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Video – The Marshmallow Challenge
by On April 30, 2010

Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients – dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow? And why does a surprising group always beat the average? (hint: it is not recent business school graduates)

In this TED Talk, Tom Wujec from Autodesk presents some surprisingly deep research into the “marshmallow problem” — a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. His insights ranges from how to build effective teams as well as the role of incentives and how they relate to performance.

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For more on the Marshmallow Challenge, visit

Video – Teamwork – Birds or People? Find Out
by On April 16, 2010

This is not a trick, purely talent and team work, but lots of patience and practice, and the result… stunning!! This video demonstrates visually how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

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Trait of Super Powered Organizations – Accepting
by On January 19, 2009

A super powered organization is a group of people who, because of shared values, achieve exponentially more than they would otherwise do as individuals. These organizations share four common traits, and you can use the acronym “CAPE” to remember these. Super powered organizations are Challenging, Accepting, Purposeful and Encouraging.

In this article, I will discuss the second trait super powered organizations, that they are Accepting.

While it is true that these organizations have an expectation of excellence, it is also true that these group have tremendous patience for people and their shortcomings. People are treated with dignity and respect and are not judged solely on what they can do for the others in the group. Leaders in these organizations are constantly reminding members of the value they bring to the group yet they do not expect those members to be perfect. Concern, affection and admiration are expressed freely and openly and those expressions are met with a loyalty that can only grow through the appreciation that comes from being accepted.

The attitude is the one that says, “You believed in me so I am going to show you now that you did not believe in vain.”

John Velarde is the coach of the St. John University football team in Collegeville, Minnesota. For more than 50 years, Velarde has lead his team, the “Johnnies”, out onto the field to play. One of the things that sets coach Velarde apart is that you do not have to be recruited, or even try out, to be on his team. If you want to play, show up on the first day of practice and give everything you have got and you are on the team. No tryouts and on top of that, nobody ever gets cut. Everybody is accepted regardless of talent. Because of that the roster routinely has more than 150 players on it.

You might be wondering, how good of a team they are? In 2003 John Velarde passed the legendary Eddie Robinson to become the coach with the most wins in the history of college football with his 409th victory. On top of that, the “Johnnies” and Velarde earned their fourth NCAA division three national championship in 2003.

His acceptance of the players and their dreams to play college football and the respects he shows them by never yelling at them or working them like dogs inspires the kind of loyalty that most coaches try to force out of their players.

Acceptance can do remarkable thing to an organization. To your organization, it can take ordinary group of people and empower them to do extraordinary things, super powered things.  How can you model acceptance to the people in your organization? Start today by letting people know that they are valuable to you as people, human beings not human doings.

Be Free!

Blaine Halverson

How Encouragement Can Super Power Up Your Organization
by On October 29, 2008

Have you ever wondered why some groups of people not only consistently win, but consistently dominate? I like to call these teams, groups of people or organizations “Super Powered.” What common traits do these groups exhibit?

First, Super Powered groups are encouraging. The dictionary defines encouraging as: 1) To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten 2) To give support to; foster and 3) To stimulate

Everyday, you and I face situations where we have an internal battle with encouragement. We observed, assess, and design our own capability and worthiness based on our own experience in self thought. Further, whether we do or do not attempt, accomplish, or succeeded in something is often determined in our mind.

In Super Powered organization though, these thoughts and decisions move outside of the individual to the medium of group encouragement. The power of that encouragement within a group enhances the power of the individual taking their capabilities from a four cylinder engine to a Supercharged V8.

For example, studies continuously show that verbal encouragement is one of the top factors in successful parenting. Kids, who were encouraged to read, read. Kids, who were encouraged to try harder, do so. Kids, who were encouraged in their school for athletics tend to excel.

The reason in encouragement’s power is that it is intensely contagious. Those who are encouraged will encourage others and themselves. They will provide the extra efforts that inspire a coworker and will learn how to put themselves over the edge with more confidence self talk.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was casually going about my business at home working in the kitchen. In the other room my three kids is have a portable hopscotch game with interlocking foam rubber pieces. My heart warmed when I heard a one child after another take their turn and the other children say things like “great job!”, “Wow, you are really at that!”, “Try it this way, you can do it!”

Hearing verbal encouragement from my children to one an other further encouraged me that my example and commitment of verbal encouragement was having an impact. That is it is helping build a Super Powered family.

In the same way, your commitment to encouraging those in your organization will move you down that same path. So, let me close by encouraging you to be an encourager. As soon as you are done reading this article, I want to list three people in your organization that you can verbally encourage today and make a point to do it right away.  Tell me who you encouraged and how it went by posting a comment below.

Be Free!

Blaine Halverson