Team Building Event or Team Building Experience? You Decide.

There are two types of team building, events and experiences.   Team building events are as simple as getting together for a meal, or an informative activity.  The activity is  fun, easily directed by a novice, and has the effect of getting your team in the same space for a few minutes.  An experience is a whole different thing.

A team building experience has the power to change your team.  An experience will give your team new thoughts, stronger relationships, and a shared memory.  Experiences elicit visceral responses, and have long lasting results.  Experiences change things in your work environment, usually for the better, especially if you utilize a skilled facilitator.

Canvas Creek Collaborative Art is a great example of a team building experience.

During our collaborative art process, the team is stressed, confused, concerned, and afraid of failure.  It is only in coming together that they have success and in that coming together they bond as a group.  Furthermore, we go to great lengths to make sure the team has these responses, and watch them closely to make sure their response is on target with the business goals.  In the end the team is proud of what they created-  together.  They are excited about what other activities they can accomplish-  together.  They are excited to stand- together.  Together.  It’s what makes a team, a team.  Working, thinking, acting, playing, succeeding- together.   Each of those moments happen in front of our canvas.

We use ‘events’ in conjunction with an experience, or as a ‘get to know us’ activity.  Our most popular events are Don’t Drop the Dough™ and Hear Gone and Ringing™.  Don’t Drop The Dough™ is a hilarious and high energy activity.  The activity  drives home the importance of communication and repetition.  Hear Gone and Ringing™ is a communication exercise.  During this exercise we use bells to demonstrate the strength of your message, in addition to the human aspect of a wandering mind.

When should you use a team buildingteam building experience, and when should you settle for a team building event?

It’s a valid question.  Your team does not need an experience if everything is clicking along just fine.  There are no big changes on the horizon, comfortable goals are being met and people are getting along. During these times, an event will do, especially if it contains elements of appreciation, and relaxation.  On the other hand,  when the opposite is true, there are changes, challenges, or big celebrations, an experience is the best gift you can give your group.  They need a fun opportunity to enjoy each other, and to grow as a unit, under the guidance of a skilled facilitator.

When you are looking for a team building experience, we hope you will choose us.  100% of our teams say they are stronger after collaborative art, using our process, than before.  That is just the way we like it.   855-832-6278

Creative Corporate Team Building Activities- by Canvas Creek

Your Mission in Resin by Canvas Creek Team Building

Because Canvas Creek operates as a mobile art studio we bring you creative corporate team building activities that include everyone in the process.  Art based team building and activities are the fastest way to bond teams, because the activities are engaging, barrier free and rewarding.   They are also one of the few times that multi-generational teams will all be on the same page!   When your team takes time to create art together, they take time to think new thoughts, try new ideas, forge new ways of working together.

We often hear comments like “I didn’t expect JoAnn to be so good with a brush!” and “I could not have done this without Bill’s help.”  When teams learn that they can count on each other, and that they have unexpected (hidden) talents, things in the office improve quickly.

Three creative corporate team building activities offered by Canvas Creek-

Your Mission in Resin by Canvas Creek Team Building

  1. Collaborative Art.  We can’t say it enough, this works.  Watch this TEDx talk to learn about the development of this process which has been used by over 50,000 people.
  2. Your Mission in Resin.  Capture 3d items in this unique medium.   Each person will choose an item for display in the finished piece, placing it beside, under or over other peoples items.   We then capture the items in a thick resin pour and your art work is done and ready for display the next day.   These Resin Projects are great when part of a cocktail party, then displayed at the meeting the next day.
  3. Canvas Conversations.  Used as part of cocktail hour or communication training we take the paint and sip idea into the training realm.  Communication.  Change management.  Employee appreciation (this is incredible) we do amazing things with a paint brush and a canvas.

We do amazing things  with a paint brush and a canvas.

Creative events such as these give your team evidence of what they can do together and they look great hanging in the office.  You will often find your team showing them to clients, thus increasing relationship conversations.

Canvas Creek Team Building is a company of creative, expressive events.  We are proud to work with your trainers and meeting planners to make creative corporate events that will delight your staff—and the custodian, as we never leave a stain!

What Makes Canvas Creek Successful?

When I designed the Canvas Creek Experience there was a more than one moment of doubt, more than one worry that it would not be successful with teams.  The concept was completely different than anything else being done with teams.  At the time, the formula was based on Tunisian art rules, used in times of conflict, but not necessarily for building a team.  As we challenged, tested, and improved the process we cemented five key ingredients that make this team building successful.

In the end this story, no matter how paint splattered, gives the team a sense of pride.  That pride is what goes back to the office.

  1. 90% of the people in the room are not artists, thus they are worried they can’t complete the process and quickly acquiesce to the idea that together they might be able to complete the task.
  2. The roles we assign and the ‘rules’ we ask teams to follow set the team up for success. It’s not just throwing paint at a canvas and hoping something sticks, the process works because there is a process. We can tell you exactly what a team should be doing by the minute, and we have ways of helping them achieve those milestones, if necessary.
  3. The art always tells a story. It captures both individual expression and the power of group think.  Group think is powerful, and when the team plugs into this creative flow you can feel the electricity in the room.  The movements get bigger, the expressions are bigger, and chaos seems to rein, but in fact the team is telling their story.   In the end this story, no matter how paint splattered, gives the team a sense of pride.  That pride is what goes back to the office.Effective team building events
  4. Art hung in the office or facility. This is the real power of this team building.  The team sees their art, remembers their shared experience, and the bond is strengthened.  Often we hear of team members standing in front of the art, their heads tilt to the left, they tilt to the right and they even reach out and touch elements that are important to them.  It’s not a waste of time, it is ROI.  It is a reminder of what they learned about each other, and what they can do together.
  5. The art can not be completed alone, and it would not be complete without each person’s contribution to the canvas. This is incredibly important.  Imagine your staff knowing that their contribution to the team is valuable in every way, every day.  It is not just the singular contribution, it is how the team used their element and built on it.  How the team’s art was better because of each brush stroke.   This is liberating for team members.

The art could not be completed alone, and it would not be complete without each person’s contribution to the canvas.

Canvas Creek is used by businesses, it is used by families, it is used by nonprofits.  Sometimes we launch into goal setting, mission refining, family healing, celebrating, or embracing change.   The reason for jumping into the creek may change, but the process never does, because it works.  And the reason it works is the people. We can’t make art without them; their spirits, fears, skills and willingness to try something they might fail at if it weren’t for the team.  People going through a great process is what makes Canvas Creek successful.

We love what we do, and we’d love to do it with your team!  Call us at 855-832-6278 today.

copyright 2017



Host a Creative Goal Setting Session

If you want goals that aren’t boring, there  are five things you will want to do to host a creative goal setting session—

Creative Goal Setting Session

Creative Goal Setting Session

  • Change the environment
  • Change the tools
  • Get them moving
  • Provide prompts
  • Forget reality

This is going to be a new kind of day, a day that throws your team off just a bit.   You do this so the team can think new thoughts, truly engage in the process of setting goals that aren’t boring.   Sales teams know the drill, they need to hit sales marks, increased over last year of course, hence they need to find new clients.  Those realities won’t change which is why you want goals to be colorful, exciting, and energizing.   My blog, Goals that Wont Bore Your Team will help you to think about creative goals.  Now, let’s dig into HOW you set the stage for finding those goals.

First of all, remember you are developing an environment of creative dissonance. This means this space is going to challenge and reward your team.  As a result, it is going to help them set and connect with a new type of goal.  It is going to be—fun!  And when is the last time anyone on your team said goal setting was fun?

Think about this, the more senses you have involved in the day, the bigger the goals will be.

  1. Change the Environment. Either move the table out of the room, or to the corner.   Bring in easels and flip charts rather than writing at tables.  Cover the floor with drop cloths. Put kraft paper on the walls.  Change the lighting.  Go outside.  Go to the warehouse.  Use the lobby at your biggest clients building. The point is to engage the brain by challenging it while figuring out how to manage this environment.
  2. Forget Pencils. We need color!  Bring in markers, crayons or paint brushes.   Yes, your team will probably roll their eyes when they see crayons, that is part of the process.  Assign one person to oversee technology, in addition, ask everyone to put away their phones and tablets.  Your technologist will do any research, or monitor necessary communications, for the team.
  3. Get Them Moving. I’d like for your team to do Canvas Creek Collaborative Art before they set goals, it makes them more creative, more collaborative, and more open to visualizing new outcomes. If that isn’t an option, get your team moving by eliminating chairs (provide a few chairs if someone is in a wheelchair, so conversations are still inclusive.)  Turn up the music and dance.  Set up snack stations in two or three areas. Have prompts placed all around the room.   Your goal is to get the creative juices flowing, by getting people moving. Consequently, this day will take a bit longer than your average meeting.
  4. Provide Prompts. Prompts can be items you sell, items your customers produce, big flavors, big colors, incentive posters, anything that makes your team think and hear possibilities. Snacks should have big flavors, to engage the senses (hot, cold, sweet, sour, pungent, —different) and prompts should have texture, sound, and malleability such as playdough or sand.   The idea is to engage all five senses.  Especially relevant, each sense is going to stimulate new ideas, and if those senses can be lit by the products you or your target customers represent, all the better.
  5. Forget Reality. My grandpa always said there are no atheists in fox holes, by comparison, there are no pessimists in goal setting either.   Every idea should be met with possibility, while the team thinks bigger and better.  The ideas that get response from your team should be circled in big, lavish loops, with lots of color.  There is no space for “It can’t be done, it won’t work, or yeah but”.  This is about silly, funny, thought provoking, limitless, thinking.  Consequently, this is the kind of thinking that tumbles over itself and goes from one idea to the next.   At the end of the day you can clean up the edges, make sure the goals will be effective, but for now let ideas flow freely.

Because this is an active, thinking day, take lots of breaks.  Most of all, change things in the middle of the flow, such as have people work in teams, then change the team.

This day should be about moving, talking, thinking, trying, and least of all- boredom.

Finally, as you wrap up your creative goal setting session it’s time to determine what you’ve accomplished.  Look at the ideas your team is most enthusiastic about and set your goals.  Ask which ideas will be fun.  Are there goals to help you to reach new audiences?  Which ideas does the team feel like they can get behind?  Do any ideas provide for measurable results?  Again, you know the realities of your work, you are just going to accomplish that work with goals that don’t feel like you are stuck in a rut.

In conclusion, choose one to three goals that are colorful (ten new clients with green in their logos) energizing (how many foot-steps does it take to close a deal) and interesting (clients with personality).  Congratulations, you have Goals that Won’t Bore Your Team, therefore everyone eagerly buys in to achieve them!

We will  help you with strategic planning, and creative goal setting; contact us at 855-832-6278 to discuss your team needs and our services.  

Goals that Won’t Bore Your Team!

To achieve more in 2017 you need to tell your team “no more boring goals!”   Instead, invite them to set goals that are colorful, energetic, unexpected, and exciting things.  Goals that gets them thinking in new ways; as a result you will have new ways to celebrate your team.

Imagine telling your sales team they are going to focus on finding the ten biggest companies with green ($) in their name or logo and making them a client.  Maybe you would settle for the ‘crumbs’ created by a cookie factory- who on your team can ‘sweep’ Nabisco into your sales funnel?  If you’re going for cookies, you are going to need milk, and the milk that is going crazy right now is any kind of milk made from nuts.  Figure out the ‘nuttiest’ way to reach out to these companies and award peanut butter for the person that ‘spreads’ your name around their office.

company retreats

Goals that wont bore your team!

Boring goals net boring results.  Boring goals lead to boring pitches. Your team is better than this!

What do you offer?  Who needs it?  What is the zaniest characteristic they  have?  How can you appeal to that?

This type of goal setting will net results, because it engages more senses, more thinking, and more fun.  Your team will drive the results that count when they collaborate on ideas, execution, and celebration.   Have you tried focusing on clients with three children, or helping six people who love purple fall in love with your product?  How about selling homes to people who ski, insurance to people who like tacos, or one car per month to someone who traveled to Europe?

One a personal note, maybe you need to loose weight, couldn’t you do that by working out with more people?  Set a goal to exercise with 1000 people this year. (Classes count!) Imagine counting mailboxes instead of miles, trees instead of steps, or turning left each time you see a dog.  Saving money? Put a dollar in your account for every red car you see on the way to work. Use the savings from coupons to fund your vacation.  It is just as important to not have boring goals at home as it is at work.  Another benefit- the more goals they achieve, the more goals you will achieve!  Therefore, encourage your team to reach all sorts of goals.

Creative team building, as a goal setting kick off, will cause your team to collaborate, not compete, therefore they will cooperate, not undermine.   Especially relevant, it is easier to stay focused on group goals when they are creative.  Canvas Creek is here to help you get achieve more in 2017 with goals that won’t bore your team!

Karen Grosz is author of “What’s Your Excuse?” and founder of Canvas Creek Team Building


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