Bike BuildNow that we’ve officially embraced the New Year and everything it promises, corporate executives are setting goals for 2015. And as part of those goals, many are asking me to schedule team-building activities that will be different … unique … special.

There is no doubt that taking advantage of any opportunity to gather teams together in order to wind-down, celebrate and have fun is important, as it promotes good will, unity and camaraderie. And while I’d like to think all team-building events are unique and special, there is one type of event that goes above and beyond to deliver powerful results: corporate social responsibility (CSR) – when business teams create products or provide services that contribute to their community.

The good news is you don’t have to wait for another big holiday to roll around before you focus your corporate efforts outward, toward the community. As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

I was fortunate to be a part of such an event recently, when I facilitated a corporate group that spent the day building bicycles for children. It was truly a magical experience.

It all started with bike parts lined up against the wall … tires, hardware, handlebars and frames. The task was simple: build a bike as a team. But it didn’t take long for everyone to realize that creating something of quality and value isn’t always easy.

As individuals worked through the process, problem solved and relied on each other, great things happen. I watched as ideas turned to action, words became sources of support, and pride and satisfaction raised the roof above us.

And then, before you knew it, we had a room full of shiny, well-built and beautiful bicycles (with helmets), patiently waiting for their new owners. We smiled. We cheered. We beamed. And then when those eager kids came through the door to see their new bikes, the adult faces in the room lit up even brighter.

Experiences like these are invaluable to organizations. Not only do they foster cooperation and productivity, they also give individuals a sense of pride and accomplishment that can only come from doing for others. Which, in turn, helps create a stronger, more positive work environment.

How many of those moments do people really have in life? How many times do we do something meaningful that positively affects another person? How many memories do we get that come from making someone else feel good … and smile?

I always feel blessed when I get the chance to work with an organization that places giving and serving others as a priority. I am honored when I work with executives who know that living your values, not just listing them, is what’s important.

This is why, when corporate executives ask me for New Year ideas, I suggest making it about others, and less about themselves. Because it does a body … and a business … good.

What do you think?

Have you been part of a corporate activity that involved community giving? I’d love to hear about it. What benefits did you experience, and would you suggest such an activity in the future? Please leave your thoughts below.

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