What I love about being a Pinnacle Facilitator:
The excitement and enthusiasm at each event. Our teams camaraderie!

How long I have been working for Pinnacle: 
12 years.

My favourite Pinnacle team event to facilitate:
Casino Night / Carnivale (a close game gets me so enthralled….)

Most embarrassing moment as a Pinnacle facilitator:
Misjudging a storm cell on the radar as moving away from the activity at Magenta….need I say more.

My favourite hobbies are:
Swimming, scuba, working on old cars, surfing, kite-surfing, learning french, repairing cigarette lighters, yachting, wine.

Band I’m listening to at the moment/podcast recommendation:
Dave Matthews band

What was the last book you read?:
Don’t forget to sing in the lifeboats.

Favourite holiday?:
Stockton.

Have you ever had a nickname?:
Pawso.

I am frightened by _____ :
Lightning / bluebottles with long tentacles.

Favourite movie of all time:
Dumb and dumber.

First concert I went to:
Daryl Braithwaite.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:
On a boat.

What makes you angry:
Irresponsible dog owners/ getting stung by bluebottles with long tentacles 

What makes you laugh the most:
A good, solid, well placed dad joke.

What song would you sing at karaoke night?:
Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’.

Top Team Building Ideas for the Blue Mountains

Located just 90 minutes west from Sydney, the World-Heritage-listed Blue Mountains has some of the country’s most breathtaking natural attractions.

Panorama towards Grand Canyon from Echo point and three sisters rocks formation to central plato above eucalyptus trees on sunny morning.

The temperature during the Winter months is quite cool, averaging at around 5C. During this time, groups tend to opt for indoor activities or if they do decide to venture outside, do so during the day whilst the sun is high in the sky. Summer days can be quite mild at around 18C; however, we would still recommend rugging up at night. Outdoor activities work well during this time and regardless of the time of year – with the right attitude and the appropriate clothing (layers!) there’s no reason why groups wouldn’t love an explore around the local sights!

We’ve put a list together of our top team building ideas for the Blue Mountains for your next conference offsite:

Blue Mountains Explorer

The Explorer is an Amazing Race / Treasure Hunt style of program based around the local area surrounding your conference venue. The event is an action-packed 2 – 4-hour adventure that takes in all the sites of the Blue Mountains (including the Three Sisters) where each team is driven around the area in a minibus undertaking team challenges. Speed is not always the deciding factor with a strong emphasis on route selection, problem-solving skills and team effectiveness at each of the activities.

Teams of delegates will aim to find various ‘roadblocks’ hidden around the local area. Each team has a mini bus and driver who follow clues to find the roadblock activity sites. Awaiting the groups at each station are team-based activities that range from Laser Clay Shooting & Archery to Wine & Chocolate Tasting.

Upon completing each station, teams are given the next clue to their next destination. This event usually starts at the conference venue and finishes either at an off-site dinner location or back at the conference venue.

Scenic World Challenge

The Scenic World Challenge is an event designed specifically for groups conferencing in the beautiful Blue Mountains. The event takes place within Scenic World – a popular tourist destination that is home to the famous: Skyway, Cableway + Railway rides.

Delegates will be divided into teams that compete to outscore their opponents at various challenges spread around Scenic World. Teams will aim to score points at 4 Roadblock Activity sites strategically positioned around Scenic World so that the teams must ride Skyway, Cableway + Railway to reach these destinations.

Delegates will be given a daily pass to use all Scenic World experiences: Skyway, Cableway, Railway and Walkway to transport the teams between the various challenges. The event will be tailored to suit your outcomes, time frame and the venue to ensure the Scenic World Challenge exceeds all expectations. We will work in conjunction with Scenic World to ensure the event is appropriate for the logistics of time and numbers moving through the “rides”.

Roadblock Activities options include: Number Triangle, Nailed it, Eddy the Egg + Shape Shifter

Mini Olympics

The Mini Olympics is a fun activity that provokes competitiveness and plenty of laughter and doesn’t intimidate participants who may be lacking in sporting or physical prowess.

The event involves teams rotating around various sports such as Volleyball, Frisbee, Catapult Firing, T-Ball, Team Tennis, Dodge Ball, Kick Tennis, Sand Scrabble and many more. The options are endless and only dependent on the venue and the size of the group. Activities will be tailored to suit the location.

Each team participates in all of the activities and team scores are tallied to provide an overall winner. In a ceremony at the conclusion of the activity the winning team is presented with Olympic style gold medal medallions.

Laser Clay

Experience the thrill and excitement of shooting clay pigeons as they fly through the air.

This dynamic and interactive activity uses authentic 12-gauge shotguns that have been converted to fire laser beams. Clays with Omni-directional tape are fired from the launcher – when the shooter scores a hit the beam is reflected back to the gun and registers a hit on the electronic scoreboard.

This activity is very popular and loads of fun for males and females of all ages, fitness levels and ability.

Escape

Can your team escape? This exciting Escape the Room challenge is the ultimate team building event that will test the sharpest minds. Each team is “locked” in a room with a set time frame in which to escape before the world as we know it ceases to exist. Teams must follow the clues, solve the puzzles and unlock the secrets to ESCAPE!

For teams to be successful they must communicate, think outside the box, work together, admit to their mistakes and believe they can succeed. All this under extreme time pressure as each team has only 90 minutes to uncover the 8-digit code that will ultimately allow them to escape the room.

This event can be tailored to suit any size group by adding more rooms for more teams. We recommend each team is between 8 – 12 people with each team requiring 1 room. Rooms can be conference rooms, hotel rooms, offices, boardrooms etc. Pinnacle requires 30 minutes in each room prior to the event to set up.

Grape to Glass

Discover the sommelier within! Pinnacle can provide you with your very own Hunter Valley Winemaker who is willing to divulge the secret ingredients and methods required to get the perfect wine from “Grape to Glass”. This unique and hands on activity will have you smelling, swirling and spitting as teams learn to create their very own winning blend. However, the taste alone won’t make you a winner…how often have you bought a bottle of wine based on the sexy label? Teams will also compete to create the greatest label that best reflects their fabulous drop.

Design and flavour are of paramount importance if you want to be the days “Grape to Glass” winning team… But of course, the competition wouldn’t be complete without the perfect sales pitch to your thirsty audience. A bottle of the winning blend complete with winning label design will be distributed to every member of the group to drink as they wish.

Helping Hampers

Give back to the community in this amazing working bee event. Delegates are given the task of turning a room full of boxed toys, dry goods and gifts into hampers for needy families. Pinnacle provides everything from the contents to the hampers to the wrapping and individualised cards to be written by your delegates to the family receiving that hamper. An overwhelming sense of pride and achievement will fill the room as the charity partner presents a thankyou speech on behalf of the families.
Pinnacle will liaise with you to ensure that the event is tailored to your company. We can include your products and we can partner with your preferred charity group to ensure that the event has maximum impact. Often companies like to include the delegates beforehand by holding a charity drive within the workplace to include more toys and alike ….. the options are endless.

Team Activities that Boost Communication

For a team to be successful, strong and effective communication is paramount. When employees understand the goals of the company and feel like their opinions matter, they are far more likely to reach their potential which means an increase in productivity.

Communication also refers to more than just talking. It’s about connecting with people. How can you encourage effective communication in your workplace?

  • Have an open-door policy. People need to feel comfortable with approaching management when they have a question or concern.
  • Encourage questions & curiosity. Employees need to feel safe and comfortable that they can ask questions without feeling any kind of embarrassment or criticism.
  • Avoid time wasting. No one enjoys attending the weekly work meeting going over a topic that does not relate to their role. Ensure that meetings and one-on-one catchups are utilised efficiently.
  • Don’t overuse email. Sometimes a question is better answered with a quick face-to-face chat.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to connect. Pinnacle has a range of Team Activities specially designed to help boost communication in teams. See below for our top picks:

Outdoor Activities:

Amazing Race

Teams with the best communication will thrive in this challenge! The Amazing Race is an action-packed adventure where teams navigate their way around the conference resort or local area undertaking team-based challenges.

Once teams have collectively decided on their route selection they will make their way to the activity sites, where they will be further challenged in a series of lateral thinking, problem solving tasks including:

Number Triangle – Nine numbered tiles are laid out in a triangle shape. The team moves the tiles so that the addition of the numbers is equal on each side

Pyramids – Teams are racing to rebuild a pyramid that can only be structured from bottom to top.

Shape Shifter – Using memory and instinct teams must recreate a series of original shapes

Skyscraper – Teams must work together to build a lofty skyscraper using all seven building blocks without the structure toppling over.

Eddy the Egg – Teams construct a space capsule device out of straws and tape to catch a raw egg dropped from 2 metres.

Survivor

A great activity for seeing how your team communicates under pressure! This fun and competitive team event is based on the hit TV show Survivor. To begin, delegates will be separated into their teams known as tribes. Then the competition begins! The tribes will compete against each other at a series of “Survivor Style” team challenges. These challenges focus more on lateral thinking/problem solving/teamwork than strength.

Points are awarded for the winning tribe at each challenge with the tribe with the highest score at the conclusion of the event heading to tribal council in the best position. Unlike the TV Show, tribes will not vote members out of their team, instead, teams will vote to determine the overall winner! This is a fun and engaging team event that ensures collaboration, communication, problem solving and teamwork. Example challenges include:

Cubes – Can your team solve this 3D Rubix Cube?

Wonder Word – Using 9 letters teams must make as many words as possible with bonus points of the 9 letter word.

Nailed It – It appears impossible however if you think outside the square you can balance 12 nails on just one nail head.

Zoom – Teams must arrange the order of the famous picture story Zoom.

Bamboo Towers – Teams build a free standing tower using bamboo sticks and display their team number at the top. The winners are the team with the highest tower

Water Pipeline – A challenge whereby teams are issued with equipment to construct a pipeline that must transport 2 litres of water from A to B. The team that successfully manages to transport the most water in the time frame will win!

Project Pipeline

Are you looking for an event that will get your WHOLE TEAM WORKING AS ONE? Project Pipeline is a team challenge that requires participants to consider their own goals, the goals of their work team and the goals of the entire company.

This is a challenging construction task that divides the company into working teams. Each team will be assigned a country and the task of building a pipeline to deliver a precious resource from one side to the other. On top of managing time, resources and personnel to build their Country’s, pipeline teams will also need to negotiate and innovate to connect their pipeline to their neighbouring Country’s creating one continuous pipeline. Teams will need to work against time and conflicting objectives to achieve the whole company goal.

Delegates will have great fun, planning, negotiating, inventing and competing against the other Country’s to create their Pipeline. By the completion of the project, the whole group will have built a long and winding pipeline that is put to the test when the precious resources are sent down the line.

Indoor Activities:

Escape

Can your team escape? This exciting Escape the Room challenge is the ultimate team building event that will test the sharpest minds. Each team is “locked” in a room with a set time frame in which to escape before the world as we know it ceases to exist. Teams must follow the clues, solve the puzzles and unlock the secrets to ESCAPE!

For teams to be successful they must communicate, think outside the box, work together, admit to their mistakes and believe they can succeed. All this under extreme time pressure as each team has only 90 minutes to uncover the 8-digit code that will ultimately allow them to escape the room.

This event can be tailored to suit any size group by adding more rooms for more teams. We recommend each team is between 8 – 12 people with each team requiring 1 room. Rooms can be conference rooms, hotel rooms, offices, boardrooms etc. Pinnacle requires 30 minutes in each room prior to the event to set up.

Bridge to Unity

An exciting collaborative construction project with teams working in unison to design and construct an impressive bridge. Each team builds the bridge to their customer expectations while overcoming limited resources, communication barriers and strict timelines. The exciting final sees each team’s individual bridge being installed to create the huge, extended Company Bridge. The final construction is tested with a remote controlled car. A fun, engaging, hands on event with very powerful metaphors – where all departments of an organisation strive towards their own goals, but also play a vital role in the bigger picture.

Option One: 60 – 90 minutes

Teams are given equal equipment to build their section of the bridge and complete the finale activity joining all sections of the bridge. The remote controlled cars are driven by the delegates around the bridge to test the overall success of the task.

Option Two: 2 – 3 hours

Teams must earn the pieces of their bridge by successfully completing a series of team based tasks.

Corporate Drumming

Good communication starts with LISTENING. And along with making quite a lot of noise, corporate drumming will get your team doing just that. This whole activity is facilitated without our host actually speaking a word, it is all done via gestures and non-verbal communication.

Delegates will enter the conference room and will be greeted by the sounds of drumming from our team. They are invited to take a seat, pick up a drum (or another instrument) and join in. Our host facilitator will orchestrate the individual contributions of your group into one unified rhythm, through the use of layering and sound dynamics. Demonstrating although different teams may be working within their own separate groups, they can still be cohesively working together towards a larger, common goal.

Conference Venue Spotlight – Estate Tuscany

The award-winning, 4-star Estate Tuscany, set on 26 acres in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine County; focused on planning every detail ensuring a memorable and successful meeting, celebration or conference.

estate tuscany building and pool

With 2 function/conference spaces; The Fountain View Room which can be divided into 2 rooms and The Conservatory overlooking the swimming pool; a unique meeting or private dining room. Breakout rooms are also available.

38 boutique rooms, 26 Olive Grove; decorated in a guest house style with wooden sleigh beds, overlooking a bush land setting where you can be greeted by grazing kangaroos or 12 Vineyard View rooms with a contemporary style, undercover parking with arguably the most true “Hunter Valley View” of the vineyards.

Estate wide high-speed wireless Internet access providing

Estate Tuscany offers a variety in dining options in The Mill Complex recognised by the Yellowtail windmill, situated atop a ridge offering a Hunter view second to none; the Mill Restaurant for a fusion rustic a la carte meal, Brokenback BBQ & Tapas Bar for a casual affair and The Conservatory, for private dinners or cooking schools. Estate Tuscany is home to Andrew Thomas Wines cellar door and Binnorie Dairy cheese factory.

There is always a Conference Coordinator available for your needs; providing itemised programs containing all the finer details; let Tuscany take the administration out of your schedule. We will meet you on arrival and our conference host will attend to any of your needs throughout the stay; working with Estate Tuscany will ensure a seamless and successful event.

Conference Capacity: Banquet 140 Cocktail 200

Accommodation: 38 Rooms

Contact:
T: 02 4998 7288
E: [email protected]
W: estatetuscany.com.au