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The ROI of Charitable Giving

Charitable giving is the beating heart of the Magnovo Training Group. It’s how we make a significant and positive change in communities around the country.

Our brand is solid and so is our reputation, and we are grateful for our success. But what’s more important to us is that we have grown into a caring and compassionate community.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve raised the bar in leadership skills training, professional and organizational development, and team bonding. But we’ve raised our sights to something higher: being a good corporate neighbor.  

The good we do

This year we’ve taken our training team from Hawaii to Florida, and numerous places in between. From coast to coast what we left behind is a living legacy of charitable giving:

  • 221 bikes–The fruit of our numerous Bike-a-thon Charitable Team Building Workshops. Dozens of children in low-income communities are now popping wheelies.
  • 50 care packets for hospital patients–Corporate team members poured out their hearts during our Hospital Helpers Charitable Workshop. They gave books, blankets, lip balm, and compassion to dozens of grateful patients.
  • 110 backpacks with school supplies for underprivileged kids programs–Our Mission: Kids Care Charitable Workshops will send a lot of kids around the country back to school in style this year.
  • 163 care packets for veterans & deployed military personnel–These patriotic heroes received snacks, encouraging cards, books, and other comforting items. Each was packed with love and support during our Mission: Military Care Charitable Workshops.
  • 75 baskets of non-perishable goods— During our Puttin Pantry Charitable Workshops putt-putt golf players won food items to donate to area food pantries.
  • 431 stuffed animals for children–At our Rescue Buddies Charitable Workshops coworkers assembled stuffed bears, lions, pigs, birds, and fish for local tots. They were distributed by “first responders” to kids who need emotional rescue after a major upheaval in their lives.
  • 74 wagons–At our Wagon Builders Charitable Workshops teammates built wagons and loaded them with personal hygiene products or supplies for needy children.  
  • 143 wheelchairs–This year’s WheelCharity Workshops have transformed many lives. The gift of mobility meant freedom and emotional support for disabled veterans, senior citizens, and others who were housebound.

Each workshop reinforced our training in communications, leadership, and collaborative skills. Our client’s teambuilding goals were met–and often exceeded. And their employees were transformed personally and professionally because kindness is therapeutic.

The return on investment is huge

Charitable giving simply makes good business sense. It boosts brand recognition. It’s the cornerstone of goodwill in the community. And customer loyalty is stronger among companies that lead with their hearts.

Speaking of loyalty, employee turnover drops precipitously as well at socially conscious companies. In fact, it’s imperative for businesses that want to recruit and keep the best talent among Millennial applicants. These bright young minds are only willing to fully engage with companies that fully engage with the community.

Once upon a time, CEOs treated corporate social responsibility like an “extra” or non-essential part of their business models. That was then. This is now. And now charitable giving, community service, and sustainability goals are essentials.

That is to say, they are vibrant components of vibrant companies. In 2017, corporations donated over 17 billion dollars. Among the 250 largest companies in the world, 93 percent now issue reports on their corporate giving.

This is the age of instant digital fame or infamy. Everybody is one “tweet” or “like” away from celebration or condemnation. Charitable giving casts companies in a positive light within the social media spotlight.

Charity is a magnet that draws nothing but the best into your corporate sphere. This law of attraction is true for ROI. You know your return on investment is strong when everyone wants to get on your bandwagon–investors, community leaders, other thought leaders in your industry.

Holiday Teambuilding and Charitable Giving

The holiday season is just around the corner and that means one thing: lots of holiday teambuilding opportunities.

Food. Drinks. Decorations. Music. Gifts. Games. The flurry of activity around planning holiday office parties can be dizzying and exhausting. Office parties are a great break from the daily grind, but afterward, there’s little to show for your efforts.

How about making a new resolution this year to break the mold and do something different? A charitable teambuilding workshop is a fantastic way to spread holiday cheer throughout your company and your community.

What exactly is a charitable teambuilding workshop?

If you’re looking for a vehicle to strengthen the relationships among your staff, this is it!  Over the course of an afternoon, they’ll invest their time and energy in a project to benefit your community.

Holiday teambuilding events that involve charitable giving are ideal because they are:

  • relaxed and free-flowing
  • a tremendous antidote to holiday blues
  • a chance to sharpen your staff’s communications and collaborative skills
  • great equalizers [they break the ice between superiors and subordinates]
  • showcases for unknown skills and talents
  • calls-to-action to help the community

Why charitable giving matters

For corporate America, holidays in the new millennium aren’t what they used to be. It’s no longer enough to donate a paltry basket of food at Thanksgiving. And passing the hat once throughout the rest of the holiday season won’t pass muster either.

Being a good corporate neighbor is almost compulsory today. Companies are expected to care about their communities and the citizens they impact while pursuing profits.

When mixed with charitable events, holiday teambuilding can build goodwill in 4 ways:

  1. Among your investors–they’ll perceive your generosity as a signal that the company is healthy and thriving. After all, if you’ve got resources to give away that must mean things are going great, right?
  2. Among your employees, professionally–your willingness to open up both the company’s schedule and purse translates as an investment in your staff. Employee engagement explodes when they are allowed to add value to the business outside the company headquarters.
  3. Among your employees, personally–morale soars among employees who feel connected to a company that’s connected to the community. In today’s heartless, dog-eat-dog marketplace, charitable holiday teambuilding activities stand out like a beacon of hope. And that benefits a company’s staff–emotionally and psychologically.
  4. Among community leaders–they may not be stockholders, but everyone in your community becomes a stakeholder when you reach out to them charitably. It’s as simple as asking them what they need and then providing it. That’s an investment with a solid ROI.

The best holiday teambuilding activities

Practice can make perfect, but only if you practice practice practice. Magnovo’s charitable workshops are great ways to practice leadership and communications skills.

Assembling bicycles at our Bike-a-thons takes planning and cooperation. Activities that involve friendly competition may also involve strategizing and problem-solving skills.

The spirit of holiday teambuilding is also about inclusion. During our workshops, participants build wheelchairs at our WheelCharity Workshops and wagons at our Wagon Builders Workshops.

And without exception, every member of each team feels that their contribution is valued; their efforts appreciated. They know what they did matters to their team and to the gift recipients.

Every holiday has one thing in common: food! Our Puttin Pantry Workshops provide non-perishable nutrition to local food pantries. Our workshop participants are always gratified to know that they’ve helped feed a lot of hungry families.

Deployed military personnel are always grateful to received snacks and other goodies stashed in our Mission: Military Care packages. They make the holiday a happy time because home feels a little closer. And the corporate employees who pulled together to package the cookies, candies, and other treats make an emotional connection with these soldiers.

Holiday teambuilding and charitable giving–make this holiday season a merry one!


Personality Assessment Training at FSU

The goal at Fayetteville State University: team synergy.

The tool:  DISC personality assessment training for which no one is better equipped than Magnovo.

Basically, synergy happens when “the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.” It’s true that the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said it first, but nobody owns it like Magnovo!  

Our leadership training and professional development model are team-based. And as another wise man said, T.E.A.M. means “together, everyone achieves more.” Personality assessment training opens the door to building strong teams.

FSU: academic forerunner

Fayetteville State University or FSU is a historically black university with a 150-year-old tradition of academic excellence.  It has been a threshold to the professional world for hundreds of thousands of North Carolina students.  More than 90 percent of the 6,300 students are from the Tar Heel State.

Established in 1867, FSU offers 33 undergraduate degrees including sociology, business, chemistry, computer science, education, biology, visual arts, music, and nursing.

Their 8 Masters degree programs include education, psychology, criminal justice, and social work. And a Ph.D. is offered in educational leadership.

Personality assessment training goals

FSC invited Magnovo to work with 30 university leaders to improve their team synergy by accomplishing 6 goals:

  1. sharpen their understanding of  their perceived personality weaknesses;
  2. become more effective communicators;
  3. build a more dynamic sense of camaraderie;
  4. develop stronger networking skills;
  5. identify creative ways to inspire the group; and
  6. reinforce the culture of learning.

DISC personality assessment training is the key to all 6 goals. Why? Understanding each of the personalities involved can bind a group together. And as a group, they can transform into a team.  

DISC is an acronym that refers to 4 personality types:

  1. Dominant personalities are just that. They stand out. Lead. Win.
  2. Influential personalities have never met a stranger. They’re gregarious and enjoy being in the spotlight.
  3. Steadiness is a virtue of the humble, tactful, patient personality type. They don’t like the spotlight. These steady teammates shine from the shadows.
  4. Conscientiousness is fundamental to this studious, analytical, and systematic personality type.

We’re all a little of each and a lot of one. Recognizing who we are and how we appear to others can make us more valuable employees Accepting others as they are and learning how to work with them can make us better team members.

Magnovo’s CEO, Rob Jackson facilitated this workshop and enjoyed every moment. FSU is a favorite client and they’ve asked him to return next year. And he’s more than happy to oblige because every trip to Fayetteville is like coming home! You see, he attended high school not far from the FSU campus.


How Waymo Achieved Synergy in the Workplace

At Waymo synergy in the workplace means everyone understanding the big picture. They asked Magnovo to help them bring it into sharper focus.

Waymo is making science fiction a reality. As part of the Google conglomerate, Waymo designs and builds self-driving cars. Self-driving means no steering wheel. No gas pedal. No break. No driver. No kidding.

This is still too futuristic for some people to wrap their heads around, but for Waymo the future is now. They recently announced partnerships with Walmart, AutoNation, Avis, and other companies to provide self-driving car services to their customers.

The pilot program will launch soon in Phoenix Arizona. Waymo self-driving cars will ferry shoppers to and from Walmart when they shop online. And Avis customers can get a ride to pick up a rental car.

On the road to synergy in the workplace

Waymo asked us to conduct a Big Picture Team Development Workshop at The Mountain Terrace in Woodside California. It was both profound and ironic that our workshop took place at the top of a long and winding road. No kidding.

Equally profound, metaphorically speaking was the company’s reason for doing the workshop. The Waymo team is scattered geographically. Face-to-face meetings are few and far between. The managers wanted the workers to recognize the importance of their individual roles in the success of the whole team.

The big picture of synergy in the workplace

The managers wanted their employees to recognize where they fit in the big picture. Each employee is like the components of the cars they design and build. Each plays a distinctly different role. Some of their contributions are hidden from view, but without their efforts, the cars won’t work.

During our Big Picture workshop, participants literally create a big picture. We divided the 20 Waymo staffers into 2 groups. Each group collaborated on the concept of the piece. Then each person took a 6×6 canvas and created a portion of the group’s artwork.

In addition to paint, they used seashells, pebbles, and other media. The assembly of the 3D canvases revealed one astonishing masterpiece. Each team had a vision and now it sat right in front of their eyes. It was revelatory. Our facilitators got rave reviews about the whole process.

Without exception, each Waymo employee more clearly recognized their value to the team and to the design and construction of their amazing cars.

A portion of one of their masterworks was a car driving off into the sunset—self-driving, no doubt. No kidding.



Creating Team Synergy in The York Risk Services Group

Team synergy is a matter of life and death at the York Risk Services Group. Why? Because they deal with the shock and trauma of natural disasters and personal crises every day. They couldn’t face the constant onslaught of such tragedies without a solid team.

The business of risk

York Risk Services Group is an industry leader in specialty claims and risk management services. In fact, they rank number 1 in catastrophe and large loss claims management.

The crisis may involve a natural disaster like a hurricane, fire, flood, or tornado. Or it may be the result of an unforeseen medical emergency, accident, or other hardship. Whatever the calamity, their corporate mission is “…getting people back to health, work, and productivity.”

And this also extends to their own employees. The York Risk Services Group believes that charity and compassion should start at home.

Charity bolsters team synergy

They understand the residual emotional fallout people suffer after a fiasco. So it made perfect sense for them to embrace our Rescue Buddies Charitable Teambuilding Workshop.

Rescue Buddies are stuffed toys–bears, lions, tigers, pigs, birds, and fish–that exist for one purpose. Each one is made for a child who has suffered a family hardship–fire, displacement, or domestic violence. These cuddly toys help to “rescue” the children emotionally by giving them something to hold onto. They’re handed out by first responders–police officers and EMS–whenever they encounter a child in need of support.

York gathered 160 of its brightest and best managers to meet us at Loews Chicago O’hare Hotel for an exercise in team bonding through toy building. The goal was to create team synergy among these executives who rarely have the chance to work together one-on-one.

The power of team synergy

We were on a pretty tight deadline which made teamwork especially important. True to form, the York crews shifted their team spirit into overdrive and it was a wonderful sight to behold.

Everyone was galvanized into action and fully synced up to work in teams. Each group had to “earn” the components to build their toys. But then they subjected the toys to the scrutiny of their teammates.

They squeeze tested each others’ cuddle-bugs for maximum huggability. And they had to meet each staffer’s own personal standards. Meanwhile, the Magnovo facilitator conducted safety checks to make sure each toy was double-sealed so kids couldn’t remove any of the stuffing. 

Some groups actually took their toys to other tables for inspection. If everyone agreed that they could survive a toddler’s cuddles and hugs, they passed. Seeking consensus within their own a team was one thing, but submitting to the judgment of the competition was amazing!

And none of them was competing for bragging rights. They wanted to make sure that each toy would provide maximum comfort to their new owners. All of the managers were focused on the children and the suffering they’d endured.

SOS Children’s Village reps came to collect the 160 Rescue Buddies. Hands down, they’re one of Magnovo’s favorite charities. For 25 years they’ve redefined what it means to be a foster parent throughout Illinois.

We knew that our bountiful stash of toys would be in good hands and that they’d go to kids who desperately needed them.

Among the York contingent were several national directors and corporate vice presidents. Three of them reported that they’d never done anything this significant before nor had as much fun at a teambuilding event. Each manager wants Magnovo to come to their location and train their staff. We can’t wait!



DISC Personality Training at Milestone AV Technologies

Not long ago we conducted a DISC personality training workshop for Milestone AV Technologies. It turned out to be quite a milestone for our Magnovo team as well.

Milestone is part of the Legrand conglomerate which is an acquisitions titan. Milestone designs innovative audiovisual display and mounting products. Their product line includes groundbreaking solutions to data management, multimedia presentation, and even energy efficiency.

Their mission is “…to provide the foundation for amazing AV experiences through innovative solutions and exceptional service that solve our customers’ AV integration and technology challenges.”

As customer-centric as this mission statement seems, Milestone AV Technologies understands that without a strong staff this mission is impossible.

So they did something that’s unheard of among corporations of this magnitude. They brought Magnovo in to conduct a one-on-one  DISC personality training workshop with one of its top managers.

This company invested time, resources, and money in his personal development. This was an employee they valued and from whom they benefited financially. But Milestone values corporate culture over cash! They actually want people to want to work there!

The power of  DISC personality training

The DISC acronym refers to four personality types: Dominant, Influential, Steady or Supportive, and Conscientious.

Magnovo had done a number of  DISC personality training workshops with Milestone over the years. So they value our expertise, and our facilitator’s ability to motivate people beyond their comfort zone.

They value the quality of the training and the results. This time they asked for a DISC-based session with someone whose personality conflicted with his subordinates and superiors.

Our facilitator spent several hours with him discussing his own personality type and better ways of dealing with certain situations. He was very analytical, but also very driven. That equals dominant with a capital D.

When things didn’t go his way his aggressive personality caused conflicts among the staff. For people like this who are both analytical and dominant, communication can be an Achilles heel. Data analysis and management was his strength; collaboration and cooperation were serious weaknesses.

Paradoxically and somewhat ironically, he was successful and his department was very productive. Their numbers were up so company profits were up. Nonetheless, Milestone cares more about culture.

Core values and corporate culture

The term “corporate culture” has become a buzzword for all kinds of things–mostly toxic and stress-filled. But the executives at Milestone get “it.” They connect the dots between increased productivity and increased employee engagement. They recognize that the bottom line will only grow if their workers are free to grow and even flourish.

Their core values connect the dots within their corporate culture. They focus on customers, integrity, teamwork, personal and professional development, and empowerment and accountability.

For their customers, each experience should exceed their expectations. But this can only happen if the company operates in integrity. Integrity requires teamwork where everyone is on the same mission.

Teams only work when each member is fully engaged and given room to grow personally and professionally. Growth requires continuous learning, training, and development. Ongoing professional development facilities empowerment and accountability.

Milestone AV Technologies executives recognized the value of one employee and invested in the company’s future by investing in his growth. They saw “it” in him.

The company wanted this manager to get “it,” too. Milestone wanted him to use a carrot instead of a stick to spur his staff along. They wanted him to inspire his team to excel, not frighten them into higher performance.

The Dominant personality as an asset

DISC can help managers identify assets and work out liabilities in employees. And make no mistake: Dominant employees can be invaluable to any company’s bottom line.

Dominants are compelled to excel. They are usually decisive and direct. They are courageous when the company needs to take a risk. Self-starters. Big picture thinkers. Visionaries.

The Dominant personality type thrives on new challenges. They’re deadline driven and budget conscious. In the heat of battle, they’re fantastic at keeping their cool and solving problems. Their drive to succeed is all consuming.

The Dominant personality as a liability

Managers like this can also drive everyone up the wall. Their level of self-confidence can seem like arrogance. They are eager to lead but chafe at following.

Dominants often supersede their authority by deciding what the program should be. They prefer to dictate which direction to take and how to get there. And they want to set the pace–no stragglers please. Just get with their program and keep up.

DISC personality training can help managers better understand how to bring out the best in every member of their team. For example, Dominants need clear boundaries and directives. And they thrive in environments where their achievements are acknowledged.

DISC can also help employees become more self-aware. It can teach them how to modify their communications skills and collaborative behavior. And it can boost their morale.

Our facilitator’s time was well spent. This Milestone manager learned that patience is a professional asset as well as a personal virtue. He learned how to apply newly learned leadership skills. And he began to adopt behavioral patterns to help him be less controlling and more supportive to his subordinates.


Charitable Teambuilding with Net Health

For Net Health, our recent charitable teambuilding event was an opportunity to demonstrate their genuine concern for the children of Pittsburgh.

Of course, caring for people is Net Health’s business. They develop software solutions to strengthen patient care, optimize data accuracy, and improve the overall performance of hospitals and medical personnel.

Net Health is one of the fasted growing companies in the country. And it has been voted one of the best places to work in the state of Pennsylvania.

Occupational therapy. Physical therapy. Workplace medicine. Employee health. Speech and language therapy. Wound care. They have become an industry leader by interfacing with healthcare professionals in 98 percent of the hospital chains in America.

Their technological innovations are redefining the experiences and environments of caregivers and their patients across the country. No doubt this is how they earned the reputation of being experts in “The Art of the Right Fit.”

Charitable teambuilding as a tradition

That brand certainly fit during our charitable teambuilding workshop. It was the right fit for their corporate team and for the community they serve.

That’s because the workshop they chose was our Rescue Buddies Charitable Teambuilding Workshop. We developed this workshop to help local rescuers rescue kids in distress. Police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel carry these stuffed animals everywhere. In the aftermath of a fire, medical emergency, or a case of domestic violence, the toys are a form of life support for frightened children.

The 50 Net Health interns divided into 8 groups and “earned” the elements they’d need to build each of their Rescue Buddies. Little by little, they took shape–fish, mooses, bears, birds, pigs–stuffed with love.

The 8 groups began to function as teams. And little by little, each intern improved their collaborative and communications skills. 

And because community care is a tradition at Net Health, they began to embrace the corporate culture for which they were being trained.

The impact of charitable teambuilding

Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of leading the country in fire-related deaths. These deaths are caused primarily because homes so often lack working fire alarms. So the Bureau of Fire Headquarters in Pittsburgh was a logical choice to receive our Rescue Buddies.

Children all over the city would get their own cuddle bug at Fire Safety and Prevention classes. First stop: kids in area shelters. They and their moms learned how to plan safe escape routes and how to test fire alarms.

Learning how to stop-drop-and-roll in the event of a fire and other life-saving techniques may one day save their lives. And the Rescue Buddies will be reminders of what they learned.


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