Rock & Roll Can Be Good For You.

team building learn to play guitar

I get a lot of e-mails. A recent one began, ”Hi, I was the former guitarist/vocalist for the multi-Platinum band, BOSTON…”. My first thought was… wow, this Nigerian Prince thing has really evolved, but as I read through it I realized, hey, this really was David Victor!

Why me? He now does this music/ team-building thing… and so I am now introducing him to you. You… David (the BOSTON guy). David…You. Here’s the brief over-view…

Strum & Spirits is a group guitar class and team-building event. No one in your group plays guitar (yet)? No worries. They provide all the guitars and their projection equipment ensures everyone can easily follow along. Together you learn a classic rock song (with rock ‘n roll storytelling and humor). By the end of the event, your whole team is jamming along together. Next, your team can relax and enjoy a short acoustic concert, or keep your rock & roll party rocking and rolling. 

David has performed throughout the country with BOSTON and has developed several of his own successful shows, which gives him unique insights about how to create high-performing teams composed of sometimes challenging personalities (the details of which may or may not be included in the rock and roll storytelling).   

This is one of those unique team building events that your group will be talking about for long time. Check it out at https://strumandspirits.com/  

Donna Cohen

I have decades of experience creating and producing online marketing. I left the corporate world to work independently with people who need help establishing and maintaining their online presence. Not everyone knows how, has the aptitude, or time to learn how to use online marketing tools, and nor should they have to try. Those people who need help and/or don't want an in-house marketing team work with me. Each client has different needs, goals and expectations. I do custom work for each of my clients. I get to know each person and know their voice, their style, rhythm and budget. 

I have a large skill set that covers the range of tasks for online marketing. It is both easy and cost efficient to work directly with me. I can get the whole job done. 

Website Design, Build and Optimization, SEO, Keywords, Hashtags, PhotoShop, Email Marketing and Newsletters - Mailchimp, Google Forms (Registration & Surveys), Survey Monkey, SquareSpace, Wordpress, Square, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, PowerPoint, Acrobat, Facebook Ads, Pinterest, Instagram, Word, ePub, Excel, Audience Development, and more.

Book Production; Print and eBook, Design, coding, Marketing and building Audiences.

Street Art is one of those things I love about the city

graffiti city tour sf - team building

First Amendment (aka 1amsf.com). They guide your group in hands-on workshops introducing the city’s graffiti and street art culture. Your teams then design their “art” and message, and after an introduction to stenciling and a little spray can control practice, “do their thing” on an (authorized) exterior wall or on take away canvases… or on t-shirts, totes… or whatever you think you can get away with. 

Workshops can be at their gallery or they can come to you, or can include walking tours of some of the best SF street art. They seem like really cool and genuine people, so… do that. :)

Donna Cohen

I have decades of experience creating and producing online marketing. I left the corporate world to work independently with people who need help establishing and maintaining their online presence. Not everyone knows how, has the aptitude, or time to learn how to use online marketing tools, and nor should they have to try. Those people who need help and/or don't want an in-house marketing team work with me. Each client has different needs, goals and expectations. I do custom work for each of my clients. I get to know each person and know their voice, their style, rhythm and budget. 

I have a large skill set that covers the range of tasks for online marketing. It is both easy and cost efficient to work directly with me. I can get the whole job done. 

Website Design, Build and Optimization, SEO, Keywords, Hashtags, PhotoShop, Email Marketing and Newsletters - Mailchimp, Google Forms (Registration & Surveys), Survey Monkey, SquareSpace, Wordpress, Square, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, PowerPoint, Acrobat, Facebook Ads, Pinterest, Instagram, Word, ePub, Excel, Audience Development, and more.

Book Production; Print and eBook, Design, coding, Marketing and building Audiences.

Talking and Laughing While Eating is Fun

AVITAL TOURS IS ANOTHER GREAT GROUP THAT DELIVERS FUN UNIQUE TEAM BUILDING EVENTS

Every so often I come across a good team building idea and feel compelled to write about it. Here’s one called Avital Tours…

DINNER-MAP-AVITAL-TOURS-PROGRESSIVE-DINNER

Take your “team” (minimum of 8, maximum of 100+) on a guided four-course progressive meal exploring an iconic San Francisco or Los Angeles neighborhood. Their “energetic” guides (their word) will not only fill your group in on the area’s culinary history, but will facilitate your employees to engage socially, to increase interaction, and build communication and relationships… and so in theory will increase creativity, collaboration and productivity when back in the office.

But… forget about the “why you are doing it” during the team building… it’s fun, great food and alcohol pairing, sparkling conversation, laughter, breaking down walls and all of that jazz. And besides, you have to eat anyway.

Each course is served at a different restaurant, so your team members sit next to many different colleagues throughout the tour (and depending upon the size of your group, walk or ride to the next course with a different group). Avital Tours takes care of all of the logistics, so you don't have to worry about restaurant reservations, ordering from menus, waiting for food to arrive or dietary restrictions (they figure all of that out ahead of time).

Lunchtime, afternoon, and/or dinner times are available; engage during work hours or after hours. And… although at the moment it’s San Francisco and LA… that will eventually grow. www.avitaltours.com

Donna Cohen

I have decades of experience creating and producing online marketing. I left the corporate world to work independently with people who need help establishing and maintaining their online presence. Not everyone knows how, has the aptitude, or time to learn how to use online marketing tools, and nor should they have to try. Those people who need help and/or don't want an in-house marketing team work with me. Each client has different needs, goals and expectations. I do custom work for each of my clients. I get to know each person and know their voice, their style, rhythm and budget. 

I have a large skill set that covers the range of tasks for online marketing. It is both easy and cost efficient to work directly with me. I can get the whole job done. 

Website Design, Build and Optimization, SEO, Keywords, Hashtags, PhotoShop, Email Marketing and Newsletters - Mailchimp, Google Forms (Registration & Surveys), Survey Monkey, SquareSpace, Wordpress, Square, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, PowerPoint, Acrobat, Facebook Ads, Pinterest, Instagram, Word, ePub, Excel, Audience Development, and more.

Book Production; Print and eBook, Design, coding, Marketing and building Audiences.

Access to Private Wineries, Gardens, Estates and Much More

Verve Napa Valley

OK… you booked your group in Napa. Now what do you do? You want to do something different, something memorable and cool? Ask people who know what they are doing. The people at Verve know what they are doing. They will design a program for you, get access to artisan wineries not necessarily open to the public, get access to private estates, gardens, art collections… organize team building events, barrel tastings, transportation, and all of that really good DMC stuff. www.vervenapavalley.com

verve-napa-valley-event-organizers-dmc-vineyard-tours

Napa (& Sonoma) Valley Bike Tours

If you (and your team) really want to experience why they came all the way to Napa Valley in the first place, then a guided, casual bike tour is a perfect solution. Cycling slowly down backroads between vineyards, sights, sounds, smells and all, is a completely different experience than rushing through in an air-conditioned vehicle. You literally can stop to smell the flowers.

Napa Valley Bike Tours can customize your event for your group’s unique needs and abilities. Do a team building thing or just relax and visit wineries selected for their hospitality. The guides are friendly, knowledgeable and non-judgmental when you decide to ride the van home after winery visit number three. www.napavalleybiketours.com

napa-sonoma-bike-tours-vineyards-teambuilding

Napa Valley Wine Train

Your group can buy out a car or an entire train. Do teambuilding (the cliché is the Murder Mystery thing… but being a cliché does not mean it’s not great fun… or a wine tasting/food pairing, or… whatever you and the absolutely wonderful Train People can dream up. And you can do this while enjoying fine dining service, multi-course meals cooked to order, Napa Valley scenery and exquisitely restored antique rail cars.  Their marketing prose says it’s faithfully restored with Honduran Mahogany, so there is that too. Lots of options at www.winetrain.com        

napa-train-team-building

Breakaway Tours

winery-tours-pas-robles

Breakaway Tours has been doing wine tours and corporate events for 22 years. They know everyone. They are really nice. Want to have a dinner in a winery, or at Hearst Castle, or do tours, tastings… need transportation, team building… creativity… they have a great reputation and so… check them out. www.breakaway-tours.com

Donna Cohen

I have decades of experience creating and producing online marketing. I left the corporate world to work independently with people who need help establishing and maintaining their online presence. Not everyone knows how, has the aptitude, or time to learn how to use online marketing tools, and nor should they have to try. Those people who need help and/or don't want an in-house marketing team work with me. Each client has different needs, goals and expectations. I do custom work for each of my clients. I get to know each person and know their voice, their style, rhythm and budget. 

I have a large skill set that covers the range of tasks for online marketing. It is both easy and cost efficient to work directly with me. I can get the whole job done. 

Website Design, Build and Optimization, SEO, Keywords, Hashtags, PhotoShop, Email Marketing and Newsletters - Mailchimp, Google Forms (Registration & Surveys), Survey Monkey, SquareSpace, Wordpress, Square, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, PowerPoint, Acrobat, Facebook Ads, Pinterest, Instagram, Word, ePub, Excel, Audience Development, and more.

Book Production; Print and eBook, Design, coding, Marketing and building Audiences.

Create A Team Canvas At The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai, CA

art-team-building-ojai

One of my favorite places. You will love it too. And… I have participated in their Art/Teambuilding program… and you will love that as well.

The resort features a fully-equipped art studio and your group can use it to do cool stuff like… create a Team Canvas with groups of 5-10 (total 60 people at a time) that will then be shared with the entire Team and… if you are brave enough, be analyzed by a professional art psychologist (and yes, there are such people). You can also do individual works of art and have private reviews… or you can do tile painting, or glass paining, or mixed media, or silk scarf painting or herbal wreath making… or… other art stuff.

Please check it out at www.ojairesort.com

Make Casino Night Something Memorable

A Casino Night is always (usually) a big hit. It gets people involved, mixes people together that might not normally socialize, all of that jazz. But by itself, although fun and occupying a rightful place in “things to entertain your group with” category, it’s not a Theme Party (by our hitherto agreed upon definition).

theme-party-casablanca

Want to make the Casino Night something memorable (and yes, we are talking big budgets here… like I said, it’s my blog), how about re-creating the set of Casablanca’s famous Rick’s Café Americain? Restaurant-style seating that can be adjusted, long bar, Moroccan-style furniture and décor, ceiling fans… you get the idea… have fun with it… a big band (and a guy who can sing As Time Goes By and a woman who can sing La Marseillaise)… and the casino is still a big part of the event, but in style… and the whole place is staffed with actors from the film… Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, the crazy Russian bartender, the good-natured head waiter… (we’ll leave out the Germans), and the serving staff is also in costume and in character. 

Even better… tell your guests in advance about the dress-up party and give awards for the best costumes for movie characters, or a 1940’s dance contest. And…and…and… as you can see, I like this kind of thing.

Food Truck Challenge

Don’t want to wander around too much? Hungry? How about Teambuilding ROI’s Food Truck Challenge?   

You do the “divide into teams” thing and assigned to a truck, and the number of food trucks depends on the size of your group. When the Giant Clock starts ticking, the teams compete to earn necessary items (like ingredients, décor, chalkboards etc), and then work with their Food Truck chef to prep, cook and serve their creations to the rest of the group and a panel of judges. You get the idea… fun, food, and more fun.

The Amazing Journey - Intercontinental Race

Then… San Francisco Bay Area based Corporate Games might be just the thing.

scavenger-hunt-amazing-journey-team-building

The Amazing Journey - It’s part “foreign mission,” part intercontinental race. Teams must figure out the 10 cities in the world that comprise the “race route” by finding and deciphering clues, along with attempting fun challenges from facilitators stationed at different places around the city. There are creative elements that draw upon the skills of every team member. Resourcefulness, access to technology and the internet play key roles. The teams are also challenged to amass as much (play) money as possible as they go, since money is what would be needed to finance such a trip. CFO’s will like this part.

The Journey can be customized to fit your company’s current theme or history… or whatever. 

Urban Safari And Flash Mob

urban-scavenger-hunt-flash-mob-team-building

When in Rome… Gastaldi Travel presents the Urban Safari (with Flash Mob)

OK, you’ve got your normal Treasure Hunt with clues, puzzles and the need for creative thinking and team cooperation and then…. Add in a team building adventure powered by modern technology – TABLETS- SMART PHONES – GPS… and Rome.

Divided in teams each one equipped with devices to receive the game instructions and clues, guests will take Photos with their smart phones, send them to the “board”, that will assign scores, coordinate team positions via GPS, and then assign the next clue.

Participants will also prepare a short artistic flash mob, helped by Gastaldi’s choreographers (!), in some suitable location in Rome (there must be some somewhere).

Maybe you’re not in Rome but still like the ‘teams of people wandering around an international city” idea?

Sailing Lessons and Racing

sailing-lessons-races-team-building

SF Sailing Company has multiple yachts (not Americas Cup yachts, but… still really cool yachts) and offers Intro to Sailing lessons - They divide up the groups and practice maneuvers such as tacking and jibbing which both require very clear communication and coordination not only for safety, but also to maximize the speed and efficiency of the boat. They then follow it with a race between multiple boats. 

They have two identical vessels that carry 28 and 36 passengers and with their partners can organize regattas and team building events for many more.  Click here to visit their web site.

Group Racing With America’s Cup Yacht

group-sailing-race-team-building

Want a little more physical action… try ACSailingSF…The “only” America’s Cup yacht in SF….’USA76’ (84 Ft of “awesomeness”!).

Your group races the yacht against the clock to get ‘USA76’ across the 2013 AC race course, around the Golden Gate Bridge and back to the starting line. Groups up to 20 are divided in two, team captains are educated in a short separate session and those leaders then have to dispense their new knowledge upon their team members to get this big yacht around the race course as quickly as possible. Four professional crew members are there for guidance and to make sure no one is left behind (important in a boat). 

This 3  hour team builder is the standard event, but they also have full day activities built around sailing. Lots of possibilities. Click here to visit their web site.

Laugh Together

laugh-together-team-building-comedy

Comedy Sportz: The performers use improvisation skills onstage to get people laughing, but they specialize in teaching people HOW to use improvisation techniques in their work lives. Improvisation is not "winging it". It's a highly refined system of observing, connecting and responding.

  • Listening - with true focus, staying in the moment
  • Accepting - circumstances and what others bring to the table 
  • Supporting - making others look good
  • Taking Competent Risks - trusting and using your intuition
  • Letting Go of Mistakes - learn and move on

One of the most valuable team building skills… laughing together. There’s a lot more to it. Click here to visit their web site

Weapons Training, Shooting Courses, Krav Maga Techniques, Tactical Paintball...

extreme-sports-team-building

At the other end of the spectrum, how about Israel’s Eshet Incentives suggestion… Surviving School. Personally, I barely survived school, but I think they really mean Survival School (which I would maybe, just maybe, survive). Ready for this?

Weapons training, Shooting courses, Krav Maga techniques, Tactical paintball and other special extreme activities are based on Israel’s leading Counter-Terror and Security Academy training courses. Team-building activities can last from just two to four hours up to an extreme 10 days (seriously, 10 days). I wanted to ask about airfare refunds on the return flight for those that did not make it through the ten days training, but it’s a detail that can wait.

After (if) you survive your training, you can travel down to the Dead Sea (the lowest point on earth) and soak in thermo-mineral springs, cover yourself in the mineral-rich mud and then float in the extra-salty Sea Water while sipping refreshing cocktails. It relaxes the body and does the skin and the joints a world of good. And if the waiter is a little slow with that cocktail, you can do some of that Krav Maga stuff on them. Unless they took the course too.

For more info… click here. 

Team-Building On A Cruise Ship

ocania-team-building-at-sea

How about team-building on a cruise ship? Hey wait a second… how about having your incentive and/or meeting at sea? (Note… they do stop at land too)… so here are some ideas (but in my words) shared by Shari Wallack, President of Buy-The-Sea … and for those of you who don’t know Shari, she DEFINITELY knows what she is talking about…

Yes, you’ve got the normal ship-wide scavenger hunts, trivia contests, karaoke sing-offs and competitive sporting events using the basketball court, rock climbing wall, ping-pong tables and yes, the iconic shuffle board courts.  Shuffle-Board? Sounds…great. But these things have evolved way past your grandma’s team building fun…

Shari recommends Oceania cooking studios found onboard the ship’s Marina and Riviera.  This interactive event includes “adventure” shopping in the local markets at ports of call to collect the ingredients (“excuse me… is your iguana fresh?”) and then returning to the, hands-on, fully-stocked, professionally-staffed, on-board cooking school (maximum 24 guests at a time). The chef-guided process is completely collaborative and of course ends with a (hopefully) gourmet meal and champagne all around.

 

Team Building While Saving The Planet

How about a little team building while saving the planet?

save-the-planet-team-building

The Four Seasons Bora Bora’s resident Marine Biologist (they offered me the job but I had to turn it down) re-creates your company’s corporate logo in an underwater stand that will support coral nubbin grafts (new scrabble word!). The team building activity is best spread out over several days, 75 minutes a day, and guests, with the help of the marine biology team, will snorkel out to the stand and graft two to four nubbins a day. These nubbins will grow, attract local fish and wildlife, and the resort will maintain the “growth” of the corporate logo/stand in the sanctuary for future generations to enjoy. (Note to self – write New Yorker cartoon about beings in the future discovering corporate logos made out of coral).

It’s suitable for every level of snorkeling ability and for all ages. And while you are saving the planet, you can also play with octopus (I am not sure what octopus play, but you’ll find out), feed puffer fish, spot flounders and lion-fish, and essentially realize that you love snorkeling in Bora Bora. I did a shark-feed there years ago and I still think it was one of the coolest things I have ever done. http://www.fourseasons.com/borabora/

Song Division: Write Original Songs

SongDivision These (cool) guys are all over the country, and they travel too, so the destination choices are many…

Teams write completely original songs with help from musicians who work with the likes of Prince, Adele and David Bowie (and other names they could drop)...then perform them in a ‘battle of the bands’ showdown. The song theme can be about anything you choose… one group had their sales people compose songs so they could sing to their clients about their new products… but the possibilities are endless depending upon your goals. And of course… if you want… there are performance costumes. 

Have a smaller group (less than 50) and want to do something really, really cool? Collaborate in a legendary recording studio where (pick a famous person) has written, performed and recorded a hit single!

You’ve seen recording studios in the movies – the enormous mixing desk, the producer watching the band through the soundproof glass. The destinations available are limited to… every major city where there is a recording studio. Just make sure you get control of the Master (I don’t know what that means, but I saw “Ray” and he seemed to think it was important). For more info…  https://www.songdivision.com/team-building.asp  

CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil

cirque-du-soleil-team-building

Speaking of an increased heart-rate… how about CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil at the Club Med Punta Cana (cirquedusoleil.com/club-med-creactive) Yes, you heard me… each team-building session combines circus arts with relevant themes (broken down into “Creative Thinkers”, “Risk Takers” and “Team Players”. Aerial Arts, Flying Trapeze, Juggling, Dancing, and Stilt-Walking are just a few possibilities. 

They say it teaches your group to “hone critical thinking skills, encourage ingenuity and inspire groups to take unconventional routes to accomplish goals”. Yes, I agree, a flying trapeze is definitely an unconventional route… but whenever I read “critical thinking skills” I keep thinking “critical condition”… just not sure how to put that all together in a good joke.