Fortune 20 Company Has a Fun-Filled Team Build at Beautiful Cattle Ranch

In our experience, we’ve found that mountain ranches can be an incredible venue for teams to host a team build. For one of our recent events, we created a team building experience at Spruce Mountain Ranch, a sprawling ranch typically used for show cattle – on this day it played host to Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE). HPE sent a group of 100 people to work with us for a day and it was an absolute blast! Connection and all-purpose fun was the objective for this team building experience and so we let those ideas really drive the agenda.

After folks arrived to the ranch, we treated them to a delicious lunch and then began the activities. Given we were at an authentic cattle ranch, we thought it only fitting to have a western theme to all of our activities starting with a Western Amazing Race. With this experience, participants explored the ranch through taking part in mental and physical challenges (nothing too strenuous) requiring problem solving and creative thinking. The entire group broke into teams and each team had to pool their resources and delegate tasks to complete including a remote control car derby (a brand new activity), roping a rolling cow on wheels, rocket launching, and paintball sharpshooting, to name just a few.

What’s interesting is we find that a lot of teams aren’t necessarily super excited to do a team build at the start of an event and then are blown away once they start participating in our activities. Such was the case for HPE as the group was totally engrossed with every activity and really threw themselves into completing all the tasks as part of the Amazing Race. We think this is partly due to folks wanting to compete against their coworkers but really has more to do with the activities simply being such a great time that people can’t resist but participate. Not to mention it’s pretty funny to watch your colleagues try to drive, and inevitably crash, remote control cars. Likewise, giving your coworkers a hard time about being covered in paint-ball paint is always good for a few laughs.

As you can tell, fun and enjoyment was a big priority and a major outcome from this event. Yet, as with many of our events, from every laugh and every smile, come teams and individuals engaging with each other in new and different ways. The result is relationships are formed and memories are made that otherwise didn’t exist and it’s these kind of breakthroughs that help forge teams and bring companies together.

We closed out the day announcing the winners from the day’s activities and then flowed into a laid-back and fun-filled happy hour and dinner. The night, however, couldn’t end without one last event – a mechanical bull challenge. As with the other activities, tons of laughter, smiles, and playful ribbing ensued. The winner, the person who rode the longest (and hopefully didn’t lose their dinner), won a Google Home Device – not a bad prize, right? Not at all and not a bad team build either.

To learn more about similar events, click here.

Article Share: 10 Ways Experiential Learning Creates Long-Term Performance Impact

Given we’re a big proponent of experiential learning, specifically through our Experiential Leadership Development and Team Building programs, we wanted to share this article from the ‘Chief Learning Officer’ online publication, which is part of Human Capital Media – a major human performance media outlet.

The article shares the 10 benefits of experiential learning and we agree with and incorporate many of their suggestions into our experiential programs.

Give it a read at the link below:

Fast Growing Startup Partakes in Laid-Back But Connection-Focused Team Build

Team building might not be very high on a startup’s to-do list with all the demands that come with growing a new company – getting customers, fundraising, and hiring employees, just to name a few. Yet, more and more startups and emerging companies are realizing the value in investing in their employees and teams through team building activities. This was the case for the fast-growing startup, Birdeye, an online user-review tracking platform. Sometimes companies come to us because they have a particular challenge they want to address – trust, teamwork, communication. With Birdeye, it was simply that they are growing so quickly that they want to make sure their employees felt valued, cared about, and connected.

Birdeye has offices in multiple locations including California, Arizona, and Colorado, which meant many members of their startup team had not met yet. So we brought together approximately 40 people and ran a laid back but very fun team build event. As we were in the heart of sprawling downtown Denver, we thought it would be fun to do our Urban Orienteering Team Tracking event. This is a GPS -based activity where teams compete against each other with a GPS-enabled tablet and they must capture ‘Eye Spy’ photos while also play Cherry Picking (finding hidden objects) and Disc Golf games around the city. It’s a super fun time as it leverages technology through GPS and tablets while also encouraging teams to use problem solving, communication, and creative thinking to try to win the event.

To encourage the teams to get to know one another, we kicked off at the Wynkoop Brewery for some drinks and billiard games and we later learned that teams visited bars during the game (not necessarily part of the game but we fully support it in the spirit of team building!). At the end of the day, folks had a blast and the best part is nothing was forced on them. Yes, we put the group through a team build, but as you can tell, it was fairly casual and very open to teams having fun with it, whether through stopping at bars along the way or simply taking additional time to connect with their colleagues.

This type event really reflects our view on teambuilding in that you don’t have to have an overly structured and disciplined event for people to interact, connect, and grow as a team. While we certainly can run events as structured or loose as our clients like, our goal is that people walk away from a memorable experience that was fun, engaging, and transformative. If this sounds like something your company might be interested in, give us a shout! We’d love to learn more about your company and how we can create a lasting experience for your teams. Feel free to reach out to us here.

Content Share: Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Center Delves into Essential Qualities for TeamBuilding

Stanford University’s resource center for entrepreneurship known as the eCorner recently released a talk by Stanford’s President John Hennessy on the essential qualities of team building. We won’t share too much as you should watch the video but Hennessy talks about the importance of trust and delegation and that one’s instincts on hiring gets better over time.

Definitely give the video a watch.

Growing Healthcare Consultancy Experiences Powerful Team Build That Benefits Inner City Youth

One of the coolest things that we get to witness is when companies and teams experience a team-build that benefits their local community. We find that these experiences seem to add another layer of meaning and purpose to the dynamics of the team build. Such was the case with a major healthcare consultancy that we worked with recently. Believe it or not, this company hadn’t done a company retreat in over two years. This happens with fast-growing companies but we think it’s awesome when growing companies decide to come up for air and invest some time in their people and culture.

This particular company’s focus is in the healthcare technology and services realm and as a consultancy, fostering a culture of service is extremely important. With that in mind, we knew a Community Impact experience would be a great fit and put the group through what we call our ‘Built for Need Bicycle Challenge.’ This experience consists of 3 stages (similar to a bike race) where teams must create kid-size bicycles, race the bicycles – yes, adults are riding kids bikes (we promise no bikes get damaged), and then donate said bikes and helmets to local children in need through the inner city youth program known as cityWILD. It’s truly a perfect blend of teamwork, fun, and service.

One of best parts of these experiences is watching the teams come together and gel from one stage to the next. In building the bikes, the teams really had to demonstrate strong communication skills and know how to delegate effectively. Once the bikes were built and ready to race, the teams couldn’t stop laughing and smiling at each other as their adult colleagues attempt to race on a kids’ bikes. It’s amazing how a little goofiness and fun can help people grow closer. Lastly, the teams then got to donate the bikes to inner city youth, which is a truly special experience that helps the teams and individuals see a world beyond themselves in the spirit of service.

In the end, twenty-four bikes and helmets were made and then donated to cityWILD. Something of particular note for this experience – we did notice at the start some individuals weren’t crazy about having to do a ‘team build.’ This is totally understandable as many team build experiences are outdated and not applicable. It’s safe to say that most of the participants probably didn’t expect a team build where at the end of the day they would be giving bikes to inner city kids in need. Needless to say, the entire group was ‘all-in’ and totally invested in the experience by the time all the bikes were donated. Like we said at the beginning of this blog, pretty cool, right? We like to think so.

To learn more about our Community Impact experiences such as this one, feel free to click here.



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: Why Leadership Development Matters for Your Organization

Leadership Development can often be something that organizations overlook when it comes to investing in their business. Yet, Leadership Development can be one of the hallmarks of a healthy and sustainable culture as leaders and managers very much determine the makeup of a company’s culture and workplace environment.

We recently came across an article from ‘Entrepreneur Magazine’ on the topic of Leadership Development and wanted to share this piece as it discusses importance of Leadership Development and the impact it can have on an organization.

Check out the article below:

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…

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