Monthly Archives: October 2005

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Team Building with Appreciative Inquiry

Four team building components that we have been using over the past 8 years are crucial to creating meaningful, memorable, successfulCorporate team building experiences for executive teams. By simple trial and error, we’ve found that ensuring there is Appreciative Inquiry time for Discovering (Adventure), Dreaming, Designing (Creative Expression), and Tribal Community Gathering we engage our guests in a way that is truly remarkable.

Yesterday, a departing executive team member remarked, “When we were finally going to get down to our concrete business planning today, I was doubtful we would accomplish what was needed, having spent a great deal of time on fun, seamingly unrelated activities. At the end of the day I am truly amazed at what we have accomplished and I feel full of energy, not depleted as I usually am at the end of a business planning session.”

Indeed these folks are headed toward a new year with a brighter outlook because they took the time to include each of these elements.

Just think about it: For your last executive retreat or team building session, how many of the above components were included? How successful was your event? Could it have been enhanced by adding an element or two?

Just do it: Regardless of the team building solution you seek, ensure the service provider takes the time to include the four cornerstones that result in 100% engagement of participants and produces real extra-ordinary results.

Turtle Teachings

Over the past three days I’ve seen eight snapping turtles laying eggs. These ancient creatures that have been around for hundreds of thousands of years virtually unchanged. I watch the mother turtles dig, dig, dig, then drop gooey ping pong ball eggs into the 12 inch deep hole and cover them over before returning to the water.

What is most striking is that these turtles are seeking out the best location to lay their eggs and they have all come to the same conclusion: The gravel at the side of the road is just the spot!

There is a fierceness and dedication shown in these turtles as they face danger that roars by on the road a few feet from their nest, because the gravel there is the best nesting site.

Chunky granite gravel must be easy to dig, while provide a safe amount of protection from preditors, and being a proper type of material for freshly hatched turtles to climb through and make it safely to the surface before heading to the nearby water.

Over the millenia, snapping turtles have found the courage to stand their ground. As Gloria Estifan is singing on the radio as I type: hopefully, “I’ve finally found the courage to stand my ground.”

I’m called to think about my fierceness today.
Just think about it:
What am I willing to risk life and limb for? What values do I stand for in my workplace with my team? How do I communicate these values? In the face of what adversity do I turn and return to safety, while neglecting my deeper need to stand up and do or say the right thing?

Fierceness is not the same as agressiveness, it’s more like tenacity, or a willingness to be seen doing the right thing. 

Others should not recoil from me because I am loud or abrasive while stating my needs with my team, or doing my work the way it needs to be done.

Like the snapping turtle, I may need to cloak myself in protective armour and dress for success, and project my needs with confidence and self assuredness. But also like the turtle, I need to just do what I need to do, how I need to do it, and when I’ve done the best that I can, turn my back and head to the safety of the water, and there wait, wait, wait….
in the hopes that some of the eggs I bury make it safely into the world.

Profit Through Partnership

The following article appeared in the Almaguin News following a seminar Todd presented in Ontario, Canada, May 5th, 2004

Lucier Is Inspiring

Lucier’s presentation, alone, was considered by many well-worth the price of admission.
The owner of Northern Edge Algonquin and Blue Canoe in South River was both entertaining and motivating during a 40-minute presentation — a timeslot that proved far too short for what Lucier had planned to offer.
Nevertheless, the crowd was given a glimpse into how a business or venture can succeed and prosper in the region, with or without pavement.
Todd Lucier contends that niche markets have to be actively sought, fostered and marketed in innovative and creative ways.
He told those assembled at the conference to stop thinking about ‘Almaguin Highlands’ as a Muskoka-type tourist destination, and look for a more global connection.
“Use the power of internationally recognized brands … like Algonquin Park, not Almaguin Highlands, because there’s nobody out there specifically looking for Almaguin Highlands,” Lucier offered.
He said the market being sought should not be toward those who are passing through the area along Highway 11. Rather, it should be toward customers who have been carefully identified and enticed to a local attraction or event in the region.
“Start thinking about who your best customer is and how you can meet their needs. Ask yourselves, ‘what would they (tourists) come here for?’ And then, market and package it so they will,” offered Lucier.
Success for Todd Lucier and his wife Martha is due in part to something he calls ‘narrowcasting’ — creating and marketing to very narrow groups, niche markets.
Lucier also credits business success to marketing initiatives that partner with corporate identities, like Ontario Northland, Blue Sky Network and the New York Times on marketing initiatives. He believes they lend important credibility to a business.
The Northern Edge Algonquin principal also suggested that it is essential for competitors to work together, not against each other, in marketing their products and/or events.
“Take that old attitude about competition and throw it out … the only way to succeed is to partner with someone you’re most threatened by, Lucier offered.
“Identify your unique selling points, establish a partnership with people you have an affinity with, and sell each other,” he added.
Lucier said the Internet is the vital link that will help the area prosper economically, regardless of how people travel — whether by highway, rail or air — to reach the region.
The highly successful entrepreneur also warned, “The terror of the (four-lane) highway is not the people who will drive past (your business or community), but the people of the local community who will leave and buy elsewhere.

Just think about it: Who or what are you most threatened by? How can you work “with” this threatening entitity to improve your services or products?