FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
information,, contact: Mary Huff or Alice Coggin, Fleishman Hillard,
in Corporate Team-Building
TRAINERS NOW TURNING IN RAFTS AND ROPES FOR POTS AND PANS
Miss. - February 29, 2000 -- For a growing number of executives, the
next corporate training session is as likely to involve chopping celery
as chopping wood. Cutting edge training companies across the country are
bringing groups in from the wilderness and steering them straight to the
kitchen. Donning aprons and chef's hats, executives in these
"cooking adventures" learn as much about group dynamics -
sometimes more - than managers who attend other traditional
this trend in culinary corporate team-building is Viking
Range Corporation, known as the originator of luxury
commercial-style kitchen appliances. Through a partnership with
Atlanta-based organizational consulting company Jackson, Wong &
Associates, Viking has taken cooking programs to a level that would
leave ropes course participants - and facilitators - with their mouths
watering. The sessions are conducted at the Viking Culinary Arts Center,
a world-class teaching kitchen, state-of-the-art demonstration theatre
and retail shop for professional caliber cooking tools. The first two
locations are in Memphis and Nashville, with more locations planned for
Viking Culinary Arts Center is the place for serious culinary
enthusiasts to go for new ideas, new tools and new cooking skills. It
was only natural for us to develop a world-class corporate training
program built around the cooking experience," explains Carol Daily,
Managing Director of the Viking Culinary Arts Center.
comprehensive course, "Recipe for Success:- The Viking
Team-Building Experience" not only teaches team-building
skills, but also encourages people to experience the fun of cooking in a
state-of-the-art, professional teaching kitchen.
Wong is a perfect partner for us," says Daily, "not just
because they are a nationally-known corporate training and development
firm, but because they have a great respect and feel for cooking. They
understand the dynamics of cooking and have skillfully applied the
team-building process to the cooking experience," says Daily.
team-building sessions are typically one-day programs that accommodate
up to ten participants; however, the sessions can be expanded to offer
individual counseling and can also be customized to meet specific
corporate objectives. Regardless of what option is selected,
participants not only learn cooking and team-building techniques using
the highest-quality kitchen equipment, but as a final reward for their
achievement, they also enjoy their Epicurean masterpieces at the end of
the groups don't know is that we design each recipe to bring out issues
relevant to that particular team's corporate concerns," notes
Wilson Wong, facilitator and partner in Jackson, Wong & Associates.
"Issues which groups have addressed include everything from
interpersonal dynamics to difficulties in taking initiative."
entering a program, each team member's personality is profiled through
the time-honored Birkman
MethodÔ , a behavioral and
motivational assessment tool, which can be administered to each
participant via the Internet. At the start of a session, the facilitator
explains the objective: to understand and appreciate the differences in
behavioral styles and personalities of each co-worker. As with any
team-building program, each player is able to experience in a new,
objective way the dramas that play out in the workplace. When issues
arise, groups are coached on how to work with differing behavioral,
supervision and analytic styles, encouraging each member to interact and
communicate more effectively.
team-building sessions are extremely effective at improving team
members' communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills - key
goals of team-building exercises.
the kitchen is generally a familiar setting for participants, team
dynamics seem to emerge very quickly,' Wong says. " In fact, issues
arise much more quickly than in an outdoor program, where there's often
a much higher degree of apprehensiveness and fear." At the
same time, however, Wong notes that each Viking Culinary Arts Center is
more stunningly appointed and efficient than the average home kitchen.
"That puts everyone on a fairly level playing field, regardless of
their previous experience."
team-building programs are starting to spring up across the country. The
offerings run the gamut of fledgling "let's bond over
cooking" classes to cutting-edge seminars like the Viking program
that are developed around sophisticated assessment and training tools.
Jackson, Wong & Associates has seen interest in food programs
increase significantly each year over the five years it has been
offering a culinary program. "I've noticed that whether at a big
Thanksgiving gathering or when a few friends get together for dinner,
people relate to one another in the kitchen," Wong said.
cooking sessions are a great team-building technique because people
adapt quickly to their workplace behavior in the kitchen. This gives the
facilitator a chance to bring any issues "to the table" and
address them quickly.
of the Viking Team Building program lasts far beyond the one-day course.
The facilitator ensures that insights and lessons learned in the kitchen
are taken back to the workplace. According to Daily, "When groups
return to the office and resort to old behavior, someone is sure to
humorously remind them of the 'recipe' for creating harmony and
improving communication on the job."
a Viking Team-Building Experience, please contact: Colleen DePete at The
Viking Culinary Arts Center, Memphis, (901) 578-5822; or Mary Stodola,
The Viking Culinary Arts Center, Nashville, (615) 599-9617.