Team Building Workshop or Axe Throwing?

Lately there has been a lot of buzz around organizations participating in a little axe throwing session as a team building workshop.   It’s gotten to be quite trendy and looks kind of fun to me. I have not personally thrown an axe but would certainly be game for it if that is what my team wanted to do. Here is the thing though, in order to be effective, a team building workshop needs to engage everyone, not just the folks who are keen on the event.

At Summit Team Building we have talked to countless clients about this very thing.   We have a variety of themed team building workshops ranging from discussion based simulations to high-ropes adventures. Sometimes when we have an initial conversation about a potential event, the person or committee planning it zero in on a specific program because it looks like something they themselves would enjoy. This is great and makes for an easier sale however the goal of a team building workshop is to engage an entire team, not just a few individuals.

When it comes to suggesting  or delivering a great team building workshop it helps to learn a little bit about the group. People who want to know more about our high ropes adventures are often drawn to it because they like to be active, take on a physical challenge and even do something they think is a little scary. Our ropes challenge is great for accomplishing all of this – it’s delivered by experienced facilitators and can help teams explore themes like trust, goal setting and overcoming fears.  Sometimes when we  ask a few more questions about their group, we discover that this kind of challenge could potentially put some members  into a panic attack. In fact we have in fact seen this happen which of course has exactly the opposite effect than what we were going for.

Similarly, our Art of Team program has been a great experience for teams who want to tap into their creative side and exercise that right-brain a little bit. In this team building workshop groups are painting mosaics that are meant to symbolically represent their team. Although most people dive right in and enjoy the challenge (once over their initial hesitation), there are times when this kind of activity is enough to put a participant so far out of their comfort zone that they are unable to contribute.

While it’s true that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, it’s a good idea to ask yourself or your team building provider if the option you are considering will engage everyone (or at least most people) in your group.  Make sure participants can take on a variety of roles so if they do not want to climb a 40 foot pole, they can still assist their team in a support role from the ground.  Having these conversations in the planning stages will really go a long way to setting the stage for success and help make your next team building workshop one that will get rave reviews from everyone.

The Hunt for Motivational Speakers in Toronto

Trying to find a motivational speaker in Toronto is easy – there are a ton of them. Trying to find a motivational speaker in Toronto that will have a message that resonates with your organization is a little tougher.  Remember, you are not only making a financial investment,  your team will be taking time away from work to listen to this message so it’s a good idea to think about what they should be walking away with before you start.

Many motivational speakers in Toronto are talented, entertaining and can easily engage groups with stories and anecdotes for an hour or so. People leave feeling energized and have shared some laughs with their colleagues. Then they go back to work and the energy fades, the message doesn’t stick and no return on investment is realized.

Steven Covey wisely said that successful people always start with the end in mind.  In keeping with that idea, here are a few questions to ask when hunting for the right motivational speaker in Toronto.

What are the key messages my team will hear? If this is part of a conference or offsite there are usually themes that you will want to focus on. Having a clear vision of this before you start searching for a speaker will save you a lot of time and effort.

Are the messages relevant and applicable to the work we do? Most motivational speakers in Toronto and beyond can tell you about their experiences but often fail when attempting to relate what they learned to the world their audience lives in.

Will the presentation be entertaining and interactive?  Sometimes it’s great to just sit back and let someone else to all of the talking – but when participants feel as though they are part of the presentation the message will have far better staying power long after it is delivered.

Is the motivational speaker a subject matter expert? Whether it’s leadership, creating high performing teams, change management or anything else, it is vital to know that the person behind the message can back up his or her story with real life experience and present it in a way that will make it easy for listeners to connect the dots to their own lives.

If you check out the Summit Team Building website at and then go to Programs and Keynote, you can learn a little bit about Scott Kress’ keynote option.  Hundreds of organizations have hired Scott to be their motivational speaker in Toronto and around the world.   He has demonstrated an incredible ability to relate to audiences from all sectors and cultures. Scott’s passion is mountain climbing but the lessons he has learned in those high altitudes are the same ones that effective leaders and teams must learn on their journey from good to great.

Visit the Summit website to find out why Scott Kress could be the next motivational speaker you engage for your team.

Achieving High Performance: An interactive keynote workshop


The Idea

Take your next training workshop to a higher level. Summit has revolutionized the training program by blending a motivational keynote and a training workshop. Custom designed for your group, this half or full day workshop uses Scott Kress’ extremely popular “Learning In Thin Air” keynote as a foundation and layers in a custom array of models, tools, theories and strategies that meet your learning and development goals. The story is what makes this workshop highly engaging and the content makes it valuable to your team and your organization.


How it Works

As Scott shares his story and personal insights he will pause at various points and engage the group in a discussion to dig deeper into the content and to examine how to apply this to their goals, challenges and development. Each workshop is custom designed to focus on your goals and objectives. Using a worksheet, participants will capture their ideas and insights and develop concrete action plans for implementation at work.


The Take Away

This presentation format is highly interactive, thus making it engaging and relevant to the participants. They are not simply listening to a story, but they actively participate and apply the presentation content to their real world goals and challenges. Participants will have time to digest the information provided and to work it into realistic action plans to help them achieve their goals and overcome obstacles.


The Results

  • Motivate and educate your team simultaneously
  • The high level of interaction and engagement promotes retention
  • With a higher level of retention application and follow through is easier
  • Each session is custom designed based on your desired learning outcomes

Summit Team Building is Blue Mountain Team Building

If you do a google search for “Blue Mountain Team Building” hopefully you will find Summit Team Building. Summit Team Building first started offering Blue Mountain team building programs back in 1994.

Along with Challenges Unlimited Summit helped to build the first ropes course at Blue Mountain resort located where the Orchard ski runs are now. For many years this ropes course was the highlight of Blue Mountain team building and many corporate groups used this ropes course and Summit Team Building to make the most of their Blue Mountain team building experience.

The ropes course no longer exists as it was removed to make way for the recently added Orchard ski runs, but that has not ended Blue Mountain team building. If anything the end of the ropes course was the birth of a new age of Blue Mountain team building.

As Blue Mountain grew as a conference and meeting destination the need for professional team building options also grew. Summit Team Building is not the official Blue Mountain team building partner and offers all our standard team building program at Blue Mountain and Summit has also designed many new Blue Mountain team building programs exclusively for this site.

Blue Mountain resort has done an amazing job of developing several fantastic recreational activities for the use of hotel and day guests to the site. Summit Team building has looked at these unique activities and designed several fun engaging and exciting Blue Mountain team building programs.

Some of the activities that Summit has utilized for Blue Mountain team building include the cascade Putting Course, The Timber Challenge, The Woodlot ropes course, The Apex Bag jump, The Wind Rider Triple Zip Line, the Segway Tour and the Climbing Wall. Using these great activities Summit Team Building has been able to create a series of Blue Mountain team building activities unlike anything you can find elsewhere.

If you want to explore the resort at Blue Mountain you might want to select our Blue Mountain Adventure Quest. This scavenger hunt based blue mountain team building activity provides a format for your team to explore the Blue Mountain grounds and sample several of the Blue Mountain attractions at the same time. This is one of our most popular Blue Mountain team building events due to the fast paced variety and the fact that it is appropriate for all groups regardless of size and the level of physical activity you want. We can make it easier or harder depending upon your desires.

The new Team putting Challenge will allow the golf fanatics in your group to hit their favourite ball while focusing on effective teamwork, planning and communication at the same time. This Blue Mountain team building program takes place on the fantastically landscaped Cascade Putting Course. A combination putting tournament and team building program this event will have your whole team engaged and working together.

Regardless of which Blue Mountain team building event you choose from Summit Team Building you will add great value to your event and you will want to make Blue Mountain the destination for your next conference or team meeting as well.

Check out the special Blue Mountain team building programs on the Summit Team Building web site.

What is a Team Building workshop

A team building workshop can be many things depending upon your definition and your goals and objectives for the event. The word workshop tends to infer that there is learning taking place and focused content on a specific subject.

At Summit Team Building we may refer to the team building workshop as a team development workshop. What is the difference you might ask.

If you look on the Summit Team Building web site under the programs tab you will find three categories; team building, team development and keynote. All three of these may be considered in the team building workshop category depending upon what you are looking for.

Generally speaking at Summit Team Building we refer to team building as the shorter, lighter programs that are focused on relationship development. They are usually theme based and will have a small amount of theory included and their main focus is to energize and to motivate. These team building programs are perfect to break up a multi-day conference.

What we at Summit Team building refer to as a Team Development Workshop may be what you mean by a Team Building Workshop. The addition of the word “workshop” changes the meaning of the word “team building” from a light and fun event to a focused learning session. A team building workshop is usually 4-8 hours in length and will have a very focused learning objective. These team building workshop’s may include theory, models, tools, a power point presentation, a workbook, breakout sessions, paired discussions, action planning and follow up plans. As the word team building implies the content usually focuses more on the soft skills of team and personal interaction. This may include effective communication, building trust, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and many more topics. The end goal is to have a greater level of personal and team performance as a result of the team building workshop.

Now a keynote presentation is not usually considered a team building workshop, but at Summit Team building it is. Summit President Scott Kress is an international keynote speaker and shares his insights on the building and leading of high performance teams. Scott uses stories of his mountaineering climbs of Mount Everest and other mountains to engage, entertain and educate his audience. The standard keynote presentation is a one-way presentation and while Scott and Summit Team Building offer these keynotes they have also turned the keynote into a team building workshop. This has been accomplished by adding more content and greater depth to the presentation material. It then becomes a team building workshop when you add in the interactive component of large and small group discussion, application sessions and coaching. The goal is to make the keynote team building workshop something that is unique and educational and adds great value to your next event.

Check out the Summit Team Building web site pages for Team building, Team Development and Keynote speaking to learn all about our team building workshop options.

Scott Kress is a motivational speaker in Toronto

Scott Kress is a motivational speaker based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Scott is the President of Summit Team Building; one of Canada’s leading team building and training firms.

Scott is a highly accomplished leadership and team development trainer, author and keynote speaker.

He has created highly successful development programs for many of the Fortune 500 companies around the world. Scott has only one goal as a motivational speaker; to assist teams, leaders, and individuals in reaching their peak performance.

As a corporate trainer Scott has helped many companies big and small achieve success. This is accomplished through combining the latest team and leadership theory with cutting edge experiential training to create one of the most effective training programs available today. Scott’s team and leadership development programs are custom designed to meet each client’s needs.

Years of experience, two undergraduate degrees and a Masters in Leadership and Training provide Scott with unique qualifications to design and deliver some of the most innovative corporate experiential based training available today.

Scott has taught Leadership and High Performance Team Development for some of the world’s leading educational institutions including the Rotman School of Management, the Odette School of Business, and the University of Edinburgh. Scott teaches in the Executive MBA, International Executive MBA, and MBA programs and has received several teaching awards including professor of the year.

Some of Scott’s programs focus on; Teambuilding, New Team Formation, High Performance Team Development, Leadership Development, Values and Mission Creation, Communication Enhancement, Change Management, and Process Improvement.

Additionally, Scott has gained great insight into the inner workings of leadership and high performance teams through over 25 years of leading climbing expeditions. He has guided and summitted peaks throughout the world. Scott is the 51st Canadian to summit Mount Everest and in December 2011 became one of less than 300 people worldwide to climb the 7 summits (the highest mountain on each of the 7 continents).

As a motivational speaker Toronto and using his unique background of education, training, experience, and adventure, Scott can help your teams and leaders reach the peak of their performance.

Scott will deliver over 45 motivational keynote presentations in 2016 and is already booked across Canada, the United States, the UK, Europe and Asia.

As a motivational speaker Toronto Scott uses his climbing stories to create an engaging and entertaining foundation. With this strong foundation Scott then layers in models and tools based on your learning themes. This way your audience is learning while being entertained at the same time.

Scott is far more than a motivational speaker Toronto. I each presentation Scott seeks to entertain, to educate and to motivate.

Go to the Keynote Page on the Summit Team Building web site to learn more and contact Scott today to book him as a motivational speaker for your next event.


What to look for in a motivational speaker

If you are reading this blog there is a good change you have seen countless motivational speakers over the years. You may have been a participant at a meeting or conference where a motivational speaker was included as part of the event and you may even have booked a motivational speaker for an event you were organizing.

There is no doubt a motivational speaker can be a great asset to your event and add great value, but you must make sure you are selecting the right motivational speaker for your event. Below are 5 factors I fee you should consider when booking a motivational speaker.

  1. Why do you want a motivational speaker

The first question you must answer is why do you want a motivational speaker for your event. You must be clear on this as it will help you select the appropriate speaker for your event. You even need to have an idea of when you will want the speaker to present as this will impact the type of motivational speaker you hire. Do you want an opening motivational speaker, a closing speaker, a mid-day speaker or an after dinner speaker. Each one of these factors will influence who you select as a motivational speaker for your event. You also need to be clear if you are looking for an entertainer, a motivator or and educator. Different speakers will bring different things to your event.

  1. What is your topic or theme

There are literally thousands of motivational speakers available for hire and they all have something different to offer. Knowing your theme, objectives and topic focus will help you narrow down your search.

  1. What is your budget

Motivational speaking fees can range from $500-$100,000 or more. The old saying that you get what you pay for has some relevance here, but there is the celebrity factor that plays into speaking fees as well. You may be able to get an industry expert to speak for free, but chances are they will not be very motivational. You can also hire a celebrity to speak, but you will need to budget for $20,000 plus for this. It the WOW factor is important to you then this may be the route for you. For most speakers $5000-$15,000 will get you a very good motivational speaker.


  1. What do you want out audience to take away

You need to have a clear idea in your head right from the start what you want your audience to walk away with. Any good speaker will ask you this and they will guide their presentational accordingly. Do you want the motivational speaker to just entertain and motivate. Or do you want them to educated and provide your audience with tangible application ideas.

  1. Collateral material

Does the motivational speaker have something like a book that you can give your audience. This form of take away is of huge value as it helps to keep the speakers message alive long past the event. If the speakers is willing to sign the book for each person that adds an impressive wow factor to this gift.

If you do your homework you can get huge value from the motivational speaker you select. Check our the Summit Team Building keynote page for information on what Scott Kress can bring to your event as a motivational speaker.

Are you looking for a Team Building Canadian Outback Adventure

If you are looking for a unique and professional team building Canadian outback adventure we at Summit Team building can help you out.

Summit Team building is a leading team building and training firm operating in Canada, in Toronto, at Blue Mountain Resort, at Vintage Hotels, and at many other locations. Summit has been delivering team building programs for over 20 years and all our programs are designed for an adult corporate audience.

Regardless of your industry or the sector of business you work in you will engage several times a year in team meetings, all company events, and conferences. At these events you are frequently looking for some type of Canadian outback adventure team building.

The word team building means many things to many people. Team building can be a social event, a fun recreational game, an organized team bonding program, or a learning workshop. Here at Summit Team Building we can help you add huge value to your conference agenda and have your team excited for the next meeting.

At Summit Team Building we categorize our Canadian outback adventure team building program into three main categories: team building programs, team development workshops, and keynote speaking.

Team Building: These are the 1-3 hour fun relationship development sessions you might do at a multi-day conference. They are high on fun and light on focused learning and content. Their objective is to energize and build relationships which strengthens the event experience and enhances overall teamwork. Program themes may include cooking challenges, scavenger hunts, photo rallies, and many programs with a philanthropic give back component. See the team building page on our website for all the details.

Team Development: These are longer training workshops that focus on improving team interactions and specific personal, leadership and team skills. These sessions are mostly classroom based, but will have some experiential components to them. The curriculum may be aimed at personal, team or leadership development and may include team development, communication enhancement, change leadership/management, leadership style, 360 assessment, emotional intelligence, and much more. See the team building page on our website for all the details.

Keynote SpeakingScott Kress has been enthralling audiences for 10 plus years and has received countless glowing testimonials from happy clients.Scott delivered over 45 keynotes last year across Canada, the USA, Hong Kong, the UK, Switzerland, and Nigeria. His main keynote focuses is on his climb of Everest in 2008 and led to success and what led to failure. What separates Scott from other climber/adventure speakers is his training and teaching background. Scott am able to use his story to introduce models and tools to help individuals, teams, and leaders perform at a higher level. Scott has sold over 5000 copies of his book Learning In Thin Air which is a combination story book and leadership/team development text book.See the team building page on our website for all the details.

At Summit Team Building we can help you make your conference or meeting a more valuable experience with our Canadian outback adventures team building programs.

Invest In Your Team for a Great 2016

Elite athletes don’t achieve elite status just because they want to. They invest heavily in themselves and focus on how to build performance. It takes years of practice, mentoring and coaching to become great.

So why do we expect business teams to achieve high performance with little to no investment in team building and leadership development?

In a recent article on December 14, 2015 from Forbes on-line titled “Your Single Best Investment for 2016” by Josh Linkner it is pretty clear that investing in leadership and team building is critical for success and this focus will have a solid return on your investment.

”According to a 2011 study by CEB, “Companies that invest in leadership development have outperformed others by 15 times over the last 60 years.” Businesses invest countless resources in technology, facilities, and compliance, yet the most powerful investment of all – investing to elevate team performance – is often underfunded or cut altogether. Ironically, companies that prioritize leadership development can enjoy enormous boosts in both revenue and productivity.”

It has been said that the front line produces the bottom line. By this account team performance is critical. Companies must focus on and build high performance teams. The responsibility to build these high performance teams falls upon the leader and yet so often the leader is not prepared to and does not know how to guide their team towards high performance.

Just because the team members have the experience, knowledge and tools to do the job does not mean they will do it well. Many teams are good, but few are great.

Leaders are often promoted because of their success as a team member. They are often very talented at the task required to be successful in whatever line of business they are in. Once in a leadership position however, the skills that got them there are often no longer required and a whole new set of people skills are essential. Somehow we just expect this transformation to come along with the title and the new office. But without guidance most leaders fall short in their role as team builders.

Building a high performance team is a very deliberate process and requires both formal and informal team building as well as internal and external resources.

To build a high performance team a leader must first start with a vision of what high performance is given the goals and roles for the team. As with any organizational vision, this team vision states the end goal and provides direction for decisions, resource allocation, training, and so much more. Once the vision has been defined the leader must set about to build the skills and dynamics within the team to bring this vision to life. And in the process the leader must build in frequent check in points to reflect upon the progress of the team and make any fine tune adjustments required.

At Summit Team Building we call this the “Deliberate Success Model” and we use it to help leaders learn how to be a great leader and to build high performance teams. At Summit Team Building we deliver leadership development workshops that focus on building a high performance team, emotional intelligence, culture development, building trust, communicating effectively, leading change, managing conflict, and 360 leadership development.

Invest in your teams with one of our team development workshops or our team building programs and your leaders with a leadership development workshop and you are setting your company up for a great 2016.


True Patriot Love Expedition Team Returns Successful from Antarctica


Wounded Canadian soldiers team up with business leaders to battle the coldest continent in the world

In January of 2016 nine ill and injured soldiers, seventeen Canadian business leaders, one team doctor, one research specialist and one extreme photographer embarked on an challenging journey to summit Vinson Massif – the highest peak in Antarctica and one of the world’s Seven Summits.

As with previous TPL Expeditions – to the Himalayas in 2012 and the North Pole in 2014 – the purpose of this journey was to bring attention to the challenges that face members of the Canadian Armed Forces, their families and Canada’s veterans each day. By bringing these challenges into the spotlight, True Patriot Love strives to provide inspiration to those facing these issues every day, and also garner financial support and awareness from Canadians across the country.


Scott Kress, Summit Team Building President, was one of the guides for the expedition and a member of the True Patriot Love Expedition Leadership Team. Scott’s role was as a mountain guide and to help the team prepare for the expedition technically and physically and also to help the team develop into a high performance unit.

Beginning with a training camp on the Athabasca Glacier in August and continuing with weekend training session the team focused not only on the physical fitness and technical skills necessary to climb the mountain, but also on interpersonal interactions and team dynamics. Ask any experienced mountaineer and they will tell you that communication, trust, decision making, and other team interaction skills are critical to be successful on any climb. A focus on team building does not guarantee you will make it to the summit, but if you have a dysfunction team you have little to no chance of making it to the top.

It has been said that poor culture will eat great strategy for breakfast, and it will consume tools and technology by lunch. Without a focus on team building ad team dynamics you cannot take advantage of strategy and technology and you will not likely hit your business targets.

Along with focusing on team building, Scott worked with the soldier participants on personal development through the use of the MHS EQi 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment. Each soldier completed the assessment and received their report along with a copy of the book “The EQ Edge”. From here each soldier had a debrief session in which they reviewed their report and developed a personal growth plan.

Scott also connected each soldier with one of the civilian business leaders in a mentorship relationship.

It is through this intense focus on all aspects of the individual and the team that we hoped to give our team the best chance of success possible.

On January 20 2016 20 of the 26 expedition members and 5 of the 6 guides made it to the summit of Mount Vinson. The expedition started out well and continued so thanks to the teams preparation, the focus on team building and a dose of good weather.

After the 5 hour flight from Chile to Antarctica the team made their way to Mount Vinson base camp in Twin Otter ski planes. After a day of rest the team started up the mountain. The skies started blue, there was a medium breeze blowing and the temperature was around -10 Celsius.

After two days the team made it to low camp. It was here that the skies opened up and the snow came down. Antarctica is technically a desert and sees very little precipitation. Close to 5 years worth of snow fell in 24 hours and this slowed the team for a couple of days.

Once the snow stopped and had a chance to settle the team hefted extremely heavy packs and began the 8 hour climb to high camp. This was an exhausting day but all did well.

On January 17 the team was up early and set out for the summit. This long 12 hour day consists of 18km of walking with nearly 4000-feet of vertical gain to the summit. It is a gig day! The climb went well until the summit ridge where we were blasted with 50 know winds and the view was obscured by clouds. We had made it to the top.

Our true Patriot Love expedition was the largest ever to attempt to climb Mount Vinson and we had the largest number of people from one expedition to summit in a single day. Overall a very successful expedition plus we raised over $2.2 million dollars for the charity.

To ready more about the expedition in detail check out the Summit Team building expedition blog.