Arhive cristian hossu - Universum



HR Manager magazine: How do we quickly restore energy in organizations?

11 Dec 2014


Somewhere around 80% of the briefs we receive include in the first part a phrase like “to motivate the team”, accompanied by explanations such as “they have low morale, there have been and are some difficult years, we have to help them find their the motivation”.

Having contact with many companies in the market and running projects with hundreds of teams over the years, you can’t help but wonder how some teams are united, full of positive energy and the motivation to make things happen, in while others seem blasé, drained of energy and without a bit of desire and aspirations to go on an upward path. The correct, desirable answer consists in a balanced combination between a leadership and management team, which inspires its people permanently, and a coherent structure of organizational systems and procedures, which ensures that all the important motivating factors, identified by the literature of specialty*, are present in the company and work. We are talking here about:

  • collaboration with colleagues;
  • the fairness of the distribution of resources;
  • procedural justice;
  • the possibilities of professional growth;
  • clear performance standards;
  • a relevant, impactful job;
  • autonomy;
  • receiving and providing clear and transparent feedback;
  • a balanced workload;
  • variety of tasks.

So far, all good and beautiful! The only problem is that in real life, this kind of construction takes years and involves areas that the human resources manager, towards whom the expectation of “doing something to motivate people” is directed, cannot touch directly because he does not have the necessary resources.

The obstacle to small plans
I’ve always envied start-ups for their opportunity to do this kind of organizational building right from day one. It’s just that we don’t live in a world exclusively of start-ups. What do we do if the organization is 10-15-20 years old in the market and has a legacy of people, procedures and habits that do not promote an inspirational culture, capable of motivating people to give their best? What do we do when we feel the need for a quick intervention to give back to people that sparkle in their eyes, that passion for the work they do, that confidence that together with their team they can achieve the proposed plans despite all the difficulties?

I think I have an answer and to formulate it I will use a quote, found earlier in a book. It’s a quote that remained deeply imprinted in my memory, because it turned out to be much deeper than I had perceived it the first time. It belongs to Daniel Burnham, the famous architect who rebuilt the city of Chicago from the ground up, after the great fire of 1871. He said this: “Don’t mess with small plans; they don’t have the magical power to make people’s blood boil.” And his vision was translated into a city that is still one of the most imposing and innovative urban centers in the world. What does Burnham’s quote teach us? If we were to paraphrase it on an organizational level, it would probably sound like this: “only an ambitious, revolutionary vision can bring passion and energy to the minds and actions of the people in the organization”.

And yes, I think nothing is truer than this statement. Just how many times does an organization have the opportunity to launch itself, to reinvent itself, to receive a CEO with a new vision, to experience a massive reorganization of the brand or operations, that kind of movement that instills energy and hope in people? Maybe once every 5 years… maybe 10. And then, what can we do to obtain the same mobilizing, inspirational effect, in the context in which we should reduce costs, grow organically by 5-7% or at least stay at the same market share?

A handy alternative, but less intuitive
The answer to the above questions can be surprising: offer your people the opportunity to achieve incredible things together in a team building. And I say “surprising” because I am referring here to a new philosophy of thinking and building a team building. This is not the place where we have fun and eat. It’s a total of two hours in which 100-200-1000 people work TOGETHER to achieve a totally and totally extraordinary goal.

I saw what it means to tell 200 people that in an hour and a half you will sing Carmina Burana with them on 7 instruments and voice. Everyone laughs and says it’s impossible. I then saw the emotion and tears in their eyes, the endless applause they offered each other at the end of a concert in which they were the only artists. The surprise of realizing that YES, you, together with your colleagues, can achieve absolutely unbelievable things, brings with it an energy and a confidence that you can hardly awaken simultaneously in such a large and diverse group. Many will tell you that it was one of the best things they did in their life and will talk about it for days on end.

I saw what it means for 100 people to work together for a whole day to build a 15m high replica of the famous Big Bang Tower only out of cardboard bricks. Starting from the impossibility of visualizing how it could look and ending up taking 10 steps back and saying “wow….how does it look!” Did we do this?”.

I saw what it means for 400 people to work for 3 hours to paint together a huge painting 15m long and 3m high, made up of 120 independent pieces that come together perfectly in the final moment. The feeling of fulfillment and belonging that you feel in such a moment is very difficult to describe in words.

The energy that is created in such a moment is unique, intense, and its concentration in such a short interval makes a team building event a memorable experience, whose motivational effects will be felt for a long time. When was the last time you had “goose bumps” thinking about the team and the company you belong to?

Article originally appeared in HR Manager Magazine.


Do you want a successful event for your company? Learn more about how we can help you >

HR Manager magazine: 5 technologies for the Upgrade of events in the company

27 Oct 2014

It often happens that we talk to clients who tell us: “We have been running this event for 12 years, we have done everything that could be done, we don’t know where to squeeze the next WOW idea from. Everything has turned into a mandatory, boring meeting, speech after speech, where employees come only because they have to and leave with nothing”.

In an environment where pressure on budgets means that every expense is carefully evaluated, there is a natural expectation that budgets for company events are all the more invested in high-energy concepts that keep employees engaged from morning to night, which it delivers the key messages and, more than that, helps to assume and internalize them. Now, we all know that digital will rewrite all the business models we know – we live, don’t we, in a world permanently connected to the Internet, in a world where Social Media has entered every aspect of our lives . The key question is “how can we use all these advantages, such as constant connectivity, real-time responses and gamification elements, to reinvent company events?”

The answer is one that could lead to whole hours of discussion, but because at Universum we are concerned with this very topic, we tried to describe some solutions that are already on the market and that can be implemented right from the start starting tomorrow.

GO Team treasurehunt application
It is an application for phones and tablets, based on GPS technology, which allows real-time interactivity anywhere in the world. It is suitable for outdoor teambuilding and conference animation. Capable of supporting any number of teams, GoTeam incorporates mini missions, which are activated as the team reaches the correct GPS coordinates. The statistics in real time, the possibility to communicate remotely with the facilitators and the rest of the teams are just some of the lovable features of the application. The missions can be thought of in a collaborative or, on the contrary, competitive philosophy, and the time pressure and the feeling of adrenaline will upgrade the classic version of treasure hunt.

The company logo made up of all the pictures of the employees
Excellent for the message – “Each of us is part of a unified whole”. The implementation is done as follows: a photo studio is placed in the central area of the event, the employees come and pose throughout the day (as they feel like and inspired), and at the end of the conference, with the help of a special software, an animated video is generated which goes through all the pictures, zooms out and generates the company logo from all the participants’ pictures.

Video mapping, movies, Prezi and Google Glass
There are two premises from which we start:

1) 80% of the speakers we see at events are not the best public speakers. They get on stage because they are very good at what they do, but that does not necessarily qualify them as good presenters.

2) the days when a PPT presentation was enough are over.

The dynamism and interactivity of presentations can have an explosive growth when a bunch of technologies are used (and I’m telling you this from experience). For example, Prezi ( is an alternative tool for building presentations, not at all complicated. And Google Glass has applications that can help you project notes directly on the lens. Then there are the video materials – today the accessibility of video processing solutions is fantastic and a film full of energy and emotion can be built, relatively easily, in 3-4 days. Video mapping is the last level, where practically every element of the event space becomes a living component of it. Each column, each table, the ceiling or the walls can become a support for a cramp from the story of the event.

Social Media Live Wall
In short, it is a way to aggregate and project all the Social Media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) related to the event in order to encourage the participants as much as possible to get involved in the conversations and debates. If we also add to the event a gamification mechanism to train the participants, fun and involvement will come naturally.

The technology exists, it’s just up to our creativity how to integrate it into the events we organize!

Article originally appeared in Hr Manager Magazine.

4. 5 ways to energize a conference_2


Do you want a successful event for your company? Learn more about how we can help you –>