Allianz Life Makes a Habit of Giving Back

Life insurance giant Allianz Life, based right here in Minneapolis, specializes in retirement solutions including annuities and life insurance policies.

allianz life logoThey’re at the top of their game in that business, and we like to think their incredibly strong employee giving program plays a role in that success! Read more


Medtronic Millennials Max Out on Mad Teamwork Skills Here in Minneapolis

For a set of Millennials from Medtronic, teamwork came naturally.

This can happen for a number of reasons, but in this case it definitely had a lot to do with “connectedness”!

Medtronic-LogoWith just a few minutes for setup but a big room perfect for a teambuilding workshop, our facilitator found this group had what it took (and more) to do teamwork right.

Trust is huge in teamwork.

That “connectedness” isn’t something you find in every workplace.  It’s more of a quality you find in a close circle of friends, a school cohort, or a family.  However, it’s always something to shoot for on teams because it does such great things for communication and productivity.

Here’s an example from this Medtronic workshop, which was held at operational headquarters in Minneapolis for a group of interns.

“Mirror Mirror” is one of our most popular icebreaker activities because it gets participants to focus on reading signals from others.  Partners take turns writing numbers in the air, mirroring each other and trying to guess which numbers they’re writing.

One pair did so well with this challenge it was noticeable right away.  Turns out their secret was a super high level of connectedness between them because they were not only co-workers at Medtronic, but also roommates!

Teamwork is about connection but it’s also about trust and understanding.  When you know someone, you build trust and you learn his or her communication style as well.  This leads to being able to cut to the heart of the matter on projects or any collaborative effort.  Nice job, girls!

When communication isn’t a barrier, collaboration is easy.

Bicycle-Team-Building-Workshop-LogoWe saw the same leverage being used throughout the workshop: since each participant was of the same 20-something age group, certain assumptions about communication and behavior were leveraged for a more successful outcome.

Wouldn’t it be great if every workplace was like this?

The second icebreaker activity was called “Thirteen Colonies” and with a custom version of the activity aimed at their age group, the participants nailed this one too.

The collaborative energy in the room rose even higher during the main activity oft he day: building bicycles for a Minneapolis charity.  Teams who finished their bikes early showed incredible solidarity with the group and merged into other teams to help them finish up!

Communication, then collaboration, then amazing creativity and super productivity.

Boys-And-Girls-Club-Twin-Cities-MinneapolisAs you can see, when communication is not an obstacle, collaboration becomes incredibly simple.  That leads to a whole world of increased productivity, individual initiative, and other wonderful surprises.

Case in point: one of the Medtronic interns, out of nowhere, created unique hand-made bags for the kids from the receiving charity.  The bags contained lots of fun and thoughtful items and really put a crown jewel on the whole event.

Boys & Girls Club arrives and we wrap it up.

For the final event of the workshop, a rep (Carlos) from the Boys & Girls Club of Minneapolis visited, bringing with him some kids from the club.  They were there to officially “receive” the bikes and provide everyone a chance to connect with the charity they were working for.  One of the kids from the club had a birthday that day so the event took on a truly celebratory tone.  It was a true testament to the power of teamwork and positive energy.