Team Building

In the Loop

Patient Airlift Services Teams Up With CitySolve Urban Race


Over 100 people raced in the inaugural PALS Urban Race through the quaint village of Babylon, NY on Saturday, July 19th. This wasn’t any ordinary fun run…this was a CitySolve Urban Race and Team Building! People were armed with smartphones, maps and, of course, scavenger hunt clues. Teams had to solve 9 out of 10 CitySolve Urban Race and Team Building clues. Not only did these Amazing Race wannabes have to solve clues be they took on some pretty fun team building challenges. One of the more popular team building activities was the Minute to Win It game where teammates had to pass M&Ms to each only using straws!

These scavenger hunters were not only having a good time, but were doing it for a good cause. Patient Airlift Services provides free air transportation based on need to individuals requiring medical care or other humanitarian purposes. The do-gooder urban racers raised nearly $20,000 for PALS!

Check out the news segment and a glimpse of the urban scavenger hunt race. CitySolve Urban Race and Team Building cannot wait to return to Long Island next year for the second annual PALS Urban Race.

If your charity would like to raise money in a fun and unique way, call CitySolve Urban Race and Team Building today at 510.371.4386.

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Team building ideas for first day jitters!

Do you remember your first day? Did you have the jitters?

Even though you are a professional and have years of experience, entering your first day at a new company can still cause some jitters. Having to start a new routine and change your working environment can cause a little anxiety. Anxiety is something we all face from new situations and as seasoned professional we distress by being prepared on the first day.

We get up early, double check our bag and make sure we order the extra shot when we stop by Starbucks. But nothing calms first day jitters more than a warm welcome from your new team. Being able to come in and mesh well with your team can be the key to immediate success.

Team building leads to new employees being more comfortable and can hit the ground running instead of slowing figuring out the group dynamics. Doing a fun team activity or impromptu icebreaker always make new hires feel welcome and gives your team an instant connection.

Try one of these team activities or ice breakers to relieve first day jitters:

Ice breaker:

Dream Vacation Game – Ask participants to introduce themselves and describe the details of the ideal, perfect dream vacation.


Kangaroo Court Game – Try this if there’s an incident that irritates members of your group. Announce that a kangaroo court will be held to properly try and prosecute all guilty parties. After you make the announcement, everyone will begin to view the incident in question with a contagious sense of humor. Name the defendants. Select a lawyer for the defense, as well as a prosecuting attorney. Write up formal charges and submit them to the judge. Appoint abailiff and court recorder. Screen and swear in your jurors.

Want CitySolve Team Building to come and rescue you from your cubicle? For more information, call CitySolve today at 800.277.1552 or email Jason Hofsess at


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Xealots Team Building


Name: Xealots

Goal: Fun team building outing that included lunch.

Number of participants: 100

Xealots held its annual retreat in beautiful sunny San Diego on Thursday, August 22nd. CitySolve Team Building created an amazing urban scavenger hunt race so that people could bond with the other conference attendees and have some good old fashion fun.

Xealots also wanted to incorporate lunch in the scavenger hunt. Armed with a budget, CitySolve Team Building set out to create an amazing hunt experience and celebrate food along the way. Securing The Inslider Gourmet Burger, La Puerta and Extraordinary Desserts, Xealots’ participants filled their bellies with some of the best food in San Diego.

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It’s All In The Game!!

If you’ve got questions about CitySolve’s team building program then here is a quick look at our team bonding games. We customize every team building event to your specific organization, allowing your organization to choose the goal and purpose of the team bonding event. This presentation will give you a quick glance at what we can do for your organization.




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7 Must Haves For A Winning Team

The workplace is made up of many teams and the best teams find out how to win. Winning Teams are the teams that consistently produce and complete all the task at hand. Here are 7 must haves that allows every winning team to work efficiently and increase productivity.

7 must haves for a winning team







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Kraft Foods’ Team Building


Name: Kraft Foods

Goal: To get to know downtown Minneapolis

Number of participants: 35

Kraft Foods’ sales division moved into its brand new downtown office on Thursday, June 20th, so that its sales team could be closer to its client, Target. This move was going to be great except for the Kraft Foods’ sales team did not know downtown Minneapolis. Therefore, Kraft Foods turned to CitySolve Team Building for help.

At CitySolve, we know all about cities unique, popular and interesting spots, so for Kraft’s sales team we creatively showcase downtown Minneapolis.  By the end of the day the sales team knew where the gourmet food trucks set up shop during lunchtime (we partnered with celebrity food trucker, Andrew Zimmern), catch an amazing happy hour beer, and drop off their dry cleaning. Kraft Foods was more than pleased with the fun team building experience and the sales team feels more at home in its new surroundings, now that they know where to find a cup of Joe.

kraft team

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One Brick San Francisco Team Building


Name: One Brick San Francisco

Goal: General team building for its leadership staff

Number of participants: 20

One Brick staff works tirelessly at every event is participates and coordinates. On June 29th, the leadership team got a break from event tasks and CitySolve Team Building took control. Twenty One Brickers bonded together in ways they do not normally bond.

One Brick understands the value of hard work and knows when an event run smoothly. “CitySolve has mastered event management and puts on a really fun experience,” said Clive Charlwood, One Brick’s Executive Director.

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Three is the magic number

Three in Common Game
– Break into groups of threes. The objective is for each group to find three things they have in common, but not general things like ages, sex or hair color. It must be three uncommon things. After letting the groups converse for 10 – 15 minutes they (as a group) must tell the rest of the group the three things they have in common.

Want CitySolve Team Building to come and rescue you from your cubical? For more information, call CitySolve today at 800.277.1552 or email Jason Hofsess at

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THe Hard Science of Teamwork

Like many people, I’ve encountered teams that are “clicking.” I’ve experienced the “buzz” of a group that’s blazing away with new ideas in a way that makes it seem they can read each others’ minds. We think of building teams that operate on this plane as an art, or even magic. It’s not something you can plan; it’s lightning-in-a-bottle stuff that you just embrace when you’re lucky enough to come across it.

But to me, the buzz was so palpable, I decided that it must be a real, observable and measurable thing. I was motivated to find a way to document that buzz, and understand good teamwork as a hard science.

The team I lead at MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory has done just that. Using wearable electronic sensors called sociometric badges, we capture how people communicate in real time, and not only can we determine the characteristics that make up great teams, but we can also describe those characteristics mathematically. What’s more, we’ve discovered that some things matter much less than you may suspect when building a great team. Getting the smartest people, for example.

My feature article in HBR’s April Spotlight on teams describes in detail the new science of building great teams. We can summarize those points here. Our data show that great teams:

  • Communicate frequently. In a typical project team a dozen or so communication exchanges per working hour may turn out to be optimum; but more or less than that and team performance can decline.
  • Talk and listen in equal measure, equally among members. Lower performing teams have dominant members, teams within teams, and members who talk or listen but don’t do both.
  • Engage in frequent informal communication. The best teams spend about half their time communicating outside of formal meetings or as “asides” during team meetings, and increasing opportunities for informal communication tends to increase team performance.
  • Explore for ideas and information outside the group. The best teams periodically connect with many different outside sources and bring what they learn back to the team.

You’ll notice that none of the factors outlined above concern the substance of a team’s communication. As I said, our badges only capture how people communicate — tone of voice, gesticulation, how one faces others in the group, and how much people talk and listen. They do not capture what people communicate.

This is purposeful. From the beginning, I suspected that the ineffable buzz of high-performing teams wasn’t more about the how of communication than the what. My hypothesis was that the ancient biological patterns of signaling that humans developed in the millennia before we developed language — which is a relatively recent development — still dominate our communication. I was buoyed in this idea by research on just how sophisticated non-verbal communication can be across the animal kingdom. Bees, for example, use a marvelous system of dancing competitions to decide where to get their pollen.

According to our data, it’s as true for humans as for bees: How we communicate turns out to be the most important predictor of team success, and as important as all other factors combined, including intelligence, personality, skill, and content of discussions. The old adage that it’s not what you say, but how you say it, turns out to be mathematically correct.

Just how powerful these patterns of communication are can be surprising. For example, we can predict with eerie precision whether a team will perform well or not, and we can predict with a high rate of success whether or not team members will report they’ve had a “productive” or “creative” day based solely on the data from the sociometric badges. If this seems like a statistical parlor trick, it’s not. By adjusting group behavior based on this data, we’ve documented improved teamwork.

Many people are uncomfortable with this. It suggests that a kind of biological determinism, that people who naturally display the good communication patterns will “win” and anyone not blessed with this innate talent will drag a team down. In fact, that’s not the case at all. In our work we’ve found that these patterns of communication are highly trainable, and that personality traits we usually chalk up to the “it” factor — personal charisma, for example — are actually teachable skills. Data is an amazingly powerful tool for objectifying what would normally seem subjective. Time and again I’ve seen data become an incontrovertible ally to team members who may otherwise be afraid to voice their feelings about the team dynamics. They can finally say “I’m not being heard” and they have the data to back them up.

People should feel empowered by the idea of a science of team building, The idea that we can transmute the guess work of putting a team together into a rigorous methodology, and then continuously improve teams is exciting. Nothing will be more powerful, I believe, in eventually changing how organizations work.

Want CitySolve Team Building to come and rescue you from your cubical? For more information, call CitySolve today at 800.277.1552 or email Jason Hofsess at

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My favorite t-shirt

Favorite T-shirt Game – Ask attendees to bring (not wear) their favorite T-shirt to a meeting. Once all participants have arrived, ask each person to show the shirt to the group and explain how the T-shirt best resembles their personality.

Want CitySolve Team Building to come and rescue you from your cubical? For more information, call CitySolve today at 800.277.1552 or email Jason Hofsess at

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