Team Building Blog Latest Events

Adding Values through Focussed Team Building

May 2016

Team building activities are a great way of helping embed new values as part of an organisational rebrand. But don’t just take our word for it…

About our client
A new client for KDM, this financial services organisation was looking to create an extra level of communication for its annual Company Away Day. The organisation was rebranding and launching new values that needed to be understood and embraced by, its staff.

The brief
Our mission was to devise a suite of team building activities for the 200-strong workforce, directly linked to the organisation’s three new values: Collaborative, Challenging and Accountable.  These would form the core content of the Away Day – taking place at 155 Bishopsgate, one of London’s state-of-the-art conference and event venues.

To boost interaction and engagement, a competitive element to the team activities would provide the content for an awards presentation to round-off the day.

KDM’s Response
We split participants into three groups that would in-turn experience three distinct team building activities, each tailored to bring out the organisation’s new values.  These were ‘Harmonize’ – a session where the teams were trained by vocal coaches to become a choir, providing the ultimate Collaborative experience.  To Challenge them, the second session gave the groups a series of creative tasks incorporating business outcomes and calling for planning capability and logic.  Reflecting the third value, Accountable, teams competed against a ticking clock, having chosen their own challenges from a menu of 50 options carrying varying degrees of complexity and weighted score values.

The grand finale saw the three groups come together to sing ‘Dancing in the Street’ with perfect harmony achieved – in all senses of the word. Ending the day on a high, the awards presentation provided a joyous celebration of the groups’ successes.

Creative team building challenge participantsCorporate Event ParticipantsInnovative Team Building Activity - Harmonize, focusing on the results of collaborationEmployees participating in team building challenges, focussing on accountability

Outcome

The participants experienced their organisation’s new values in an atmosphere of fun and positivity while completing team building activities.

Our client’s early apprehension at working with KDM for the first time was allayed by the careful attention given at the event planning stage by our event manager, enabling him to fully understand and interpret the brief.  In describing our team as “motivated and professional”, the client said they “created real excitement to each activity” on the day.

If you need help with team building focussing on a specific outcome, feel free to contact us.

PS: With a scant 20-minute window to unload equipment into the event venue, KDM’s event delivery team successfully beat its own logistics challenge!


The Power of the Team: Problem Solving Team Building With a Creative Twist

April 2016

'Up Your Street' Engaging Team Building Activity from KDM Events ‘Up Your Street’ Engaging Team Building Activity from KDM Events

When one industry-leading business acquires another, it takes a strategic approach to align the two corporate cultures.  KDM supported one such culture-change programme in two separate series of events.

About our client
A pan-European distributor of tools and industrial products, our client serves a wide range of manufacturing sectors.  Adjusting to a recent major corporate acquisition, the company had embarked on a significant integration plan, spearheaded by its Head of Training and Development.

The brief
KDM was asked to support 11 separate corporate events over a two month period.  The first five of these would see groups of 50 staff from sales and operations departments brought together in locations as far apart as Glasgow and Windsor – to work on routes to successful collaboration in areas such as cross-selling.

The last six events would form part of an employee engagement programme designed to encourage positive attitudes and behaviours and to foster a culture that would see knowledge, ideas and expertise shared throughout the business.

KDM’s Response
We proposed one of our most popular collaborative team building exercises, The Missing Link, for the first five events.  For this, the groups of 50 were divided into teams which independently completed a section of a construction project.  Each unit completed its own individual component of the build and the grand finale saw all of the units coming together and the teams united in achieving the common goal, producing a boost in team morale while reinforcing our client’s intended message.

For the six-employee engagement events, teams were given the opportunity to script, act in and film an episode of Up Your Street – a hilarious soap mash-up with more than a passing nod to the Mitchell family and the Rovers Return.  Supplied with dialogue and character names, team members bonded over forming the writers, cast, and camera crew to produce their own portion of the TV drama, honing in on their combined time management and creative thinking skills simply by engaging in the team building activity together.  All the teams’ efforts were stitched together and shown on a large screen as the finale of the event.

Outcome
Working to meet a common objective brought teams together in challenges of problem-solving, time management and communication, ensuring that barriers between sales and operational cultures were dissolved as pride in collective achievement was shared.

By sharing ideas and creative thinking by completing a team building activity in an environment of humour, people really connected; team relationships were strengthened and participants had fun while working together. All recognised and experienced the company’s core values, understanding above all the amazing power of The Team.


Event Delivery – With a Splash of Colour

March 2016

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Don’t be surprised to spot one of our vibrant new vans on the highways near you in the coming weeks.  KDM’s fleet of delivery vehicles has received an injection of eye-popping colour, and to be honest, they’re hard to miss!

These vans provide a vital link in the chain of joined-up event delivery that KDM offers our clients.  Starting with strategic planning, and continuing through the process of designing and execution of tailor-made experiences and branded environments, we translate business objectives into events that engage every guest and delegate.

From entire conferences or team building away days to themed environments and stunning party decor, our in-house design and build teams partner with our logistics crews to ensure every component reaches its destination in pristine condition and primed for action.

KDM’s Commercial Director Nicky Whyman says: “Our new vans are a visual expression of the exciting, engaging and memorable experiences that we’re delivering all around the country every week of the year.  They certainly give us a burst of enthusiasm at the start of the day and we hope they’ll put a smile on the face of everyone who sees them.”


Whats the Point? KDM Conference News article

December 2015

conference-news

Digital display with many mathematical symbol, 3d

 

This year, measurement and evaluation of an events’ success has been a major
area of focus for our clients. Just how can we set objectives, measure them and
use that information to prove the success of a conference, meeting or activity
event? Conference News asked us the same question – you can read our 1-page
article www.kdmevents.co.uk/confnewsoct15.pdf

 

 


Team-up in the Sunshine – Case Study

December 2015

KDM made it possible for Prologis staff to celebrate the achievement, break down barriers and take important learnings back to the workplace – while making the most of the Summer sun.

prologis

 

 

 

About our client: Prologis is the global leader in industrial real estate, owning and managing approximately 23 million square feet of logistics and distribution space in the UK alone.  Headquartered in Solihull with an additional office in London, Prologis’ dedicated teams provide a range of leasing and property management services, supported by the company’s legal, finance, HR, client relations, and marketing departments. The company has enjoyed stellar success in 2015, having won the prestigious Estates Gazette Property Company of the Year – Industrial and Distribution award for the second year running.

The brief: For Prologis, the summer of 2015 presented the ideal opportunity for staff to take stock of what they’d achieved and to learn a little more about working with people from other parts of the business.  A dedicated team building event would enable employees to get actively involved in fresh learning challenges and form a better understanding of their colleagues that could be taken back to the workplace.

Julie Bunce of Prologis said: “We also knew that the team would relish taking on a challenge that would take us out of the comfort zone”.

KDM’s response

We customised our indoor collaborative team build event, Crystal Maze, to enable half of the activity to take place out-of-doors. We also introduced a professional facilitator, who talked-through the learning points whilst the event was happening and explained how these could be applied in the workplace.  A key part of the bonding process came from switching teams around throughout the event.  This meant that participants got to work with different members of the group – which they thought was a great (and challenging) experience.

In the evening an outdoor barbecue allowed the teams to relax and review the day’s activity – which then continued over traditional pub games, such as darts, air hockey and skittles.  Newly-formed friendships were reinforced as colleagues from different parts of the business celebrated their achievements together.

Client feedback

Julie Bunce of Prologis said: “We’d worked with KDM in the past organising Christmas parties, so we knew how professional they were. This event was a really good demonstration of the value that professional event organisers can offer.  The team worked really hard on the day to move part of the event outside, so we were able to take advantage of some great weather and the professional facilitator was really intuitive – switching teams when needed and making the collaborative learning process fun and entertaining.  KDM proved brilliantly that they know how to run creative events and I’d thoroughly recommend their services to anyone, in fact, we’re already looking forward to the next one.”

CMaze


What Can’t Be Measured Can’t Be Managed

October 2015

Office stand03 Office stand07

Meeting visitors attending this year’s Office show has been a rewarding and informative experience for KDM.  PAs, EAs and administrative executives find the show a useful source of contacts and tools that will enhance their working lives, and the Show provided us with a chance to engage with visitors in a seminar environment, where we discussed how they can assist in measuring the positive impact of the events they organise.

Our opening message was that with a little advance planning, conferences, team building days and other corporate communication activities can be measured and evaluated with the same rigour that is applied to other business initiatives.

It has long been known that there’s a huge need to find a way to effectively measure the success of business events.  And from our perspective, the starting point is to be clear on what really constitutes Event Success.  Our own research has revealed that in many cases people at the sharp end of event management have only a general idea of their events’ objectives.  Or, during the hectic planning process, organisers lose sight of the event’s original purpose – because their focus is directed on the logistical arrangements and delegate communications.

While speaker quality, venue arrangements, and even financial management are critical elements of the event planner’s checklist, they don’t provide the reason to hold an event.  So we encouraged our seminar attendees to identify the leadership team strategy that would have prompted the decision to stage their events in the first place – and to focus on that event’s purpose throughout the planning stage to ensure that its agenda and content would deliver the most effective communication.

Then we introduced the discipline of applying metrics to the planning process.  Having identified the objective of, say, reducing employee turnover, the second key step is to attribute numerical targets to that objective.  A prime parallel exists in the emotive area of dieting.  Nothing much is achieved all the time we are merely saying we’d like to be able to get back into our skinny jeans.  But as soon as we step on the scales, make a note of our starting figure and then set the target of losing so many kilos in so many weeks, we have a plan that enables us to track progress and provide measurable outcomes.

Similarly, in the business world, it’s not possible to say how successful an event was in achieving its objectives without having the same kind of metrics in place.  This, we believe, is where so many event organisers trip up.   Very often it’s after the event that people say – “We need to demonstrate ROI” – but without the benchmark figures against which a post-event comparison can be made, it’s too late to conduct any meaningful measurement.

Using tablets with a customised app, our delegates told us how confident they were in measuring the success of the events they organise. We put this question to them at the start of the seminar and then again at the end.  From an unpromising start, we were delighted to see how enthusiastically they had absorbed the seminar content and how confident they were to put their newly-acquired knowledge into practice.

Delegates confirmed to us that measurement had never entered their event evaluation process.  Naturally, it’s the ‘owner’ of the event – the director or senior leadership team that conceived it in the first place – who would be responsible for evaluating its business performance.  But we know that the concept of ‘before-and-after’ numerical comparison is still largely untried amongst corporate event organisers.  The PAs and EAs who attended our seminar will be in the vanguard of championing and executing this discipline.

For KDM it was really gratifying to welcome such an interested and engaged audience (especially as our seminar session had strong competition from the other theatres!).  It was clear that PAs are not only keen to be proactive and make an assertive contribution in their jobs but also delighted to support their bosses in demonstrating  ROO – the return on objectives for their events.

To be able to demonstrate to the CEO or the Board that the event provided a real return on its objectives, will link the event organiser directly to the overall performance improvement of the business, earning considerable kudos – for the PA and of course their boss – in the process.


KDM Cyclists Take on Pennine Challenge

September 2015

4 numb bums

We are so proud that four members of KDM’s Events Crew – Garry Holford, Toby Jennings, Graeme Seaton and Craig Winsper – have cycled 179 miles over the Pennines to raise funds for Cancer Research.

Their three-day coast-to-coast ride, Hadrian’s Cycleway, took them from Ravenglass in the North West to Tynemouth in the North East, taking in landmarks such as Lanercost Priory, Birdoswald Roman Fort and Haltwistle – the geographical Centre of Britain.

And this from a team that modestly describes itself as The Four Numb Bums: “unfit and unhealthy – with no experience of distance riding”.

Speaking after the ride Garry said: “The first day was blighted by the fact that it rained from the minute we set off to the minute we completed our scheduled 75-mile leg.  Day Two was literally an uphill slog – a 50 mile climb over the Pennines – hard work on the legs. But all in all it was a great success: we sustained no punctures, mechanical mishaps or injuries, and are hugely indebted to our support crew for keeping us fed and cheering us on.”

The guys raised an impressive £3,000 through cash and online donations, and in recognition of their herculean effort, KDM is chipping-in funds to make a grand total of £5,000.

Inspired by their first victory, the Numb Bums are already envisaging their next fundraising challenge!

Four Numb bums sun


Meeting the University Challenge

September 2015

To the casual observer, booking a conference venue must simply be a matter of browsing online or leafing through a directory – and then picking up the phone.  And sometimes it can be that easy.  But quite often it’s a real challenge to match the desired location with a suitable facility that is available at the required time.  Especially when flexibility is not an option.  There are times when even the professionals admit defeat, and the client is left with the uncomfortable prospect of accepting second best or going back to the drawing board to come up with an entirely new plan.

These were the unhappy circumstances that prompted keyword technology provider Grapeshot to contact KDM earlier this year.

Grapeshot is proud of a corporate philosophy that’s based on working hard, loving the work you do and loving the people you are working with.  The company provides an innovative environment where staff are given big problems that they are encouraged to explore and solve.  To further enhance these collaborative working relationships, team-building events are staged throughout the year and the company’s Summer Meeting brings together as many members of its international team as possible.

Reflecting this ideology, Grapeshot’s summer event incorporates a morning meeting and an afternoon of fun.  The company is building an internal reputation for putting on unique summer parties, so the event co-ordinator’s brief was to find a venue that offered both indoor conference facilities for a morning’s team meeting, together with outside space suitable for fun and frolics in the afternoon.

With the company headquartered in Cambridge, the city was the obvious hub for the national and international teams to convene.

At first glance, this seemed a simple enough requirement. Cambridge offers a wealth of colleges all with extensive grounds. However, the chosen date happened to be the last day of term and the universities were still populated by students.  Other event companies drew a blank in pinpointing a suitable venue in the city centre. Beginning to despair, Grapeshot found KDM Events online.

At times like this, a vast venue database compiled over a period of years, coupled with the local knowledge and excellent contacts can make all the difference.  We were confident that we could not only secure an appropriate venue but also devise an afternoon of appropriately-themed activities to delight the Grapeshot team.

Our research identified the prestigious Churchill College, part of the University of Cambridge and one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world. Not only can the College offer comprehensive events and conferencing service within a truly collegiate atmosphere, but it also boasts more than 40 acres of parkland featuring a huge range of on-site sporting and recreational facilities.

So with an end-of-term feeling in the air and a whole campus to play in, how could we resist a School Sports Day theme for Grapeshot’s afternoon fun?  Liaising with College staff and outside suppliers we managed and delivered all elements of the day’s agenda, including arranging and coordinating old fashioned sports day races, a barbecue, liquid refreshments, first aid provision and prizes.  Not surprisingly the whole day had the effect of stimulating and motivating Grapeshot’s 50-strong employees – converting our sports teams from reluctant competitors to triumphant participants.

Grapeshot was delighted with its Summer Meeting from beginning to end. Gael Norris, Grapeshot HR Business Partner based in the company’s London office was tasked with organising the event and said:

“Our experience of working with KDM Events was outstanding. Not only did they find us a suitable venue where other event companies had failed, but the whole process was also simple, seamless and delivered within a very reasonable budget. Lyndsey was so accommodating, friendly, flexible and nothing was too much trouble. She handled changes to the plans like the addition of a BBQ professionally and her communication was exemplary. Despite the Grapeshot team’s apprehension about the Sports Day theme, once they got involved in the games they really enjoyed themselves. We will most certainly be using KDM Events for any requirements we have in the future.

grape


Twenty Four/ Seven Quotes for Event Planners

August 2015

Have you ever been working over a weekend and found yourself needing to price a business event, but frustrated by the fact that sales offices are closed?

This is a problem that arises ever-more frequently as busy event planners take their work home with them.  Getting a fast quote can be a challenge any time – our own turnaround time is less than four hours – but when you need it at the weekend, that’s no help.

And this is why KDM have been working feverishly to devise a tool to give event planners instant online ideas for teambuilding and motivational events – complete with package prices.

We’ve developed what we believe is a ground-breaking solution that allows you to get started on your event-planning process – whenever and wherever it suits you.

Introducing our new Event Search tool, which has been designed to offer a range of options based around your event objectives, using search software that can throw up ideas and compute prices within seconds.

By clicking here, you can input basic details such as numbers, region, format and objective, for either daytime or evening events.  The system will then present several suggestions, showing descriptors, images and video clips of the chosen activity.  It also includes wildcard suggestions to inspire outside-the-box thinking.  Prices are shown against the activity once the number of participants has been specified.

We’ve priced a huge range of popular activities – from collaborative problem solving exercises to creative team-based experiences or themed reward parties – to give you an instant view of what can be achieved with your budget.

And rest-assured – just as with any other quote – our teams will be on hand to refine and adapt solutions to meet more specific event objectives once you have selected your preferred initial concept.


Is the UK Skills Shortage Helping Drive Events Growth?

July 2015

Meetpie_Logo

We certainly are seeing more companies planning events to train, motivate and thank their staff in 2015. Companies seem to be loosening the budget purse strings and acknowledging the importance of positive communication with staff through events. I recently had an interesting conversation with Allan Norbury at M&IT on the subject of growth – you can take a look at the release here:

http://www.meetpie.com/Modules/NewsModule/newsdetails.aspx?t=UK-skills-shortage-driving-events-revival&newsid=21294

What are your experiences with the UK skills shortage and retaining talent?
Nicky Whyman

 



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