Recent Events & Articles (Our blog)


  • Many voices, one sound – is your team hitting the right notes with its team-building initiatives?

    Getting clarity on team-building initiatives

    When I speak to a potential client for a team-building program, I ask for details to provide me with context about the environment and culture.  Do people generally get along?  Has there been an influx of new hires lately?  Are there any clashes between the “old guard” and the newer generations?

    Many times, the potential client reaching out only knows they want to offer some type of “team-building,” but they’re not sure what messages that should or could include.  A few years back, I took a course with amazing facilitator Mary Tolena, owner of Rhythm Lift and a Remo-endorsed drum circle facilitator .  Her client intake form includes a great question:  what do you want your participants to think, feel and be ready to do by the end of the session?

    This usually sparks some insightful comments from the potential client.  Often, someone offers that the team includes a lot of people from various backgrounds who simply have challenges getting along with each other.  Maybe there are too many cooks in the kitchen – some who are 62, and some who are 28.

    At this point in the conversation, I’ll expand on how drumming programs help bring people together.  The simple act of everyone playing drums together encourages participants to listen to what each person contributes to the overall sound.  Read on for two other ways drumming can foster an inclusive environment.  Then ask yourself, how is your team doing with its team-building initiatives?

    A symphony of sounds

    In the drum circle, there are many types of drums – from large bass drums to small handheld drums and everything in between.  Also, we often include small percussion like egg shakers, Boomwhackers, bells, and wood blocks.  At some point during the jam session, I’ll usually stop the whole group and highlight one type of instrument, e.g., the shakers.  When the boom-y, bass-y sound of the drums drops out and all you hear are a bunch of little egg shakers, I usually see a few smiles in the group, like, “Wow!  I didn’t even know those guys were playing.”  We show appreciation for each group’s (and person’s) contribution to the rhythm, and in the process, we might hear new rhythms or ideas emerge.

    A metaphor for diversity

    Right, so “diversity” is a generic term that can encompass a lot of smaller and more specific items.  It usually goes hand-in-hand with “inclusion.”  What is your group really saying when it claims those two values?

    Well, “diversity” can refer to race, ethnicity, religion, orientation, age, or a myriad of other categories.  “Inclusion” typically means that a group welcomes all people in these categories and values a variety of thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of its participants.

    Now, under this umbrella is where the drum circle thrives.  In it, we accept everyone as they are and listen to and appreciate their ideas.  Participants can listen to other’s contributions in non-judgmental atmosphere and compare their own thoughts, actions, and decisions.

    Now what?

    How does your team or work environment approach diversity and inclusion?  What specific initiatives or policies does your organization have in place to ensure all voices are heard, valued, and respected?

    And, could your workplace benefit from a tune-up?  Reach out to us today!

     

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  • Corporate wellness programs – better health equals better bottom line

    Companies are turning to corporate wellness programs to improve their employees’ health as well as their own bottom line.  It’s a win-win situation, and the cycle feeds itself – when employees are healthy and happy, their productivity goes up, which means reducing turnover costs for the company, and potentially earning them more money.

    Corporate wellness research

    Edelman Intelligence did a meta-analysis of corporate studies in 2016.  As reported in Natural Awakenings’ January 2018 edition:  “corporate wellness programs are linked to a 25% reduction in absenteeism and sick leave, 25% reduction in health costs and 32% reduction in workers compensation and disability costs.”

    Some areas of focus in the study included:

    • mental and physical benefits of meditation
    • “digital detox” from everyday technologies, including a “Be Unplugged” optional program at the Quincy Hotel in Washington, D.C.
    • adult play and re-discovering your inner child
    • the concept of food as medicine
    • being well where you are, including things like hotel yoga classes and airport farmer’s markets

    You can read more about it here.

    Drumming to unplug and discover your inner child

    Corporate drum circles and rhythm-based events are now not only for team-building, but also encouraging personal wellness.  Drumming is a natural way to get people to unplug, because you can’t hold your phone while playing a drum (and you most certainly can’t talk on a phone over the joyful noise of the drumming).  Also, drumming provides such a mental workout that your brain naturally puts aside those anxious or scattered thoughts and to-do lists, and focuses on the task at hand (pun intended).

     

    Additionally, drumming is a great way to bring out your inner child.  Forget “adult coloring books;” drumming fosters creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, and stress reduction all in a single session.  Research shows that weekly or regular group empowerment drumming sessions provide these benefits in the long-term.  One study conducted by Remo HealthRHYTHMS(R) even concluded that regular sessions boosted immunity by increasing natural killer (NK) cell activity (just as they sound – cells able to bind to certain virus-infected cells and kill them).

    How implement it

    Companies can implement drumming programs in a variety of ways, including:

    • weekly stress reduction drumming sessions after work
    • daily or weekly lunchtime programs
    • monthly workshops focused on certain topics – reducing stress, improving communication, finding more joy and intent in daily life
    • one-time or regular team-building sessions for certain departments
    • one-time or multi-session change management workshops during a challenging transition
    • a workshop at a conference other large event

    Let’s get started!

    Whatever way you feel is best for your company’s employees and culture, we’ll help you implement it with ease and purpose.  Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation!

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  • Team-Building: Leadership Jax Opening Retreat in St. Augustine, FL

    On August 18th, 2017, members of the Leadership Jax class of 2018 got a fun surprise at their opening retreat at World Golf Village in St. Augustine – a drum circle!  Since they had just spent the day getting to know one another, a team-building drum circle was just the thing to solidify connections.  Our 5-step process took them through some energizing drum rolls, a relaxing warm-up, a listening and communication activity, drum jam, and an activity to strengthen bonding.

    According to their website,  “Leadership Jacksonville educates, connects, and inspires diverse leaders to build and strengthen their communities.”  Since connection, diversity, and creativity are the cornerstones of Just Add Rhythm’s events, this was an ideal blending of organizational values.

    Activities included:

    • Give a Little, playing one’s neighbor’s drum and injecting upbeat energy into the group (short video here!)
    • Drum jam where participants made up their own rhythms and led the group using volume cues (short video here!)
    • Number Walk, which encouraged participants to think on their feet and adapt quickly to change (short video here!)

    Participants shared that the event helped them to relax and connect, and they also drew parallels between the Number Walk activity and examples of adapting to change in work-related and personal experiences.  Plus, they had tons of fun – just look at those smiles!

    Photo credit:  Steve Ramcharitar

    Interested in adding some rhythm to your team’s next event?

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