• 4 Commitments for a Winning Team

    This month, in the Caesars Entertainment special edition of One+, I penned a wrap-up of the 2012 Caesars Entertainment Educational Experience. Alas, there is never enough space in print. What follows is a wrap-up specifically of one speaker, retired National Basketball Association star Mark Eaton. He delivered a motivational speech about how, based on his experiences in life and professional sports, groups can create teams that are unstoppable, united champions.

    This boiled down to four commitments.

    1) Know Your Job

    2) Do What You’re Asked to Do. Nowadays that’s exceeding expectations. Be clear about what others expect of you—most of the time, the situation isn’t the problem, you are.

    3) Make People Look Good. “Nothing will alienate you faster than hogging the ball; nothing will make you look better than passing the ball.”

    4) Protect Others. “When you protect others, they’ll feel free to take risks—that’s where innovation happens.”

    In closing, Eaton tasked attendees with asking their own teams to rank how they excel at each of these commitments (from 1 to 10), and then work on bettering those results.

    “This strategy will enable you to win at whatever game you’re playing,” Eaton said.

    Image (CC) Daryl I
  • Effective Teams in Emerging Markets

    Over on the HBR blogs, Alfredo Behrens posted an intriguing piece about the challenges and tricks to building successful teams in emerging markets.

    Most South Americans derive their identity from the group to which they belong. They stick to neighborhoods where they build loyalty-bound networks, and they distrust those who are outsiders. South Americans work best with people they already know. These are traits South Americans share with many workers in BRIC countries, where much of the world's future growth is expected.

    Because South Americans perform best in teams made up of people they already know, they would take too long to become a high-performing team made up of Venezuelans and Uruguayans. When left to work on their own, the Uruguayans recovered their original teamwork spirit and performed highly enough to pique the Venezuelans to improve their own ratings. South American are competitive, but not individually. They compete better in teams.

    I wonder if Behrens' analysis here applies generally to workers in emerging meeting and event industry markets, too. I suspect there will be some crossover, but considering how meetings have such a global/border-agnostic view of business at times, I suspect our lil old industry might be an exception...perhaps teams in emerging markets initially work best with people they know and cultures in which they've grown up, but to expand into the international world of business those in the meeting and event industry must be able to transcend this.

    Or am I just thinking "cray" on a Friday?

    Image: (CC) michaelcardus

  • Pinball Wizard

    Groove to the rhythm of the flashing lights!

    Pinball, a slacker sport of decades past, has now received its justified place of honor in an honest-to-goodness museum in America's capital! The National Pinball Museum opened this month with more than 14,000 square feet of pinball geekery and memorabilia.

    Of course, this news item found its spot on PlusPoint because you can absolutely reserve the museum for your private events. A party room is available during regular business hours, but book outside of those hours and you can secure the entire venue.

    Museum curator David Silverman has a collection of more than 800 pinball-related machines (including the 19th century precursor known as a bagatelle), and can probably best your high score blindfolded.

  • Record Breaker

    I'm not sure if this is the coolest team-building package in the world, or the most ludicrous, though I am leaning toward the latter. From the official presser:

    Every company strives to be the World's Best at something. Guinness World Records Live! can make that happen. GWR Live! offers companies in Europe, Japan and the U.S. custom-made packages to help promote excellence—and a chance to make history. The GWR Live! team advises companies on what existing or new records can best reflect any communication message. The package provides personnel to help train and guide participants through the record-breaking process and, of course, an official Guinness World Records adjudicator for on-the-spot instant verification. Company staff can arrive at the event mere mortals and leave as genuine World Record holders.

    Kind of takes the mystic and magic out of earning a World Record...

  • Extreme Measures

    You'd think Johnny Knoxville was running spa resorts nowadays, judging by the types of activities some leisurely locations offer as incentives for groups. 

    For example, participants can learn to walk a tightrope 30-feet off the ground or jump from 25-foot pole at the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson. Or maybe you'd just like to get to know your food a little better—the Sanderling Resort & Spa in North Carolina plans to offer butchering workshops for guests, where you can select and cut your own meat from steers, hogs and lambs. 

    The raising of the stakes at spa retreats is due to the, you guessed it, recession. 

    "Luxury hotels, hurt more than their cheaper competitors by last year’s U.S. recession, are working to reverse a drop in demand from business travelers," wrote Nadja Brandt for Bloomberg. "Spa resorts, upscale properties with a focus on health treatments and other recreational activities, are among those that have had the toughest time booking corporations, which became thriftier during the slump."

    For more on the story, please read "Spa Resorts Try 'Naked Table' Building, Yoga to Lure Executives" at Bloomberg

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