Team Building: Success vs Fail

Team building is one of the most important investments you can make for your team and when executed correctly, can have long lasting positive effects on your employee’s productivity, performance and general happiness at work. So, how do you ensure that your next team building event is a success?

Fear

Set Clear Goals

One of the first questions you should be asking is WHY are we holding this event. Do you want to get everyone energised and excited about the year ahead? Do you have specific focus areas such as wanting your group to work on communication & collaboration? Or you may simply be wanting to get your employees together for a bit of mingling, general ‘team building’ & fun. Whatever the reason, it’s important that the outcome you’re wanting to achieve becomes the focus of the activity. Once you’ve narrowed down what your desired outcomes are, talk to us about which team building programs would be best or how we can tailor an activity to suit.

Know Your Participants

Just as team building can fall short when the goals & outcomes are not in alignment, similar issues come up if your specific participants are not taken into account. Puzzle-solving might be fun for brainy participants but could bore those who prefer to be more active. On the other hand, athletic activities may delight some but send others into a panic. This requires looking at questions such as the level of physicality attendees would be comfortable with, and what their roles are within the organisation. Generally, unless otherwise instructed by you, our activities are designed to suit participants from a wide range of demographic i.e. ages, fitness levels & interests. This way, everyone in your team feels comfortable contributing and no one feels disengaged or excluded.

Don’t Embarrass Your Employees

Leading on from knowing your participants, the last thing a company should want to do is push participants so far outside of their comfort zone that they feel alienated or even embarrassed. There are many horror stories out there about team building that have given it a bad rap. A few of our favourite ‘team building fails’ include:

The Trust Fall

Arguably the most infamous team building exercise in the history of team building! An activity whereby a person closes their eyes, crosses their arms, and blindly falls backwards into the arms of a colleague. An exercise that on the surface generates warm & fuzzy feelings of building support & trust between co-workers but in reality, involves a lot of unwanted touching, invasion of personal space & possible injury when your colleagues fail to catch you.

Paintball

It’s hard to perceive how shooting other members of your team with hard pellets covered in paint could be deemed as remotely related to ‘team building’. If you want to create a sense of team camaraderie, any activity that insights violence towards others is not the way to do so & will have the absolute opposite effect.

Face Your Fears – Ropes Course

For an active, outdoorsy person with no fear of heights, a ropes course may sound like a great idea for a team event. Once again, a successful team event is all about knowing your participants. Just because you might be into something doesn’t mean that everyone in your team will feel comfortable. We’ve heard many horror stories about employees paralysed by fear on a ropes course and either refusing to participate in the challenge at all OR giving it their best with the result being plenty of tears & embarrassment.

Our tips:

  • Don’t choose activities that might violate people’s dignity, privacy, or personal space.
  • Something you might enjoy with your buddies on the weekend isn’t always appropriate for the workplace.
  • The purpose of team building is for everyone to feel comfortable to contribute & included – not the opposite!

Incorporate a Debrief

A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review showed that teams who host even an unstructured debrief have a 22% higher chance of succeeding than a team that didn’t do one. So, we can see that even a quick, informal debrief can have such a greatly positive impact on the way we do work. To learn more about how to incorporate a debrief into your next activity, check out our blog post, Team Building Activity Debrief.

Top team building ideas for Southern Highlands

With heritage towns amid rolling green hills and unspoilt bush and located a short 90-minute drive from Sydney, the Southern Highlands is a conference offsite destination your delegates won’t soon forget. And due to the recent bush fires, the Southern Highlands needs your help now more than ever – and you can do this by simply booking your next conference offsite in the Southern Highlands region.

Southern Highlands

“Come visit with us, stay with us and spend with us. Enjoy everything our beautiful region has to offer including our wonderful places to stay, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, cellar doors and local produce to take home.”
Visit Southern Highlands talking about their ‘Share the Love’ bushfire recovery campaign.

Similarly, you may have already heard of the ‘Empty Esky’ movement. Empty Esky is a national movement of foodies and adventurers on a mission to support small businesses affected by the Australian fires. The concept is simple, they are encouraging everyone to grab an empty esky, embark on a road trip to a fire-affected town (when it’s safe to do so) and to stock up with produce and wares purchased from local traders. Check out their website to peruse the many small businesses that have registered as being affected by the fires.

The first thing you will need to organise for your conference offsite is of course your venue. Check out the venues listed on our website under South Coast & Southern Highlands to get you started, then chat to us if you’d like to discuss our venue recommendations further. We’ve then put together a list of our top team building ideas for the Southern Highlands to help assist with your organising. We have even included our bespoke Southern Highlands Explorer which sees teams venture around the local area visiting wineries & local producers all the while participating in a team activity – so make sure you pack your empty eskies!

Southern Highlands Explorer

The Southern Highlands is a breathtaking plateau of scenic countryside littered with remarkable things to do, see and experience. For corporate groups to fully explore this area Pinnacle Team Events can tailor a program to suit your requirements.

The Southern Highlands Explorer event would transport teams of delegates to various locations where they undertake challenges that see them interacting with the best the Highlands has to offer.

Experiences include: The Bradman Museum, The Illawarra Fly Walk, Southern Highlands Wines, Red Cow Farm, Montrose Berry Picking, Farm Club Café and much more.

This event usually starts at the conference venue and finishes either at an off-site dinner location or back at the conference venue. Delegates can be transported in mini buses, coaches or company cars. The whole event is tailored to suit your delegates, time frame, location and desired experiences.

Wine Olympics

Rather than running, jumping and swimming your way to victory, teams will tackle a very different series of events – an array of winery related activities that will guarantee a good time.

This activity is also great in conjunction with our very popular Grape to Glass wine blending activity – where delegates design a label and blend your very own company wine that will be bottled and delivered to you post event.

Example Challenges:

  • Grape Stomping – Teams race against each other to stomp enough grapes to fill a wine bottle.
  • Cork Toss – Each team receives a box of corks which they must throw into a barrel with the aim of outscoring opponents.
  • Waiter Relay – Teams race against each other whilst carrying a tray of wine glasses
  • Grape Catapults – Teams fire bunches of grapes via replicated catapults towards a landing zone where strategically positioned team members await ready to catch

Amazing Race

The Amazing Race On Site is an action packed adventure where teams navigate their way around the conference resort undertaking team based challenges. Speed is not always the deciding factor with an emphasis on teamwork, planning, problem-solving and of course having fun.

Teams will be issued with a map of the resort and cryptic clues to various locations hidden around the grounds. Awaiting the groups at each location are team-based activities known as “roadblocks” that will be tailored to suit your outcomes and the venue.

All teams converge at the finale location at the same time for a final all-in team challenge before prizes are awarded to the victors!

Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting

Experience the thrill and excitement of shooting clay pigeons as they fly through the air in this safe and entertaining team activity.

This dynamic and interactive event uses authentic 12-gauge shotguns that have been converted to fire harmless laser beams. Clays with Omni-directional tape are fired from the launcher – when the shooter hits their target 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. Usually this event will be structured with a team’s competition for the first hour followed by an individual shootout at the end.

The system is great for groups up to 40 people. If you have a larger group, we suggest having 2 sets or pairing this event with Archery to eliminate down time where participants are not actively involved.

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.

Murder Mystery Night

A murder mystery is a fun and extremely silly game of ‘whodunit’ hosted by the MURDER CO team. The aim of the game is very simple; solve a murder before the guilty party strikes again. What makes this activity truly special is that your guests play the chief murder suspects.

Everyone who attends a murder mystery plays a part in the investigation. Once we have some basic details about your event, we will send out character sheets for you to distribute to your guests. Each character sheet contains clear and simple instructions about the murder mystery and how to play.

Trivia Night

This isn’t your average pub trivia. Pinnacle is ingenious at tailoring this interactive trivia challenge to any group. It will prove to be unlike any other trivia night you have ever attended. The games we play throughout the night are hysterical and we can guarantee that your delegates will be laughing from start to finish.

Between each round of questions, the tables volunteer delegates to participate in crazy challenge activities (which makes the evening very interactive). Music trivia, movie, and TV sound tracks are on the menu as well as IQ/Brainteasers.

We will fit in with the agenda of the evening and usually fill the space between the entree and the main, the main and the dessert. At the completion of the event the results are tallied up and prizes are presented to the winning team.

New Year’s Resolutions

We are already 3 weeks into the New Year, have you already broken all of your New Year’s resolutions? Or failed to even set any? If you have, you are part of the majority. Studies show that the rate for failing New Year’s resolutions is around 80%.

The most common New Year’s resolutions are focused more on personal goals such as be healthier & exercise more, or be nicer to people or give more to charity. But what about at work? Setting goals for the year is the hallmark of good business everywhere!

Step One: Reflect

It might seem obvious, but many teams forget to take the time to review the year that was. Psychotherapist Esther Perel states that the New Year is a great time to be forward-thinking about who you want to be; but it’s also a great time to look back at what you’re ready to let go of. Put simply, the best way to set goals for the year ahead is to go back & reflect on the previous year i.e. what worked well & what wasn’t so successful.

If you’re unsure where to start, performing a simple SWOT analysis of your business will give you plenty of information to get going. We’ve included a template from Wordstream as a guideline below, however there’s an abundance of information online about performing a SWOT analysis:

Step Two: Identify Your Goal & Purpose

According to the famous Tony Robbins, there are two key questions that you need to ask yourself for compelling goal planning: identify your goals & identify your purpose.

  1. Identify Your Goals: What do you really want? What is the exact objective you desire? A promotion at work? To take up daily meditation? In order to set achievable goals, you need to have a clear outcome in mind.
  2. Identify your purpose: Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it bring you? Will that promotion give you the financial freedom you desire? In order to keep your goals, you need to ask the right questions and seek real change in your life. If you know what you’re moving toward, you’ll find ways to make it happen by learning how to set goals.

Step Three: Set SMART Goals

You may have already heard of SMART goal setting as it is so widely used as a successful guideline for goal setting. See below:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time Bound

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralise yourself and erode your confidence.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

SMART guideline via MindTools

Happy New Year and Good Luck!

Team Building & Giving Back

Since October last year we have been inundated with enquiries from clients wanting to find out how they can incorporate a charity-style team activity into their upcoming conference – primarily with the desire to give back to those affected by the bushfire crisis.

We have spoken previously on our blog about what Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means and the importance both employees and customers place on working for and spending their money with businesses that prioritise CSR. Put simply, CSR refers to a company’s efforts to improve society in some way. This doesn’t always mean a donation to charity; CSR can relate to any kind of improvement effort such as creating a more sustainable workplace.

There has always been a high demand for team activities that incorporate CSR however as mentioned above, with the prevalence of the current bushfire crisis we have found more and more companies are wanting to include this in their conference as part of their organised team activity.

Bushfire Relief

The NSW Office of Emergency Management has recently advised that monetary donations are the most useful & valuable way to help those affected by the bushfire crisis. The RFS has also requested that people don’t donate any items such as food or water to local brigades as they have everything they need at this point in time.

“The best way is to donate money. This allows people to buy the things they need, and it supports local businesses which have also been impacted. We know many people want to donate physical items such as food and clothing but these take up much needed community space.”
NSW RFS

The NSW Office of Emergency Management has encouraged people to only donate to reputable charities, as currently there are some scams involving people doorknocking or calling via phone and claiming to be or represent people who have lost their homes in the bushfires.

If your company is looking to make a donation, here is a short list of some registered charities below:


CSR Team Building Events

Based on the above comments, our activity recommendations for groups wanting to give to those affected by the bushfires are those activities where a monetary donation is made by the group to a charity representative at the conclusion of the activity. The two CSR activities that suit this format is the Race to Make a Difference & the Challenge for Charity.

The Race to Make a Difference

The Race to Make a Difference is a fast paced, action packed CSR event that culminates in the team giving back to a charity organisation. The goal for the participants is to be the team that raises the most dollars for charity.

The challenges are designed to be fun, hands on and require the team to think strategically and work together to achieve success. Teams will be issued $$$ based on their performance at each challenge site.

Ultimately the teams converge on the final location where the winners are announced and the donation to charity formalised.

How to include the Charity? We have two suggested formats:

  • Teams choose a charity that appeals to them to compete on behalf of. The winning team get to donate a cheque from your company to their nominated charity. i.e. First = $1000, 2nd = $500, 3rd = $250.
  • The company chooses the charity and all teams are competing to see what team can earn the most for that charity. Ultimately the winning team would present a cheque onto a representative of that company who is present at the finale of the event.


Example Road Block Challenges:

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.

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

Catapults – Teams fire tennis balls via replicated catapults towards a landing zone where strategically positioned team members await ready to catch.

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

Duration: 2 – 3 hours

Location: Outdoors, all areas around a resort or city/urban areas

Challenge for Charity

head shot of man with funny hate pulling a face

Challenge for Charity is a fun, high energy fundraising event where teams compete to raise the most for their chosen charity. This is an engaging way to make a Corporate Donation and involve your team in the process.

Each table becomes a team and is issued with a Charity for Challenge activity booklet. There are 45 challenges within the booklet, 15 easy, 15 medium and 15 hard. Teams work frantically to complete each page of the booklet, ripping them out and handing in to the Pinnacle staff as soon as possible. A correct page will see the delegates earn money for the charity e.g.

Easy = $2
Medium = $5
Hard = $10

At the conclusion of the activity we will introduce the charity representative to say a few words of gratitude and announce the total amount that has been donated on behalf of your client. The amounts can be adjusted to fit with your donation budget. Once the desired donation amount has been decided the challenge amounts will be worked back accordingly.

Example Challenges:

Team Mascots– Strike fear into your opponents with your team mascot to start the game!

Origami my Team– Can you follow the steps towards Origami master status?

Number Puzzle- Does your team have the smarts to crack the code?

Hidden Letter– Search high and low in your conference room for the letters and you shall find the ANSWER!

Duration: 45 mins – 2 hours

Location: Indoors with 1 x table per team

Tailor Your Own!

As always, we are happy to tailor an activity to suit your specific requirements. Please contact us to find out more information & discuss your upcoming event!

The Blue Monday Myth

Every year it is said that the third Monday of January is the gloomiest day of the year – also known as Blue Monday. As the theory goes, by the 20th January 2020 all the joy from Christmas will have faded & all we are left with is a dilapidated bank account, a bulge around our waists & we’ll be riddled with guilt that our New Year’s resolutions to be healthier, fitter & wiser have fallen by the wayside.

blue faces with one smiley face in the middle

But is Blue Monday really the saddest day of the year or is the label just a misguided PR stunt – we think so!

The concept was originally coined in 2004 by psychologist Cliff Arnall.

He came up with a “formula” for the January blues after he was asked to do so by travel firm Sky Travel, who then used the phrase in a press release to promote their winter deals.

It took into account a number of factors likely to contribute to low mood and read as follows:

blue monday formula

W = weather

D = debt

d = monthly salary

T = time since Christmas

Q = time since failing our new year’s resolutions

M = low motivational levels

Na = the feeling of a need to take action

Arnall has since confessed that the formula is essentially pseudoscience and has urged people to “refute the whole notion” of Blue Monday.

Whether Blue Monday is a real phenomenon or not, the month of January is a great time to get the team motivated and bring everyone together to kick start the new year. Strangely enough, we are almost booked out for events on Monday 20 January 2020 & are filling up fast the remainder of that week!

If you’re stuck for ideas, check out our previous blog post Team Building Ideas to Kick Off the New Year or give us a call.

Top Team Building Ideas for Summer

October is almost over and the air-conditioning wars have well & truly commenced throughout offices around Australia! Christmas holidays aren’t too far away which means the end of year deadlines are even closer – including the office Christmas party!

It is at this time of year when we become inundated with enquiries from corporate groups organising either an end of year event OR an activity to kick start the New Year. With some dates in November & December already sold out for events, if you’re interested in booking a team activity this Summer then now is the time to get busy organising!

Summer is a great time for team building, with the longer, warm, generally rain-free days great for outdoor activities & the buzz in the air for night activities. And of course, if being out in the sun isn’t your thing you can always opt for staying inside in the comfort of the A/C!

See below for our top team building ideas for Summer:

Beach Olympics

Is there anywhere you’d rather be in Summer than on one of our beautiful stretches of coastline along the East coast? And did we mention you’re benefiting your team culture at the same time? We are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to Australian beaches & they are the perfect location for a team activity. Our Beach Olympics is fun & competitive without being too overly physical. Great for groups wanting to escape the indoors & enjoy the spoils of Summer weather.

Water Taxi Treasure Hunt

Want to REALLY spoil your team this Summer? Picture this… spending your next team outing cruising the beautiful Sydney Harbour on your very own water taxi! The best part, this activity can be easily justified to the boss as your team will be competing in a series of fun, mildly physical, lateral thinking/problem solving team challenges all whilst enjoying the sights of Australia’s most famous Harbour.

Amazing Race

One of the great things about the Amazing Race is that it is an activity that can be hosted almost anywhere! Whether you’re at a conference venue or you’d like to explore somewhere totally new – the Amazing Race can be tailored to suit your requirements. Some of our most popular Amazing Race locations include the Royal Botanic Gardens & the Rocks, Bondi Beach, Coogee & Manly.

Survivor

One of our less physically active outdoor activities, the Survivor is great for groups who aren’t wanting to overly exert themselves in the Summer heat. Survivor is great for groups wanting to get down on the beach or who would prefer to stay on solid ground in a shady park with plenty of grassed areas.

Escape

Too hot to leave the cooling breeze of the A/C? Our Escape is perfect for groups wanting to stay indoors yet still partake in a fun, challenging & friendly-competition style activity. We’ve specially designed a mobile version of the famous Escape the Room challenge to suit almost any office or conference venue. All we require is one room per team of 8-12 people.

Cocktail Master Class

Do you like Pina Colada’s? Or simply enjoying a cocktail after a hard day’s conferencing? Then we have the activity for you! Cool down with a delicious cocktail & enjoy a master class in the art of mixing drinks. Your group will make four delicious cocktails throughout the duration of the class, with the first three cocktails being preselected from our list of 13 cocktails.

For the fourth and final cocktail the competition begins! Your delegates will get shaking and stirring to design their very own unique cocktail. All ingredients and equipment will be readily available to get the creative juices mixing & flowing! Teams will be judged by our Cocktail Master on taste, the enticing name of their cocktail and a sales pitch which they must present in front of the group.

Trivia Night

If you’re after some good, old-fashioned competitive fun after a day of hard work – our Trivia Night is for you! With a mix of general knowledge, music & movies trivia along with some fun challenges thrown in between there is something in our Trivia Night for everyone!

Casino Night

Add a touch of glitz & glamour to your team dinner with our Casino Night activity! Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Horse Racing, Race of the Aces & more! This activity is not just for seasoned gamblers as even novices can walk away with a big win. Our Casino Night is great for end of year celebrations or kicking off the start of the year with a bang!

The Amazing Race is Back!

After a five-year hiatus the Amazing Race Australia will be back on Australian TV screens in October 2019! If you’re a fan of the TV show, you’ll know that the television version of the Amazing Race follows teams of two as they race around the world, following clues, navigating themselves in foreign areas, interacting with locals, performing physical and mental challenges, and travel by air, boat, car, taxi, and other modes of transport. Teams are progressively eliminated at the end of most legs for being the last to arrive at designated Pit Stops. The first team to arrive at the Finish Line wins a grand prize of $250,000.

The Pinnacle Team Events Amazing Race

Although our version of the Amazing Race is quite different to the TV version, we are just a little excited to see the show back on the telly! Each year our Amazing Race activity continues to be our most popular outdoor team building event, and we are not surprised! The Amazing Race team building activity has so much to offer groups who are wanting to get together for a day of teamwork & fun.

More Inclusive

Our version of the Amazing Race differs in several ways to make the activity more inclusive & less physically demanding on your participants. Instead of racing around the world, teams navigate their way around the local area (whether that be in an urban area or your conference venue). And instead of racing & running themselves ragged, the winning team is determined by the number of points they accumulate at each of the roadblock challenge sites along the way – not the first team that reaches the finish line. This way, teams having sufficient time to make their way between each of the roadblock challenge sites without the fear of being eliminated from the competition altogether.

Larger Teams with Challenges to Suit Everyone!

Rather than teams of two people, we’ve found that teams of 6-8 people is the ideal team size. By keeping team sizes within this range, we find this provides the best environment for all members of the team to be successful as well as have their creativity, ideas, energy & experience flourish. The roadblock challenges within our Amazing Race are also varied to suit a range of strengths and abilities. From lateral thinking/problem solving style challenges such as Number Triangle (a giant mathematical Sudoku style challenge) to mild physical challenges such as Catapults (firing tennis balls via replicated catapults towards their team members in the targeted catching zone). There is something for everyone in the Amazing Race & we will often see different leaders emerge at each of the roadblock activity sites.

We have many versions of our Amazing Race on offer, see below for details:

 

The Amazing Race – classic version as described above!

Teams navigate their way around the local area undertaking team-based challenges on foot. The team with the most points at the end of the activity wins!

Water Taxi Treasure Hunt

Sydney Harbour is ranked the best harbour in the world and is the perfect backdrop for this unique team building event. The Water Taxi Treasure Hunt is a 3-hour adventure that explores the best sights of this world-famous location. Teams will be competing against each other to race to the final location and uncover their team’s treasure.

Explorer

An Amazing Race / Treasure Hunt style of program that sees teams driven around the local area undertaking experiential team challenges that range from Laser Clay Shooting & Archery to Cheese Tasting & Blind Wine Tasting. Our Explorer is available in the following areas: Hunter Valley, Southern Highlands, South Coast & Blue Mountains.

Scramble

 

A modified version of the Amazing Race suited to groups that are tight on time or budget. Similar to The Amazing Race, teams will race around the local area collecting scavenger items, completing photo missions and answering location-based questions. We will even throw in a road block activity challenge! The team with the most points at the end of the specified time will win.

To get your Amazing Race fix, the latest season will be shown on channel ten from Monday 28 October 2019 at 7:30pm OR better yet, book an Amazing Race activity for your team & experience the thrill & excitement firsthand.

Tips for Effective Communication

People have unique ways to communicate with each other. When you understand people are uniquely different based on their communication styles then you can better relate to your customers, peers and in your personal relationships. The key is to understand yourself first.

COMMUNICATION STYLES

These are not right or wrong just different and understanding this ensures a team can work with varied styles. See below for the 4 key Communication Styles:

DISC communication styles

To learn more about DISC click here.

TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Use clear, concise sentences

Your goal, whether speaking aloud or composing an email, should be to make yourself instantly and completely understood. To that end, you should avoid using big words, steer clear of run-on sentences, and avoid any unclear phrasing.

Avoid long sentences with multiple clauses and herds of commas. The longer a sentence is, the more confusing it becomes. Always keep that in mind when writing directions or project details for a colleague.

If you aren’t sure that an email is clearly worded, step away from your computer for five minutes, and then look it over with a fresh perspective.

Keep a written record

Sometimes communicating effectively involves reminding people of what they’ve already told you, and when. Having a written record of all conversations related to a current or past account can be very helpful.

This is easy with email: just make sure never to delete old emails, and use filters for effortless organisation. For meetings/calls, make sure you keep clean, easy to read notes that also include the time and date. Audio recording is also an option.

Make every comment actionable

Inevitably, there is a time in every person’s career where they get together with a group of colleagues to discuss a project or proposal, and give feedback as a group. It’s important that when you give feedback on a project, you give actionable directions…particularly you are at the top of the food chain. Otherwise, the project can stagnate and people on your team can lose momentum.

It’s the difference between:

“Someone needs to speak with our design team about using a new font.”
and

“Marcy, could you touch base with Jim in Design about our font preferences?”

Make all criticism constructive

“Constructive criticism” is one of those feel-good buzzwords. Nevertheless, learning to give helpful feedback to a colleague will not only improve your interpersonal relations, but also will help to improve the quality of your work.

Constructive criticism is more than just a nicer way of talking to people. By giving clear, focused feedback instead of vague, general notes, people you speak with can really learn to improve their methods and practices in the future.

It’s the difference between:

“This website is a disgrace.”
and

“I see a number of issues here, including the dark green background that makes the text hard to read, and punctuation issues in the first two paragraphs.”

The Benefits of Servant Leadership

Sometimes we can confuse leadership with dictatorship. A leader with a dictator style makes orders & demands without taking into account the wants and needs of others. Perhaps this style of leadership can come in handy in some special circumstances. However, staff do not tend to respond well to being constantly treated this way. Depending on the situation, a leader should adopt different styles to suit. For the most part, adopting a servant leadership style will help you get the most out of your team.

If we look at leadership from a ‘servant leadership’ point of view, the job of a leader is to help their team succeed & give them what they need. This could be guidance, motivation, training or even chocolate cake in the break-room!

Two teams climbing a mountain. One where the team is doing all the work for the manager and the other where the manager is assisting in the work.

Servant leadership is the paradoxical balance between leader and servant. The term was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf who said to be a servant leader, you’re a “servant first” i.e. you focus on the needs of others before you consider your own. You involve your team members in the decision-making process, you create a culture of caring & a sense of community, and you work to support & enhance the growth of your workers so they can meet their goals both at work and in their personal lives. This approach to leadership leads to higher staff engagement, productivity, trust & stronger relationships within your team.

Some tips on establishing a culture of servant leadership in your workplace include:

MAKE SURE YOUR TEAM KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE

Servant leaders have a strong awareness of what’s going on around them. They care deeply about the welfare of their team members and don’t view them as cogs in a machine. You can show your team how much you care by taking a genuine interest in their lives. This means both inside & outside of work. You can also reward your team by taking them out for a team outing OR why not go all out and organise a team building activity.

DEVELOP NEW LEADERS NOT FOLLOWERS

The biggest investment you can make in your people is your time. By mentoring your staff and taking a genuine interest in their professional development you will help them learn vital skills for the future and improve their performance both inside and outside of work. And by teaching others to lead and providing opportunities for growth, your staff will give thanks with their loyalty & trust in return.

SHIFT FROM “YOU” TO “US”

We’ve all heard the saying “lead by example”, and this is very true when it comes to a servant leader. No task is beneath their pay grade and they’re never afraid to roll up their sleeves to get a job done. A common mistake of leaders is feeling that they are above certain tasks. This kind of thinking will only distance you from your team. A true servant leader says, “let’s go do it,” not, “you go do it”. To go even further in your endeavour to create a sense of community, a team building activity can help bring your team together in an environment external to the usual office day-to-day. Contact us to chat more about our team building options.

VALUE EVERYONE’S CONTRIBUTIONS

A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. Someone who knows their opinion is not necessarily the right one, or indeed the ONLY one, has the quality of a servant leader. Servant leaders establish a culture of empathy and openness, creating a safe space for employees to come forward with any questions or pitch new, creative ideas that benefit the company.

Benefits of a Conference Offsite

Any person tasked with the job of organising their company conference will generally be seeking the same outcome; regardless of where the conference is held you want to ensure you get the most out of your time. Which brings us to one of the first hurdles you will face when organising a conference: deciding whether to hold the conference in-house or head offsite to a conference venue. Perhaps the biggest argument against hosting a conference offsite is the higher expenditure involved, both in the booking of an external venue & the fact that you’re taking your employees out of the office for a day.

You may find yourself wondering, is a conference offsite worth the time & money?

Team high five outdoors

Change of Scenery = Stimulating Creativity

Meeting in the same office space time & time again can starve the brain of creative stimulation. According to Forbes, 51% of workers said they weren’t engaged with 17% saying they were actively disengaged with their office environment. If you want to get your staff thinking out of the box, you need to get them out of the office box! A change of scenery may seem like such a small alteration to your delegates day-to-day, however it can have a significant impact on how your colleagues think & the way they brainstorm new ideas. Being in a new environment can encourage bolder ideas & a fresh perspective on old problems.

Increased Productivity & Focus

Offsite meetings are great for revitalising & re-energising your staff. For starters, your staff will feel important & valued by the investment your company has made. And because everyone has made a commitment to leave normal work behind for a day, they will be much more likely to fully engage with the conference content.

Avoid Interruptions

Taking the team offsite means they won’t be as easily distracted by their usual work surroundings. Think about the amount of time that is wasted by staff arriving late, checking their emails or answering phone calls. Heading offsite means your team will have less interruptions from the usual office riffraff = greater productivity!

Team Camaraderie

An off-site conference without the constraints of the normal working environment can make employees feel more relaxed leading to improved workplace relationships. Team members see each other in a different light and abilities emerge that may not be apparent in day-to-day office meetings. Ultimately the better your team know & trust each other, the more effective they will be as a team.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a conference offsite without a team building activity thrown in the mix! Regardless of how full your agenda is we have an activity that can be tailored to suit your plans & outcomes. After all, it can’t be all work & no play!

If you’re after some conference offsite inspiration we would suggest checking out our VENUES page!