Business / Business Tips

Growing a Business with Creative Thinking – PART TWO

"colorful lightbulbs signifying creative thinking"By Andrea Michaels

Remember, the first year after CEMEX’s acquisition, we illustrated to employees how -“Synchronicity plus Collaboration plus Connectivity equals Teamwork.” This was instrumental in uniting the two companies as one. (See previous post)

Together We Build the Future

The following year, a true teambuilding effort created a legacy. Following through with the theme of “Together We Build the Future,” we located a school in Leona Vicario, Mexico, 45-minutes from CEMEX’s Cancun conference site. By gaining the cooperation of local officials and three-months of preparation, the culmination of the conference was like no other. After days filled with business sessions and activities solidifying the theme, the executives were shown a video of the school. It detailed the horrible conditions of the classrooms, the kitchen and the playground, and the lack of athletic equipment, books and proper kitchen facilities. It also revealed the activities leading up to that day, with CEMEX trucks and contractors visibly laying the groundwork for the executives to participate.

At the end of the presentation, the executives were eager to work together to help achieve the ultimate goal of providing a renovated school to its community. They were assigned to teams (electrical, landscaping, plumbing, carpentry, etc., all based on their defined skill set, a combination of our careful investigation and forms we had them complete.) Instructions on what had to be accomplished onsite and what equipment would be available was provided on the bus trip to the school.

Once onsite, each of the 35 groups was joined by one of the school’s students and a parent. Together they painted, laid sod, planted flowers and trees, poured concrete, applied stucco, plumbed, finished electrical work and constructed the walls and roof of the school’s first library. The sight of so many active CEMEX trucks was awesome to the executives who rarely had the opportunity to see their products in action, much less personally put them to use in the field.

At the end of the day, the executives had learned the importance of their products and literally influenced, if not entirely changed, the lives and education of more than 600 children as they experienced first-hand the core business of CEMEX. I watched as 300 tired executives, hands filthy, splattered with paint and cement, sweaty and grimy, smiling, crying and laughing, shared stories of what each of them did and the difference it made. Carefully manicured fingernails were history; blisters were sources of pride. This was a true team of happy people who had bonded for a cause much bigger than themselves. Together, they really did build the future.

How Does This Relate to Your Business?

Every business needs to be focused on achieving the goals and objectives of its clients. Each needs to emphasize how its employees synch, collaborate and connect to provide the teamwork necessary to creatively achieve the goals of its customers. This too often gets lost in the day-to-day business. Think about it. I’ve given you a sensory example of what you need to do to build your future.

Andrea Michaels is founder and President of Los Angeles-based Extraordinary Events and a multiple award-winning international event producer. She is the first to be inducted into the special event industry Hall of Fame and is the author of Reflections of a Wallflower – Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life.

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  2. Dear Andrea … again, I am awed what you and your team were able to achieve, and how everyone ‘bought in and took ownership’ of the school project.

    Wouldn’t it be amazing, if you have started a trend where a service project becomes “I Wonder What We Get To Do This Year?” curiosity conversation for everyone who attends their annual conference?

    And the resulting take-away is the long-lasting good that is left behind?

    Thank you for sharing!

    Have a delightful day!

  3. Alok @OneNationUnderMom says:

    While I am not particularly found of elements about Cemex itself, the core ideas of your article are very well taken! When confronted with challenges, executives rise to the occassion. Getting their hands ‘dirty’ is even better. Creative thinking will absolutely rewarded in the coming decade!

  4. Hi Andrea

    Like the equation…

    ”Synchronicity plus Collaboration plus Connectivity equals Teamwork.”

    I’m used to working in a team and making sure that my bit fits in with what other team members are doing.

    Perhaps your most important point is towards the bottom of the post…

    “Every business needs to be focused on achieving the goals and objectives of its clients.”

    You really need to know what your client wants and how you are going to achieve it.