Month: September 2011

Team Building with virtual and live participants – learnings from Event Camp Twin Cities 2011

It has been almost a month since Event Camp Twin Cites 2011 (ECTC11) and I’ve had time to reflect on what I learned about creating team building sessions in a hybrid meeting environment. I wanted to share those insights with you.

Background:

Back in late June, Ray Hanson asked me to help develop an interactive team / gaming experience for ECTC11.  We wanted to push the envelope and go out on a limb in creating a hybrid meeting experience that was different than anything that had been done before – in other words, we wanted to create a customized hybrid team building program that was interwoven throughout the entire two-day event where both live and virtual participants were working together on the same team doing real team building challenges.

To the best of our knowledge, this had not been done before.

Sure, there have been sessions before where live and virtual participants were placed on teams and worked on challenges.  Any number of technology suppliers provide the means for people to compete in a trivia challenge or earn badges where their scores or efforts get rolled up to a “team.”

 This isn’t team building – it is team gaming. 

Team gaming allows for individuals to participate and compete and even feel like they are part of a team but it doesn’t allow for a deeper, more sustained bonding and trust building that are necessary for team building.  If you want to add some energy and fun for an hour into your event, team gaming challenges are great.  If you want to help teams work better together and really get to know the people that they are on a team with, you need to do team building.

We used ECTC11 as a laboratory to try to see if this could be done in what we called “The Great Event Camp Challenge.”

What we did:

As mentioned before, team gaming for events is not too daunting – as long as you are focusing on individual participation from both live and virtual participants.  However, creating a custom team event for a hybrid audience presented some significant challenges.  We needed to look at how people engaged in the event, how they communicated with each other, how learnings were going to be processed, and how teams would work together as a team and not just as individual participants.

For the Great Event Camp Challenge, we decided to interweave the team sessions throughout the event.  We developed three different avenues for teams to participate:

  1. Team Challenges
  2. Team Badges
  3. Team Case Study

Each of the avenues provided teams with ways to earn points.  Ultimately, we had decided that we wanted this event to be competitive to help keep teams engaged and attentive.  The team with the most points won. 

Read More

Today I’m Grateful For: Nothing on my Calendar

After being extremely busy for the last few weeks it was nice to find that I have nothing on my calendar today. Time to recharge and get all the little things done that need to be worked on…

Team Building Facilitator Resource Idea

I was looking for some team building facilitators the other day for a program in a different city. I didn’t want to have to pay to fly in facilitators to the area, so I turned to the web. Amazingly, I could not find any website that provided a list of facilitators sorted by location. Of course, this might be because I’m horrible at using the web…or it might be an opportunity for a new website.

What do you think?

Karma: A few lessons from our ordeal with Hurricane Irene

This past weekend has to be one of the strangest weekends of my life. 

FRIDAY

It started with me coming off of a grueling two-day program that had frankly, stressed me out.  That meeting ended Friday at 2:00 PM at which time I headed straight home and got ready to drive two hours to a wedding.  When I got home, I quickly changed, gave the au pair marching orders for delivering our 20-month old to the grandparents, and took off my wife and 5 year old son for the trip to Mankato where the wedding started at 5:30 PM. We were on the road by 3:30 PM.

So far so good.

Then the text from Orbitz came, “MSG: DL 848 to BOS cancelled.”

Oh oh.

See, I was supposed to be flying out to Boston along with three other facilitators on Saturday to do a program on Sunday for a client.  We had known that Hurricane Irene was closing in on the east coast, but the reports that I had seen didn’t have it near Boston until Sunday.  Apparently Delta had some different information.

I  had two main client contacts – I called them both up.  No answer – so I left messages.  I then e-mailed the clients from my i-phone with this message “Flights Cancelled.  I just received a text saying our flight is cancelled due to hurricane Irene.  I am checking on getting a different flight.”  It was about 4:30 PM.

The message came back from the client at 4:41 PM, it said, “Thanks Kurt.”

Huh?  I would have liked a little more information please.

Needless to say, I was working the phone and e-mail.  I contacted Delta and instead of waiting for 42 to 54 minutes on hold, I had them give me a call back when my time was set.  Over the course of the next 40 minutes I traded more e-mails with both clients.  The meeting was still on – it seems like none of the participants were having any problems in getting into Boston (even though they were coming from around the world – Europe, Brazil, China, India and the U.S.).  They must NOT have been flying Delta. I contacted my team of guys who were flying out there with me.  I got a hold of two of them who were offering to help however they could.

So it was now about 5:20 PM and we were almost at the church.   Then I got this text from our Au Pair, “Sitting outside Grandma and Grandpa’s for 45 minutes – no one is home to take baby.”

Oh oh.

I now had another crisis on hand.  Quickly texted back that we’d try to find the grandparents, gave a few unsuccessful calls to their home and cell phones when I received my call back from Delta service (it had been in the 42 to 54 minute range).  The Delta rep searched for another option into Boston and came up with nothing available that could get us in either directly or through a connection.  All the flights were either full or cancelled.

It was 5:33 the wedding was starting.  I sat down in the pew and for the next 40 minutes tried to concentrate on the ceremonies.  Luckily there was no cell phone service in the church so I wasn’t tempted to check e-mails every minute.

Once outside the church I scanned the e-mail and text barrage.  A couple more e-mails from the client stating that the meeting was still happening.   A few more from my facilitators wondering what they could do to help.  A text from the Au Pair that she had gone home to feed the baby because our 20-month old had been hungry and thirsty.

I thought about pulling my hair out at this point but I’m bald – so that didn’t help.

At this point, my wife came outside and we discussed what we should do.  We were prepared to go home to relieve the Au Pair.  We tried calling the grandparents again.  And I was thinking through various options for being able to work the program in Boston – I thought of maybe trying to rent a car to drive out to Boston, finding other facilitators in Boston who could conduct it, try to figure out a teleportation device that could beam us there directly. I was getting a little desperate.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén