Each year millions of basketball and non-basketball fans go crazy over March Madness. Hours are wasted at work and productivity goes down because everybody involved is filling out their brackets and talking about the games. While some people do hours of research, others practically close their eyes to pick their teams. The beauty of the tournament being a one-and-done scenario is that anybody can win! Often times the winner of the bracket is a 10-year-old son or daughter who picks the teams they like, completely at random. The best part: the winner gets a full year of bragging rights which is worth everything!

The point is, the excitement that March Madness generates for our team is like nothing else. It is not wasted time at all. What some may consider loss of productivity, we feel is a crucial part of team building. The tournament creates community and connection in our workplace. Employees and clients join the fun by debating, laughing, arguing, engaging, and most of all, connecting with each other. This explodes our community and our culture. It is organic in every way. This is the ultimate team event that exceeds its expectations. It increases our productivity by sharing the love of being together – cheesy, but true. This year one of our clients even filled out a bracket for our newest AXIS baby (born to two of our trainers just last week). That was a true testament to the strong community we have. Don’t miss out on opportunities to bring your team together!

Team Building Events??

You don’t have to plan a so-called “Team Building” event to build your team. We’ve all done them: the rope courses, the trivia games, the happy hour that everyone feels obliged to attend. On any given day in downtown Palo Alto, it is almost guaranteed that there’s a scavenger hunt going on, where techies are forced to have “fun” and “engage” with their peers as they romp around University Ave. It just looks painful!

Building a great team does not happen after one “team building” event, nor does it happen overnight. It takes a constant focus, to not only lead by example, but to engage every single day, to listen, to ask questions, to be present, to have conversations that mean nothing…but mean everything to building a culture of trust and love. A great team is built by the leaders holding people accountable, by being direct yet reasonable. The goal is to have a team of people who care about each other, who are not afraid to be real with each other, and who can have fun together. If you create an environment where people are listened to, where they can be who they are, and where nobody takes themselves too seriously, a strong team is the result.

The Company Holiday Party

Over the last 21 years there have been all kinds of different venues for our annual company party, but all had some activity: bowling, pool, D.J., bands, casino night, etc. This year was the first year that we had no planned activity. We had our holiday party at a small wine bar, with nothing to do but enjoy each other’s company. Looking around the room that night was special; seeing everyone having fun conversations, seeing people take a real interest in learning more about their team members and their families, was really wonderful. That was a true confirmation that we have strong team.

If you want to create the ultimate gathering spot for employees and clients, start with wrapping your arms around March Madness! Enjoy the ridiculous speculations and evaluations; embrace the friendly competition. Build your team by focusing on those nothing conversations that mean everything!