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Resources: Targeting Teamwork

Ask executives and human resource managers what qualities they want in a new recruit and they’re apt to cite the virtues inherent in teamwork. Teamwork increases creativity and enhances overall satisfaction from top ranks to the bottom line. And popular corporate teambuilding programs, from one-day sailing courses to intense weeklong workshops, boost productivity and improve communication among employees, managers say.

We’ve zeroed in on seven area businesses that specialize in corporate teambuilding. Boasting clients from AT&T to the Collier County Board of Commissioners, most customize programs and recommend reservations at least 90 days in advance, although they try to accommodate groups with shorter notice.

Florida Sailing and Cruising School

For nearly two decades, Vic and Barb Hansen worked with business clients who enjoyed group retreats on the water, typically in addition to a management seminar. Seeing a growing demand for such services, the Hansens recently made corporate teambuilding a focus, marketing their customized programs to companies nationwide.

Their school offers six-day power training and sailing courses, ranging from $1,600-$1,800 per person. Shorter sessions, such as a one-day course, often supplement off-the-water corporate teambuilding, Barb says. 3444 N.W. Marinatown Lane, North Fort Myers; 656-1339; www.flsailandcruiseschool.com.

Offshore Sailing School

Soon after moving its headquarters to Fort Myers in the late ’80s, Offshore Sailing School hosted 94 physicians from the American Medical Association. Steve and Doris Colgate have been combining sailing with teambuilding ever since.

Clients have included the Boston Red Sox and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up. For a half-day of teambuilding programs, the base cost is $695 per boat, which accommodates four people, says Doris.

“We have some who have never sailed before and that will put them beyond their comfort level. Sailing is a pure teamwork thing. You have to communicate very well and between each other,” says Kirk Williams, head of marketing for Offshore. 16731 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers; 454-1700, (888) 454-8002; www.offshore-sailing.com.

Pro.Opt Inc.

Pro.Opt Inc., derived from the words profit and optimization, teaches conflict resolution skills, budget and goal setting in various classes and workshops. The company was formed in November of 1999 with the merger of Brewster & Associates Inc. and HMS Management Group Inc.

Rates range from $50 per hour for one-on-one computer application coaching to $1,100 per day for on-site training of up to 20 people, says president Harold Brewster. 381 Hidden Valley Drive, Naples; 775-5200; www.proopt.com.

The Sky’s the Limit Consulting Inc.

President Joshua Sky conducts coaching sessions called “Success Teams” and offers training products and programs by Inscape Publishers (formerly Carlson Learning Co.). He also coaches small business owners, entrepreneurs and middle managers on dealing with career issues, balancing work and life and goalsetting.

Sky founded the firm in 1999 and has presented programs for national corporations including AT&T.

Most programs, which are offered at the client’s office or at a hotel or retreat setting, are at least one day. Sky also conducts half-day programs and “lunch and learn” sessions. “I like to work with an organization once a quarter over the course of a year so the training intervention is working as a process, not a one-time event,” he says.

Fees vary based on factors including the length of program, number of participants, customization, preparation time and materials. 11409 Worcester Run, Estero; 949-6529; www.theskysthelimitconsulting.com.

Teamwork in Action

President Ryan Combs describes his company as a mobile leadership training and teambuilding business that provides experiential training, or learning by doing. Combs’ programs are conducted outdoors, at a resort or in the office.

Training varies from half-day sessions to multi-day adventures, which include nature hikes, kayaking and camping, all tailored to the group’s fitness level. Fees vary.

Clients include the Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University, the Lee County Parks and Recreation Department, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Inc. 21301 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 320-101, Estero; 948-3172; www.teamwork-in-action.com.

Character Pitch Inc.

Character First, a training company founded in Oklahoma City to provide lasting solutions to problems facing an organization, is represented in Southwest Florida by Gerry Peterson. Peterson works with business owners, managers and other company leaders in half-day, one-day and two-day seminars.

With seminar topics such as “Character-Based Correction” and “Hiring for Character,” Peterson helps an organization plan and implement a character focus. He often walks through a recommended plan of action and assists with employee meetings. Peterson, whose company is named Character Pitch Inc., uses Character First’s training materials and character-building tools.

Peterson provides on-site seminars that cost about $2,000 a day plus a material fee, which varies. One-day training programs for smaller organizations cost $195 per person and include materials, lunch and a one-year subscription to the Character First newsletter. Fees for government agencies and non-profits are reduced.

Local clients include Suncoast Contractors Supply Inc., Sutter Roofing of Southwest Florida and the Collier County Board of Commis-sioners. 1437 Davis Drive, Fort Myers; 479-3700; www.characterfirst.com.

Tartan Consulting Inc.

Founder Stephen McIntosh works with clients nationwide to develop relationships between management and employees. One recent teambuilding assignment took him to New York to work through disputes between the city’s transit authority maintenance staff and management. He rode buses, worked the midnight shift, and met with members of both groups to assess how they could resolve problems.

McIntosh, who also launched the Southern Leadership Institute two years ago for individual training, has done additional consulting for major corporations, such as Disney. Fees vary. 24461 Woodsage Drive, Suite 400, Bonita Springs; 947-7472; www.tartanconsulting.com. 

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