Case Study: Team Synergy with Robyn Benincasa
TEAM SYNERGY STUDY: Robyn Benincasa helps an international food services organization encourage their teams to pull together and get back to their ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM motto after the COVID Pandemic lockdown and remote working conditions.
The Challenge (The Ask/The Task)
The client requested a Speaker who could not only help them with ideas regarding daily general business challenges but more importantly, help them with challenges faced during a critical Annual Operating Plan (AOP) process gone awry. The AOP lasts 10 weeks, is highly collaborative, and has strong cross-functional interdependencies that broke down during the lockdown in the US. Further complicating the lockdown were new hires, a new system implementation, and an IT blackout which resulted in a breakdown of operational plans. The client needed to get back to a strong teamwork ethic and their One Team, One Dream value that is central to past operational success.
Our Robyn Benincasa Solution
We prepared a customized list of speaker ideas based on the client’s challenge. Our agents worked collaboratively with them for over a week to discuss, vet, and determine the speaker that fits best with their event objectives. The client hired Robyn Benincasa to give the Keynote Address to a virtual audience of their leaders—C-suite, sales, and marketing teams. Robyn Benincasa is a World Champion Adventure Racer and Firefighter whose expertise in building team synergy boosts performance, commitment, and collaboration. She offers solutions using her own experiences on the Eco Challenge adventure race with her team of 5.
Robyn’s key takeaways for the group:
- Offer a tow line, but more importantly—TAKE one: On Robyn’s team, every racer has ‘tow lines’, made from thin bungee cords, hanging from the back of all their packs. If they are feeling strong, they offer the line to a struggling teammate. If they are having a low moment, they grab a towline from someone stronger and get lightly pulled along at the faster pace until they recover. The goal? To “suffer equally”. You’ll get farther, faster if you do. Robyn believes that we have not used all of our strength as a leader until we have asked for and accepted help from our teammates. Think about accepting help as a gift to the helper. People are thrilled when they have a chance to help you. You create a connection and a bond every time you do. Asking and accepting help is one of Robyn’s favorite team synergy creating tools as a leader.
- Inspire “We” Thinking: We are all conditioned from a young age to see winning as something mutually exclusive, as in “For me to win, you must lose”. What if you decided to instead see a world full of potential teammates instead of a world full of competitors when you left the house every morning? Great leaders understand that in the quest to become the best of the best, Nobody Wins Alone. The more difficult the challenge, the more critical the team. “We Thinking” leaders capitalize on their strengths and outsource their weaknesses, consistently building and inspiring a team that is able to connect to one another for mutual gain, whether for a moment, for a project or for lifetime. And they happily share that space at the top of the podium with the people that got them there.
- Put your Teammates on Your Shoulders: When we have the label of “leader” we often assume that to mean that we need to get out in front and show people the way. That is occasionally part of the job. Robyn’s favorite leaders to work with allow for leadership among team members based on their strengths and not their titles. They “manage” their team, while allowing for different leaders to emerge. They are always focused on helping their team inspire and amaze themselves, understanding that confidence and inspiration are an inside job. In the 1997 Eco-Challenge, the Japanese team did something that defied all logic, reason, and the bounds of human endurance. They carried their injured female teammate for 18 hours, piggyback style inside a backpack, up and over an incredibly steep, rocky, muddy, dense-jungle-covered 9000-foot mountain in their quest to get to the finish line. When they emerged from the sugar cane fields at the base of the mountain, battered but victorious, they did something incredibly graceful. They picked up their injured teammate and put her on their shoulders. They gave her the moment to shine, and symbolically gave her the credit for allowing them to succeed against the toughest of odds. It’s Robyn’s favorite Adventure Racing moment because their performance says it all.
The client’s take on Robyn’s keynote?
We friggin loved her!!!!
Here are other examples of how the client builds team synergy within their organization:
- Bimonthly Lunch and Learns centered around educating our team on nutritional wellness, exercise tips and tricks, financial wellness, and other relevant topics
- Annual Wellness Fairs with vendors such as office yoga, massage therapy, health assessment screenings, and more
- Outside the office, the client strives to aid in supporting a healthy lifestyle for their teams and has sponsored several team members on personal, healthy initiatives like helping them participate in the New York and Chicago marathons
Robyn Benincasa – NYT best-selling author of How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth and World Champion Adventure Racer – accepts full blame for inspiring people to do insane things like climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run their first triathlon, start their own adventure racing teams, or start their own businesses. This is, after all, who she is and what she does: Robyn Benincasa inspires people to do amazing things. Her unforgettable presentations have taught countless high-performance leaders all over the world about
Building World Class Teams and the
followership skills necessary for dynamic role shifting and true teamwork.
Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]