Category Archives: Play

Quix Tip: Get Playful

1. Choose something that you’ve persisted at all winter long. 2. Re-visit what you love about the topic. Why have you persisted? There’s clearly love in there. 3. Relax around your growing edge of the topic. 4. Get playful with the content and see what fresh perspectives and energy arise.

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Quest Story: What’s the hardest part of being at your best?

The team leader looked at the At Your Best compass, thought for a moment then said, “play is the hardest for us.” She explained, “we get so lost in what has to be accomplished, that we forget to enjoy the work, to smile, to enjoy each other. We work so hard and forget to play.” She’s right. Passion, play, purpose, persistence – what’s the hardest? For most teams it’s play. Which is interesting when we recall we all started out as kids. Play came naturally and easily to all of us. Somewhere along the path of life, we lost our way, and a core success muscle atrophied. Play isn’t just ‘having fun’. Play equals creativity. It allows for experimentation, testing and failure. It’s where innovation and invention come from. Without it, there will be no breakthroughs. In a ‘failure is not an option’ world, it’s no surprise that the power of play has been forgotten. Her team started the day just as she stated. Picture This was fraught with tension and the team immediately unconsciously launched into a high-stress attempt at completing the team building activity. Then during the debriefing, team eyes started to open. As the Collaborative Team Building Quest day progressed, some barnacles of old behavior got scraped off. Finally the last activity, On Target, began the same way. Stressed out, not communicating. With each round, however, they got better. The last round, the team was as one – eyes shining, calm, clear communication, innovation successfully in place. The ideal team, and their results blew away what they thought they could do. That’s the beginning of a new story, of teams relearning to play the work. When in doubt, we pause then play. If our immediate world hasn’t crumbled because of this radical heresy, we do it again…and then again.

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Quix Tip: Top Ten Songs You Can Play Along With on Your C Harmonica

If you have a harmonica in the key of C you can play along with recordings of these songs. Pick your spot on the harmonica and try drawing air in, or blowing air out. It’s fun and easy too! Piano Man by Billy Joel – Play out more than in, melody is in the middle, starting on Hole Six, Blow out. Love Me Do by the Beatles – Draw in first on the bottom three holes and then when the chord changes, blow out on the bottom three holes. Repeat. Or try playing the single note melody on the middle of the harmonica. The first note is Hole Five, draw in. Come Together by the Beatles – This very easy melody can be played almost entirely on Holes Four and Five, drawing in. Start on Hole Five, drawing in. Early in the Morning by Louis Jordan – Draw in first on the bottom three holes and then when the chord changes, blow out on the bottom three holes to play this blues rumba. Repeat. In the one spot of the song that sounds different, draw in on Hole One only. Ode to Joy by Pete Seeger (This lovely version of Beethoven’s melody from the Ninth Symphony is on Pete’s album simply titled Pete) Play out more than in. Melody is in the middle. Start on Hole Five – blow out. Rawhide by Frankie Laine (yes, this is the same classic Rawhide that the Blues Brothers did) – Play the melody only. The first phrase moves back and forth on Hole Two, blow out and then Hole Three, blow out, starting on Hole Two. The second phrase moves back and forth on Hole Two, draw in and then Hole Three, draw in and moves up from there. Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley (His version on Aloha From Hawaii begins in the key of C) – Play the melody, the first three notes are Hole Four, blow out; Hole Six, blow out; Hole Four, blow out. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra – Play the melody starting (and staying on for a while) Hole Five, Blow out. We Shall Overcome, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, and Swing Low Sweet Chariot (all recordings by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones on their beautiful album of spirituals Steal Away) – Try playing the melodies on the middle of the harmonica. Batman (the original wacky 60s TV show theme) – Draw in first on the bottom three holes and then when the chord changes blow out on the bottom three holes. Then repeat. In the one spot of the song that sounds different, draw in on Hole One only. Don’t forget to also add the ‘Bat-man’ vocal part! *The melodies of any simple folk songs, most Americana songs (Shenandoah, Amazing Grace, etc.) can be played, also spirituals and nursery rhymes. You don’t need a recording, just try to find the melody in the middle of the harmonica. Where to get a C harmonica – If you’re a graduate of our Play the Blues program you are already the owner of a C harmonica. If you’re not, it’s time to get your team in tune and give us a call! If you want to try these songs on your own before then, go to a music store and ask for a harmonica in the key of C. Or here on Amazon. Where to get recordings of these songs – The iTunes store, the library or your favorite local music store. Learn more: Play the Blues - Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together!

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Chocolate Trivia

Early Mexican history states that: 1. The cocoa bean was a gift from the Gods and forbidden to eat 2. Women were not allowed to eat cocoa, only men 3. Cocoa beans were used as money 4. Ground up cocoa beans were used to make flour  Which country consumes the most chocolate per person per year? 1. United States 2. Switzerland 3. Belgium 4. France In 1657 the first chocolate shop opened up in: 1. London 2. Vienna 3. Amsterdam 4. Brussels Theobroma Caco is the scientific name for the cacao tree. When translated in Greek it means: 1. Warm Dark Fluid 2. Food of the Gods 3. Witch’s Brew 4. Brown Tree from Abroad Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the title of: 1. A movie  2. The book by Roald Dahl 3. Both of the above 4. Neither of the above Before Gene Wilder was selected to play Willy Wonka, what legendary actor was considered? 1. Stan Laurel 2. Dick Van Dyke 3. Jack Lemmon 4. Fred Astaire Who sang ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’? 1. Shirley Jones  2. Debbie Reynolds  3. Julie Andrews  4. Deborah Kerr  Godiva Chocolate comes from: 1. France 2. Switzerland 3. Belgium 4. England  What candy had a pivotal role in a Seinfeld episode? 1. M & Ms  2. Baby Ruth  3. Reeses Pieces  4. Junior Mints  Kit Kat commercials in the 70s and 80s featured what animal? 1. A bear  2. A lion  3. A seal  4. A dog  What company created the first milk chocolate bar? 1. Cadbury 2. Nestle 3. Hershey 4. Borden’s The largest Toblerone bar is: 1. 1 pound 2. 2 pounds  3. 5 pounds  4. 10 pounds  Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Crossing Chocolate Bridges – What better way to hone communication skills than with chocolate?

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Music Team Building Trivia Challenge

Here are some fun music trivia questions from our Name That Tune team building program! Scroll down to find out the answers. The Questions What song did the FBI determine is unintelligible at any speed? In which Madonna song were her vocals pitched up to make her sound younger? (She was 26 at the time.) What song was written after the lead singer and his friend, Marty Jones, got drunk at a bar and were too chicken to talk to a couple of girls (before the lead singer was famous)? What is the name of the duo featuring the brother of Dan Seals, who was “England Dan” of England Dan and John Ford Coley? What was their most popular song? What song made Eminem want to give up rapping? What was the orginal song from which Sesame Street made a version called “(I Can’t Get No) Cooperation” about a school kid who couldn’t find anyone to play jump rope or seesaw with? What song was used in commercials for Bud Light beer in the 90s, featuring 4 guys dressed up as women to take advantage of a promotion at a bar? What song was inspired by the German singer Nina Hagen, when the lead singer of the band came across one of her jackets that he liked? She insisted he take it, explaining that giving stuff away creates good energy. What song did this band’s record company not want on their album because they thought it was too long and that no radio station would play it? The Answers Louie Louie by the Kingsmen Borderline Mr. Jones by Counting Crows Seals and Crofts, Summer Breeze Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones Ladies Night by Kool and the Gang Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s music team building activities: Play the Blues – As featured on NPR and in The Meeting Professional  Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together! Give the Kids Music – Learn to play and build musical instruments and then give the gift of music to underserved children.

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Quix Picks: My Life as a Zucchini

In my last post I asked you to share your best punch line. Thanks for the submissions! Here are two that got us laughing: “The chicken’s going to a gig!” Best read with a yeti accent: ”Ah, but when you rub it, it becomes an attaché case!” My Life as a Zucchini A French claymation film about the trauma of losing your parents as a child and living in a foster home. Are you still with me? You should be! This wondrous movie taps directly into childhood wonder, joy, sadness, loneliness, anger, love. The sheer depth of emotion rings true – I still remember – to our experience as children. I recently wrote how much I loved the movie Kubo, also a claymation movie. They are both Oscar-nominated, both about ‘hard’ subjects (Kubo is about death) but the claymation is worlds apart. Kubo was smooth, slick. ‘Zucchini’ has more of a Gumby/Davey & Goliath feel. It wears its homespun clay molding, like its raw emotion, on its sleeve. And I love that. And for those of you that are sub-title gun-shy, it’s actually voiced by an American cast (including Will Arnett, Ellen Page, Amy Sedaris) for U.S. release.

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Try This At Home! Send Us Your Best Punch Line: a Record Breakers Challenge

Here’s an activity that we sometimes do in our featured program, Record Breakers. Tell us your best (publicly appropriate) punch line to a joke. Not the whole joke, just the punch line. Ask your teammates – what’s the funniest/strangest/winningest punch line? Don’t send us the whole joke, just the punch line. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: World Record Breakers – Ignite Olympic energy, passion and fervor with a dozen hilarious competitive events! Everyone can play regardless of physical ability.

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Fun Facts Q & A with Rob Fletcher – Part 1

What is your favorite aspect of your work? I have two favorite aspects. The first is the actual time in front of a group leading a team building or training program and transporting them to a better place. It makes the traveling, the preparation – not my favorite aspects – worth it. The second is writing – for my blog, for the newsletter, for upcoming books. It’s never easy to write, and always difficult to make the space for uninterrupted time. But it’s always rewarding, especially in the moments when what I’ve written feels both deeply true for me and valuably inspiring for someone else. What quirky life experiences have been surprisingly helpful in your life and work? Leading week-long trips in the Hudson Valley woods with underserved kids from NYC made any challenging behaviors corporate groups can come up seem tame. Playing music live has really helped with timing, emphasis and connection when doing speaking engagements. Living for years on very little money while studying music, putting myself through college and beyond has helped me make life and work decisions out of enthusiasm instead of fear. And to not freak out as an entrepreneur where future work is always an uncertainty. What kind of music do you like to listen to? I love to listen to jazz most of all, especially since I’m perpetually studying and practicing it on guitar and voice. I also really love to listen to music I loved in High School from the 80s and 70s. Beyond that I’m both omnivorous with music but also very fussy and specific. What is the most ridiculous but very cool fashion trend that you followed? Spiked hair, checkered shoes, Anarchy t-shirt in High School Who is one of your mentors and why do they inspire you? Bugs Bunny. He really knows how to enjoy himself in any situation, is at ease even when in apparent peril, and humor is a priority. Before some outside force messes with him and starts the next adventure, he’s always by himself, completely fulfilled and engaged in what he’s doing. Plus I love his singing. Who would you most like to see in concert from the front row? Genesis with original singer Peter Gabriel fronting the band. If you had to eat one food continuously for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for a week, what would it be? Eggs! What’s your favorite season and why? Summer! When I was a kid it was winter so I could ice skate, but now I’m an endless summer boy. I love being outside. And in New England summer gives me the best chances to be outside, play and enjoy natural beauty. Fun! If you could tour with one band who would you choose? Stevie Wonder in the 70s, Queen, Al Green, Paul McCartney & Wings in the 70s, XTC, Peter Gabriel, the Who in the 70s (but with ear plugs), Pat Metheny, John Coltrane, Toots Thielemans, Phish, The Free Design, Frank Sinatra, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gregoire Maret, Antonio Carlos Jobim…That’s one band right?

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Team Building The AMC Hut Croo Way

After a full, beautiful day of hiking the White Mountains in New Hampshire, my long-time friend Kevin (over 30 years!) and I reached our resting place for the night. We unslung our backpacks at Mizpah Spring Hut. An Appalachian Mountain Club hut is a ‘hut’ in name only. Located on Mount Pierce at 3,800 feet elevation, the Mizpah Spring Hut can sleep up to 60 people. Meals are served family style to the hikers, so and we sat down at a long table filled with hikers. I was quite unprepared for what came next. Out came the croo (they spell it that way) members for dinner announcements. Two people trudged out wearing old wooden frame backpacks. Attached to each of the packs was a wooden chair. Sitting on the two chairs were croo members, the man wearing a fashionable gold lame top and comfy pajama bottoms. And for the next few minutes there they sat, explaining how meals worked and what was for dinner. The whole time, the others where stolidly standing in place with well over 150 pounds of wood and humanity on each their backs. Adventures like this continued throughout the evening and into the morning. The croo woke us up by singing a song (the best alarm clock ever). Tasks they wanted people to do in the morning after breakfast were relayed in the form of a very funny take on an old fairy tale. We were all sold on the experience, all bought in, all engaged. There were smiles everywhere throughout the room, and cheers, laughter and applause were the norms. The croo members were a positive contagion. Every human in the room got elevated (pun intended). So, great. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? I work with teams for a living. I’ve worked with great teams, worked with extremely dysfunctional teams. I’ve worked with literally thousands of teams. This was the highest performing team I’ve ever seen. These young men and women (this was their summer job while in college for the most part) gave us what we technically needed – a place to sleep and two meals. But they gave us so much more – an experience that lifted us, inspiration, laughter, a feeling we were part of something special. The daily grind of modern work is unforgiving. And it can deaden. I know, I know, belive me, I know. I see it everywhere and know the feeling intimately too. But we do have a choice. We can give these higher qualities to the people we work with. Or we can decline to do that. We can give the members of our family team at home that experience, the members of our community team that experience. Or not. And we can look for inspiration from the good that’s being done in the world to help balance out the bad we hear so much about. The choice is here today for you, for me. September, a month of fresh starts, beckons us, hoping for a smile on our lips and a generosity in our hearts. Here’s to you and me being living inspirations this month!

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Quix Tip – Make Your Own Music

Shuffle, skip, whistle, hum. Tap on your coffee cup or your steering wheel in time to music. Sing along to the radio at work, in your car, in the shower. Sing wherever you feel comfortable, and try some places where you don’t. Experiment musically with Louis Armstrong’s quote: “What we play is life.”

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