Close 2017 With High Performance



It is hard to believe that the end of 2017 is almost here. The last quarter is critical for most companies to finish strong with goals met. Fall conferences and team meetings play a big part in helping teams maintain their focus and drive to meet their goals. These meetings and conferences usually focus on strategy and goal review. Some teams are even starting to look at 2018 strategy and goals.

While these meetings are important do not let goal and strategy focus allow you to miss out on a critical opportunity to focus on the development of your team. Stephen Covey once said, “the front line produces the bottom line”. Whether this is a leadership meeting, a departmental or project team meeting it is imperative that you keep the team culture strong as it is team culture that drivers team results.

It has been said that “poor culture will eat great strategy for breakfast, and it will consume tools and technology by lunch”. A strong team culture built on a clear high-performance vision with strong relationships and open communication is what will get you to your goals time and time again.

A high-performance team is one that can achieve their goals year after year, in good times and in bad. Almost any team can be successful during good economic times, and even dysfunctional teams get lucky every now and then. But if you want to achieve and maintain high performance on a sustainable level you must focus on the development of your team culture.

In order to develop a high-performance team culture, you need to understand where you currently are. One tool used at Summit Team Building is the Group Styles Inventory. This easy to complete assessment provides your team with valuable insights as to their current team culture in 12 critical areas. We will examine factors such as achievement and collaboration that contribute positively towards team culture and conventional and power that contribute negative elements to team cultures and discuss where your team needs to focus to build and maintain high performance. Combine this with our High-Performance Team or High-Performance Leadership programs, our coaching buddy action planning and our director follow up guide and you can really set your team up for success.

If you do not have time for a workshop keep this in mind for the new year when you have more time, but for now consider bringing in a keynote speaker to inspire and educate the team for their final push to the summit. Summit Team Building provides two inspiring and educational keynote presentations Learning in Thin Air and Achieve The Outrageous. And if a keynote is not the right fit for this event consider a team building program to strengthen the foundation of your team.

We know that you have most likely booked your fall retreat already and are working on the agenda so do not forget to build in some time to develop the people and culture of the team if you want sustained high performance.

Kingbridge Centre

Kingbridge Conference Centre


At Summit Team Building we are constantly growing and developing to meet your team building and training workshop needs. Since 1997 we have been honing our craft and we are now one of the largest team building companies in the country. We have established a great reputation and are sought out by companies from coast to coast.

We have partnered with many leading meeting and conference venues to offer our team building and training programs to their guests. These high-quality venues know they can trust Summit Team Building to enhance their guest’s experience.

Our high-quality programs, professional delivery and stellar reputation have led us to our new and exciting partnership with The Kingbridge Conference Centre.

If you do not know the Kingbridge Conference Centre you should check them out This beautiful and purpose-built meeting and conference facility are located at HWY400 and King Road just north of Canada’s Wonderland. For small groups and large, this facility has efficient meeting rooms, comfortable accommodation, fantastic dining, and acres of beautiful outdoor grounds with fields, trails and rivers providing great space for exercise and contemplation alike.

One of the unique features of the Kingbridge Centre is their ropes course. Ropes courses are one of my favourite team building tools. Nothing compares to the bonding experience of the ropes course and the personal and team learning opportunities are endless.

At Summit Team Building we have been running ropes course team building programs for 20 years and when Kingbridge needed someone to run their course they naturally turned to Summit. We have now developed an exciting new team development program at Kingbridge that is built on the metaphor of climbing a mountain. We start in the meeting room to lay a solid foundation for learning. The team then embarks on a journey to base camp through the winding trails on the property. Once at the ropes course, we move through the mountain camps on the various low rope team challenges and then climb to the summit on the high ropes course. It is a truly inspiring program and having a debrief beside a gently flowing river makes everything stand out that much more.

Many people think that the ropes course is too physical for their team, and while it is not for all groups, there are roles in a Summit ropes course program for all participants regardless of their ability or desire to climb.

Kingbridge also provides an amazing environment for our other team building programs including our Play it Forward philanthropic scavenger hunt program, our Search and Rescue team building adventure and our Put Your Chef Hat On culinary team building program.

Kingbridge is also a great location to facilitate our team development training workshops. Kingbridge was built for corporate meetings, retreats, and conferences. It is purpose built for this reason. The meeting rooms provide everything we need to deliver a top-notch training workshop and the indoor and outdoor environment provides countless breakout and reflection locations.

If you are looking for a great venue for a one-day or a multi-day meeting or conference check out The Kingbridge Conference Centre and how Summit Team Building can elevate your experience to new heights.

Everest Keynote Update

Keynote Program

When I went climbing Mount Everest I did not go with the intention of developing a keynote or motivational presentation. I went on a personal journey to achieve a goal and to grow as a person. As a bonus, I found my experience, my story, was inspirational to others and could help them climb the mountains in their lives.

After telling my story informally the narrative began to develop into a more formalized keynote presentation with models, tools, strategies and techniques for building high-performance teams, for leadership, for overcoming challenge and change, and for achieving big goals.

Since 2009 I have shared my motivational keynote with over 450 groups and over 75,000 people. I am constantly tweaking and adding to my presentation and earlier this year I felt it was time for a complete refresh.
Working with a graphic designer I clarified my ideas and updated my presentation into a new updated version of Learning In Thin Air. This presentation is even more powerful than the original. As with any professional, I do not believe I can rest on what works today, but I must always be growing for tomorrow.

I am excited to now be using this new presentation and hope to share it with as many teams as possible. So the next time you are looking for a speaker for your next team meeting or conference give me a call and ask how my motivational keynote can add value to your event and help your teams climb their Mount Everest.

Achieve The Outrageous Keynote


Achieve the Outrageous is a new keynote by Scott Kress. This keynote is a new offering to add to his extremely popular Learning in Thin Air Keynote. The discussion below will give you insight into Scott’s latest adventure and the resulting keynote.

Q: What is Achieve the Outrageous?

A: Achieve the Outrageous is my new keynote based on my 2016 expedition to cross Antarctica on foot from the coast to the South Pole.

Q: Tell us about this expedition?

A: In November of 2016 I headed to Antarctica with three friends to travel on foot to the South Pole. Our plan was to follow in the footsteps of the early Antarctic explorers. We would start at the coast and travel by cross-country ski for close to 1000km to reach the South Pole. To make it as true as possible to the original explorers we would travel in what is called an unsupported and unassisted fashion. In other words, we would do it the hard way.

Q: What does unsupported and unassisted mean and why is this special.

A: Unassisted means that we would travel under our own power only. We would have no assistance from snowmobile, kite, sled dogs or any other advantage. Unsupported means we would have no support from the outside world to drop re-supplies to lighten our load. This means that all we would need for 50 days of travel we would start with and drag in sleds the entire distance. A supported expedition sled may weigh 30 kilos, ours would weigh closer to 130 kilos. An assisted trip would move fast because of the light weight. Unassisted we would need closer to 45-50 days. Why is this special? Because very few people have ever done it this way.

Q: What was the expedition like? Tell us about it?

A: The expedition was one of the greatest things I have ever done, but it was also one of the most difficult things I have ever done physically and mentally. Every day for 44 days we would pull our sleds across the extremely difficult terrain in sub-zero temperatures. Our bodies took a beating from the physical exertion and the repetitious nature of the journey. Our minds took a beating from the discomfort, the pain, the loneliness and the isolation.

Every day, regardless of the weather or how you were feeling, we would get up, make breakfast, break camp, put on our skis, hook up to our sled and pull. The days were long and hard, but we had no choice if we wanted to achieve our goal.

Q: How did you work together as a team?

A: We were a great team. I knew two of the members prior to the trip and knew we would work together well. The fourth member of the team was well known one of the other members so we all knew we were a solid team. We had to start with a team of people we felt could take it physically and mentally. If one person had to be extracted for any reason we would lose our unassisted and unsupported status so we had to work together and support one another physically and emotionally.

We spent time up front discussing our vision of teamwork and clarifying our roles and the style in which we wanted to complete the trip. We were all committed to this and it made decision making easy.

Q: What was the hardest part of the expedition?

A: At first it was difficult mentally. The isolation and monotony would tear at your mind all day every day. We all tried strategies from music to meditation to combat this and all found our personal coping strategies after about a week. As the trip went on it was the physical punishment that became most difficult and this contributed to the mental and emotional challenge. Blisters, muscle aches, pulled tendons, frost bite, sun burn, wind burn, polar thigh, sore backs, hips and shoulders were the norm. Every one of us suffered physically from the day-after-day non-stop physical beating. When the snow conditions were bad, the wind was raging, and the visibility was zero this made it even more difficult.

Q: How did you come up with the content for the Achieve the Outrageous keynote?

A: As I was skiing 8-10 hours a day I had a lot of time inside my own head. We could not easily talk to one another as we skied and at breaks, we were often too tired and too focused on fixing gear or self-care to talk. As I was skiing, I marvelled at how difficult what we were doing was. I began to wonder what allowed this to happen and I asked myself “how do you achieve the outrageous?”. In an almost meditative state, the ideas came to me. Those that did not fit, kept on going, and those that did fit stuck and I boiled it down to seven points that I felt allowed me to achieve the outrageous. Everyone will have their own, but I think my seven will connect with most people and when applied can help those people achieve the outrageous in their lives.

Q: Who would benefit from this keynote?

A: I believe anyone looking to achieve something big. This could be personal or in business, but if you want to achieve something big, something outrageous, I believe my story and my insights will help to inspire and motivate you and to give you focus in some specific areas to help you achieve your goal.

Q: How is this keynote different from your Learning in Thin Air keynote based on your climb of Mount Everest?

A: My Everest keynote is very much focused on high-performance team development, leadership and teamwork. In Achieve the Outrageous I focus more on the personal elements that one needs to achieve their goals. Yes, we were a team, but so much of the South Pole expedition was about personal determination, focus and perseverance. Yes, we did it as a team, but every person had to do it individually. We had to get up, fulfil our role, and persevere every day and nobody could do that for us. This is a much more personal story in many ways.


How to Keep Motivation Alive

Everything is easier when you’re motivated. Lots of company heads and managers struggle to come up with new ways to motivate their employees, but the truth is it’s pretty simple once you figure out what matters to them. Many of these things are often very simple and stem from the old adage actions speak louder than words.

When you enlist the help of a motivational speaker it’s important to find someone that can truly engage your team through their own experiences, they don’t need to be a guru in your industry to inspire. In fact, more often than not someone from an entirely different walk of life can present a compelling narrative that taps into what’s most important – human connection.

Are Your Team Motivated?

Startups and small businesses tend to miss out the most when it comes to allocating a budget for team building activities with many assuming that just hiring the best people will be enough to keep motivation alive for the long haul.  As well as inviting a speaker to your event, engaging in team building and training you can also check to see if you are fulfilling these ten motivational markers to boost morale and keep the foundation of your team strong. To really inspire and motivate the connection must be organic and this has to be initiated by leaders in order for it to have any positive effect on your employees.

Motivational Speakers: Inspiring People

So what makes a strong motivational speaker today? If you go by the top search results on Google then anybody can become a good professional speaker by watching a stack of Youtube videos or buying a punchy short-course, but deep down we all know it’s not that simple and it would seem that Forbes agrees, with a straight talking article titled there’s no such thing as a motivational speaker.

While it’s possible to find a motivational speaker with true talent and experiences their gifts are born from living and learning rather than trying to make a job out of tools and skills. Personality and strong values not only motivate others but show that the speaker is aware of their position and dedicated to guiding others rather than being driven to make a quick buck at the expense of your team’s personal development. Take a look at the main qualities all good motivational speakers should possess, so you don’t settle for anything less.

Keynote Motivational Speakers For Team Building

At Summit, our top keynote speaker Scott Kress scales mountains and uses tools and insight from his own journey to give others solutions and ideas they can incorporate into their personal and professional lives. While many of us are unlikely to literally scale mountains just the metaphor alone gets you thinking about every challenge you’re faced with and how you can overcome obstacles. Focusing on relationship will enable your team to reach higher levels of performance and reap the rewards, with many employees now expected to be experts in their job roles with clear passion and vision, all of us must reflect on what will help us do our best work and in this case a motivational speaker can ignite the spark that brings your team together.

How to Lead Teams to Greatness

Corporate Team Building Games

At Summit Team Building we specialize in helping organizations and leaders build high performance teams. Sometimes we work organization wide on culture, collaboration and communication, sometimes we work with individual teams to help them figure out how to bring out their best, and sometimes we work with leaders and leadership teams to help them determine how to be a great leader and builder of teams.

In this blog I will focus on the development of a leader into someone that consistently builds high performance in teams and the individuals within those teams.

There are 6 elements critical for a leader to focus on to build high performance. Other elements will come into play, but this is the place where it all begins.

Step 1: Know how you lead. Each leader has their own personal style. It is created through a combination of their innate personality traits, past experiences, the organizational culture, and their training. Most leaders that are in touch with their own self have a pretty good idea of their style, but it is always a good idea to dig deeper through assessments, training, coaching, and reading. An assessment such as MBTI will help a leader better understand their inborn personality traits that drive so much. An Emotional Intelligence assessment will help a leader understand their strengths and some of their blind spots. Whereas the Life Style Inventory (LSI) will help them understand their default leadership style. Armed with this knowledge a leader can modify their leadership style and approach to the needs of the team.

Step 2: Have a Vision of High Performance. It is hard to achieve high performance if you do not know what it is. As Stephen Covey states – “Begin with the end in mind”. You can’t just say “let’s be high performance” as that has no real definition or measurement in it. As a leader you must have a clear definition of what high performance is and you must communicate it to your team. You cannot expect anyone to live up to your expectations if they do not know what they are. Do not just assume people can read your mind. Determine what high performance is for your team based on goals, responsibilities, customer service, cross-department teamwork and interpersonal relationships. Once you have this figured out communicate it to the team and reinforce it every chance you get.

Step 3. Build Real Relationships. Communication is critical within teams and from team to leader.  Communication is built on trust and trust is created through relationship. I always say that relationship is the foundation of any high performance team. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to get to know and understand one another. This can be done through training and team building sessions that are facilitated to accelerate relationship development and through more organic events such as meetings and team dinners. A mix of both is best.

Step 4: Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities. This is critical to avoid dropped balls and conflict. When everyone knows what to do everything gets done. It is that simple. If something is missed, you know where to look to find out why. Conflict often arises due to unclear roles and responsibilities when too many people think they are doing the same thing or nobody thinks it is their responsibility. If you do not have clarity on this it will become apparent very fast and you will need to fix it.

Step 5: Provide Proactive Feedback. To help everyone know how they are performing and to help them grow you need to provide proactive feedback and be a coach and a mentor. One of the strongest factors in determining commitment is the ability to learn and grow. Great leaders make the development of their people a priority and they are rewarded for their efforts in performance, loyalty, commitment and even promotion.

Step 6: Celebrate. Everyone likes to celebrate a job well done. However, don’t wait until the end of the fiscal year or the conclusion of a big project to celebrate. Find many small celebrations along the way. This will help build relationships, foster commitment and loyalty, and keep morale strong for when times get tough. A team that feels appreciated is more willing to go the extra mile when needed.

Building a high performance team is a complex task, but if you focus on these 6 elements you are well on your way to greatness. Take time to make a plan and give us a call at Summit Team Building and we can develop a training program to help you achieve greatness.