Off to See the Wizard

Kyoto, Japan circa 1986, and there I was — standing at the ancient gates of Tofukuji monastery — eagerly attempting to meet the wizard. In truth, Fukushima Roshi is no sorcerer, nor is Tofukuji the Emerald City. But the Abbot of Tofukuji temple is certainly “wizardly” in his sense of calm, equanimity, and spiritual development…or […]

“The Wave” of Team Decision Making

A few days ago, I watched a fascinating movie from 2008 — “The Wave” — available widely on DVD, Netflix, etc. Although the film takes place in Germany (with an all-German cast), it’s actually a dramatization of the true story of an unusual teaching experiment conducted by Ron Jones at his Palo Alto, CA high […]

Why Teambuilding?

Earlier this year, I was in Denver preparing for a treasure hunt. The night before the program, the client asked me to join the group for a drink at the hotel where we were staying. Expecting fifteen people when I arrived in the hotel lounge, I was surprised to see that only fourteen team members […]

What is a Teambuilding Program?

Explaining what their son does has never been an easy task for my parents. “Oh, there’s Mrs. Weinstein—her son’s a doctor. And Mrs. Honeywell—her daughter’s an attorney. Our son?—oh, uh, yes, he’s a teambuilding trainer. No, no, I don’t know exactly what he does either, but he’s quite good at it, I can assure you.” […]

Teambuilding and Corporate Performance

By Jennifer van Stelle, PhD Sociology, Stanford University Some time ago, Dave Blum and I were discussing the positive impact of teambuilding on organizations. I’m an organizational sociologist – I study how organizations work (or don’t work), how people inside companies relate to each other, and how organizations themselves relate to other organizations. Dave claimed […]

Healthy Competition

“Competition is the worst possible arrangement as far as relationship is concerned” –educator Alfie Kohn (1986) A few weeks back I was invited to observe a teambuilding session involving the cooking of a group meal — call it “team cuisine”. Working in small groups, each team was assigned the task of preparing pizza, salad and […]

Can People Really Be Motivated?

There’s an old story that goes like this: “An elderly man has endured the insults of a crowd of ten-year-olds each day as they passed his house on their way home from school. One afternoon, after listening to another round of jeers about how stupid and ugly and bald he was, the man came up […]

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