Our CEO Discusses the Power of a Customized Approach to Building Better Leaders and Teams on Top Rated Podcast

Our CEO Jay Irwin recently appeared on the Integrate and Ignite Podcast. On the podcast, Jays gets into the value of companies taking a customized or personalized approach to leadership development and team building, instead of a one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter model.

Give the podcast a listen at the link below or on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher by searching for the Integrate and Ignite Podcast.

 

 

Major Pharmaceutical Company ‘Just Wants to Have Fun’ and Experiences an Awesome Team Build in the Process

While our bread and butter services are in creating team building, leadership development, and community impact focused experiences, sometimes companies come to us because they just want to kick back and ‘have fun’ as a team. The good news is we help facilitate these types of experiences as well. We’d be silly not to, right? What’s interesting is we have found that oftentimes loosely structured ‘fun-time’ can be a very effective way for teams to grow in the areas of trust, communication, and general team dynamics. Such was the case for a major pharmaceutical team that sent their regional sales team to Park City, Utah for a sales meeting. Though our ‘home base’ is in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, we also travel to other areas of the Rocky Mountain region to best serve our clients. Such was the case with this engagement in Park City.

Though the main objective of this engagement was ‘fun,’ we did manage to put a little structure into the experience. We had the group do a tablet-based scavenger hunt called Tactical Tablets in Park City’s historic downtown area. This is a fantastic experience for teams that are game for teambuilding but maybe want something a little more low-key but still a lot of fun. In this experience, teams are provided 4G tablets loaded with a course map complete with text, photo, and video clues. The teams must travel to specific locations and complete projects and tasks to earn points. It’s truly a high-tech twist on the original ‘scavenger hunt’ but teams love it as they can’t help but get invested in the game using their tablets and compete against the other teams. The best part about Tactical Tablets is teams will naturally work on their communication and problem solving skills by virtue of simply playing the game. It’s our secret way of getting teams to do a team build activity without it explicitly telling them their doing a team build.

Now unlike many other team building companies, we don’t end the fun once the main activity ends. No, we keep it going as long as the client likes…for the most part. After Tactical Tablets, we made a couple stops at some local bars in Park City. You could really see people connecting and engaging with each other more than when we met them at the start of the day. What’s really cool about what we do is we create experiences and memories that the teams then can talk about after and even during an event. Such was the case while visiting the local bars as one of our team members passed around silly gags and accessories from kazoos to crazy hats to even feather boas. The pharmaceutical teams loved this and were happy to look goofy and make fools of themselves (check out the photos on Facebook) all in the spirit of relaxing, enjoying each other, and just having fun.

At the end of the day, we debriefed the day’s events with the group. It was pretty awesome to hear all the takeaways from an event where the primary objective was ‘just have fun.’ But as mentioned above, that’s just how it happens sometimes. We’re thankful to be a part of such experiences and love knowing that we help make them possible. If you’re interested in a similar experience or something different, feel free to give us a shout. We’d always love to have some more fun…

 

Article Share: Entrepreneur Magazine Discusses How to Avoid Staff Turnover

Staff and employee turnover can be one of the biggest if not the biggest challenges an organization may face. So many companies could avoid this plaguing problem by simply investing in their employees. We wanted to share this article from Entrepreneur Magazine as it offers some great suggestions for how to effectively invest in your employees. At CBST Adventures, we support such advice as it aligns with our mission and values for helping organizations grow and thrive!

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290486

 

Fortune 20 Company’s New Healthcare Division Bonds at CBST Adventures’ Experience

When new teams or divisions are formed, getting people to work together effectively is no small task. This was the challenge in front of the newly formed healthcare business unit for a global Fortune 20 corporation. Twenty-one company executives and the CEO of that division came to Colorado with the goal of building teamwork, trust, and communication among the team faster and more effectively than they could have on their own.

On paper, it might appear this new business unit would just naturally come together seamlessly– the team was full of incredibly talented individuals all working part of a multi-billion dollar corporation. Yet, even the best and biggest companies can’t always avoid the challenges surrounding culture, teamwork, and communications. In fact, those areas might be the biggest hurdles that stand in the way of such large organizations. This particular company wasn’t lacking culture; in fact, they had a fairly established culture rooted in military teachings and processes, as some employees were ex-military or ex-special forces. What our CBST Adventures team soon learned is that not everyone fully bought into the military culture – some simply didn’t have a military background or just didn’t understand the military approach. This resulted in a somewhat of a schism among the group. It was at this point we knew what the group needed.

We took the group to Buena Vista to go rafting the next day and to help promote team connection and bonding.  We encouraged the group the ‘bunk up’ in somewhat close quarters, with 3-4 people to a room. This required some individuals to sleep on pullout mattresses versus actual beds. Interestingly enough, this turned about to be one of the more memorable parts of the trip. Sharing a room with 2 or 3 other people forced the executives to really get to know one another better as they learned about each other’s careers, families, hobbies, and personal lives. Some amazing personal bonds and connections were formed and the military-based culture factions began to dissipate. Come to find out, this social and cozy time together was so powerful for the group that the executives didn’t even mind the small rooms and low-frills accommodations.

The next day was full of adventure from rafting Class III and Class IV rapids, to hiking in the surrounding mountains, to playing one of our popular team building games, ‘GPS Lifeline.’ GPS Lifeline is an amazingly fun team build activity where the group breaks into teams and seek out targets over a large outdoor area with a GPS unit. Think of it as a large scale, high tech version of ‘Capture the Flag.’ Make no mistake, this is no backyard kids game. Teams are tested and challenged as the game requires participants to manage their teams in terms of strategy, goals, stamina and problem solving to ensure the team captures the targets back in time to complete their ‘mission.’ It’s a fantastic experience that truly promotes real-life team building, trust, and communication.

While the ‘GPS Lifeline’ was a great activity for the team, a truly transformation moment happened during the rafting. One of the individuals in the group was somewhat intimidated and fearful of the rapids for most of the rafting trip. Our guide team approached a rapid called ‘Swimmers’ Rapid’ where the rapids are safe enough to swim in. We encouraged the group to swim if they felt comfortable and were able. This particular individual felt compelled by the moment to face her fear of the rapids and told everyone she was getting in. With the help of one of our guides, she jumped into the rapids, wide-eyed and all and swam through them for a short while. She then safely climbed back into the raft and our guides and her team immediately noticed a shift in her demeanor – she had this look on her face as if she had just conquered something big – a fear inside her. It was a wonderful moment both for her and her team, as everyone congratulated her on overcoming her fear. To end this post, we thought we’d share an email we received from her a few weeks after her exciting swim in the rapids.

Hi, I think of Colorado often. Wondering why I actually jumped in the water. As I said I am a strong swimmer, but had never put myself in a situation like that before. Not sure if it was all the excitement or I wanted to test myself. Needless to say, I have a shared memory with many and will always remember the adventure.’

 It’s such life-changing experiences that we love to create…

Forbes Magazine Demystifies How to Work with Millennials

At CBST Adventures, we like to share interesting and thought-provoking content that aligns with our values and outlook on leadership development and  team building- even if we don’t write it. We found the below article from Forbes magazine discussing the myths about working with millennials to be a great read. We highly encourage you to check it out!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2016/01/26/everything-youve-heard-about-millennial-employees-is-baloney-heres-the-truth-and-how-to-use-it/#4904678d4904

Game On! From board games to team builds – CBST Adventures helps major natural food company develop their teams


Game on! This was the theme of a large natural food company’s annual meeting in Beaver Creek. While the meeting rooms were decked out with board games and large white paper with markers and crayons galore, when CBST Adventures arrived on the scene, we decided to take things outside for some fresh air and fun.

Keeping in the ‘gaming’ spirit we kicked off our event with a ‘Hoppy Horses Relay.’ Never heard of it? We hadn’t either before this event. This is a new activity that CBST Adventures developed where teams raced on inflatable mini-horses and handed off a ‘Happy the Cow’ stuff animal. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? It was, but make no mistake, the participating teams loved it! You can imagine how funny it would be watching your co-workers trying to move an inflatable horse back and forth as quickly as they can. And that’s our goal – to create these type of memorable experiences, as we find that people have the greatest fun and enjoy themselves the most when silliness and laughter is involved.

Next, we shuttled the team up to the Beaver Creek Village where they took part of our famous GPS course and took some ‘Eye Spy’ photos. With this game, teams used GPS units, maps and cameras to navigate the area in search of hidden clues, play trivia and take numerous photo ops (hence, the ‘Eye Spy’).  Each task on the course is weighted based on difficulty so teams have to devise a plan of attack based on their vision for success and the dynamics of their group. A bonus challenge for this particularly activity was what we at CBST Adventures call ‘Happy Hunting!’ in which the teams searched for Happy the Cow (one of our guides in a cow onesie), who was walking around the Beaver Creek village. Once they found Happy, the teams had to take a photo as proof they caught him. Once again, a pretty funny visual, but one that required some real problem solving and critical thinking, nonetheless.

The teambuilding event ended with fun being had all around as everyone stuck around afterwards for happy hour at the 8100 Bar at the base of the mountain. This is an ideal event in our book, where teams have a ton of fun through laughter, goofiness, and being playful; yet, at the same time, teams are put into challenging situations and dynamics where they have to collaborate, problem solve, and think strategically about how to be successful. In our opinion, there are a lot parallels in such activities with the workplace. While we assume there’s not too many outdoor guides running around in a cow onesie at your office, we’d like to believe that the teamwork and communication skills needed to find Happy are similar to running a great campaign, having a successful product launch, or hitting a major milestone at your company.

If you think any of the above sounds interesting, we’d love to share more about this event and others. Please reach out to us at our website or by calling 970-668-8900.

New Research Demonstrates Value of Experiential Learning for Leaders

The Association for Talent Development, or ATD, a major resource and publication for personal and professional development, published an article in May 2016 on the value of experiential learning for leaders. At CBST Adventures, we are big advocates for experiential learning and have incorporated this concept into many of our programs, including our Experiential Leadership offerings.

https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog/2016/05/New-Research-Shows-Investing-in-Experiential-Learning-for-Leaders-Pays-Off

To learn more about our Experiential Leadership programs, click here and please contact us.

Technology Company Team Build: A Different Kind of Food Drive…

Have you ever been hungry?  Even for just a little bit?  You skipped breakfast and went out on a hike.  You didn’t have time for lunch during conference calls.  Or, perhaps, you went to the pantry, and nothing called to you.  How did that make you feel?  Were you short tempered? Feeling a little uneasy? Maybe even lightheaded?

Now imagine that you experience that every day. You go to the pantry and you find a can of beans, or a few potatoes, and that is your food for the day.  As you walk out on the streets heading for work you notice the restaurants, and the food smells great, but when you reach into your pocket you realize that you don’t have the money to even buy a sandwich.

Sometimes in our privileged world, we might feel that there are plenty of programs out there to handle issues like this – food stamps, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and subsidized lunches.  While these programs do help to alleviate some of the challenges, there are still many Americans living only blocks from us that are going hungry every single day.

With this in mind, we’d like to share a powerful story that starts with a local company setting a key business goal was to “make a difference” in society. Yes, you read that right – a business goal intent on making a social impact.  Solidyn Solutions, an engineering services company headquartered in Denver, decided that they wanted to do something during their holiday celebration to give back to their community.  Their leaders noticed that Keystone Resorts was offering a Community Impact Team Building event with their group meeting package, so they decided to have their all-company holiday party up in Keystone.

Dawn and Andy Marshall, key executives at Solidyn, are two incredibly caring people who are active in serving as advocates for low-income and homeless families in the Denver metro area.  They serve on the board and volunteer with the Jefferson County Action Center.   This desire to serve and improve the local community is a cornerstone value for CBST Adventures as well, which is why we often include a social impact component with our events.

Solidyn decided to host a Community ‘Mini-Golf’ Impact Food Drive Challenge at their event in Keystone, where employees would be challenged to create mini-golf courses with perishable food (in a non-damaging way, of course). CBST Adventures sprung to action, setting the stage for what was sure to be an amazing evening of sharing in the holiday spirit and giving back.

When the evening of the mini-golf event arrived, Solidyn’s employees and families arrived to find $5,000 worth of food waiting for them to build out 15 holes of ‘championship-worthy’ mini-golf course.   The children of the families were ecstatic, and the engineer parents were even more thrilled.   It was truly a sight to behold, as rarely have our events had so much engineering creativity and design.

What really made the event special was beforehand, CBST’s CEO, Jay Irwin, reached out to CityWILD, the youth leadership development non-profit in Denver and invited 11 CityWILD students to work the Solidyn event. The CityWILD students not only worked side by side with CBST staff and Solidyn, helping with the build out of the mini-golf course, but then they were given the tremendous responsibility to later go into their own low-income neighborhoods and deliver the non-perishable food to families in need.

Once the evening was over, the 11 CityWILD students and our CBST staff packed up three pallets of food to be distributed to these communities in need.  One of the CityWILD students said to CBST’s CEO, “That was so much fun working the event, but what’s going to be more fun is distributing this food out into my community.  It’s going to make such a huge impact on Christmas for my neighbors, and I know exactly who needs it the most.”

To make their deliveries even more special, the students put the food into meaningful packages and delivered them door-to-door.   Rice, beans, tuna, granola, peanut butter, spaghetti and sauce, applesauce, and a tin of Christmas cookies for each family as a special treat were all included.   Upon delivery, one woman starting crying and said, “The food is important and my family needs it, but it means even more to know that someone out there cares enough to think of me and my family during this time.”

Make no mistake, this was a teambuilding event for Solidyn and their employees; but, as you can tell, the impact of the event went far beyond the company of Solidyn. It’s such transformational and life-changing events that we at CBST Adventure’s love to create and help be a part of.

To learn more about CBST and our Social Impact initiatives, click here.

Medical Device Company ‘Levels Up’ Continuous Improvement

If you play videos games, you might be familiar with the term ‘Level Up.’ In video game terminology, it means to advance to the next level and to progress within a game. This was the theme of a bi-annual meeting for a major medical device company in the Kidney Dialysis market.

As part of this theme, it was important to the company and to the 42 person team that CBST Adventures worked to focus on improving communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, all aspects that are important to their daily work. We love when companies want to incorporate their regular jobs into the teambuilding experience because that mirrors our approach as well. We don’t believe in simply creating half-day or daylong escapes for our clients but rather to provide a transformational and dynamic experience that people will take with them back to the office for many days, months, and years to come.

Now don’t be mistaken, while our events are powerful and impactful, we love having fun too. For example, as part of this team build, we had the director of the team dress up as a Queen (think Zelda or another popular medieval games) and go out in public to different places in Downtown Denver. You can imagine amount of laughs that ensued… The challenge for her team was then to try to find her via clues on a 4G tablet that had her GPS location.

In case you’ve never heard of an outdoor teambuilding experience that dresses people up like Queens out in public and incorporates tablets and GPS technology, that’s because there’s not many out there.  We like to believe that this is unique to CBST Adventures value proposition. Yes, we’re an outdoor company but we also know that technology plays a large role in society today and even can add value to an outdoor experience. As for integrating the element of fun – well, who doesn’t like to have fun???

Throughout the game, the teams gained information and clues via pop-up questions, streaming videos and real time text based commands sent to their 4G tablet. At each stage of the progressive game, teams had the choice to compete at the first challenge level and earn the minimum amount of points OR go for a more difficult challenge worth more points. With higher risk comes higher reward but there’s also more to lose!

All in the all, the game was an incredible experience for the participating company as it pushed them to practice high levels of communication, problem solving, and critical thinking – remember the objectives from above?  What was really neat to see was the trust forming amongst colleagues and strengths identified in others that many folks didn’t know where there. These are the insights and breakthroughs that can be a game-changer in terms of how a team or organization functions.

At days end, the Queen was found but the laughter and good times kept going. Where we take the most pride at CBST Adventures is in creating a memorable experience that a team or organization won’t forget for awhile – not just because how fun or funny it was, but also because it transformed perspectives and improved interpersonal skills – invaluable results for companies and an incredible outcome for a half-day team build event.

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