Idea Champions corporate cretivity
Face the Music Case Studies

Aventis Industrial Operations
Coral Gables, Florida
200 participants from around the world (70% international) took part in a Face The Music interactive blues event at the legendary Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL. As a key part of their three-day conference, Aventis used FTMas an energizer, networking super-accelerator, and process to help identify and address important business issues. "Face The Music did a great job," explained the Director of Product Operations. "Our group had an extraordinary experience together, In our first worldwide meeting since the merger, it gave people a chance to collaborate creatively and see what experiences and feelings we have in common. It also helped us learn how others approach things differently." And the meeting planner concurred, "Everyone left in high spirits. FTM visibly changed the tone of our meeting the next day and we kept the feeling going by playing the FTM CD to start and end each session."

Baden-Baden, Germany
How do 80 leaders from two newly merged pharmaceutical companies (Hoechst Marion Roussel and Rhône-Poulenc) create the context needed to address the organizational challenges sparked by two companies joining forces? Face the Music, that's how. FTM's two and a half hour interactive blues intervention was considered by many attendees to be the high point of Aventis' two day Worldwide Management Conference in January, 1999. "Excellent, just what we needed and more than we expected," reported one top manager. "At first I thought it was going to be a waste of time," explained another, "but after a few minutes I saw how powerful an intervention it was." The results? Aventis' leaders got an all too rare opportunity to build trust and teamwork while also airing out the blues inducing issues that often accompany big mergers. But even more than that, participants got a chance the next day to "go beyond the blues." Together, in small groups (in sessions led by Face the Music facilitators) Aventis' leaders put their heads together to resolve many of the challenges confronting the organization.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
On May 4-5, 2000, 50 members of Panasonic's Battery Sales Division-- along with a selection of their business partners-- participated in an evening of Face the Music with great gusto and enthusiasm. Positioned on the second night of a three-day conference, the FTM session was followed the next day with a hands on, Beyond the Blues work session. During this time, participants-- using the business blues topics they wrote and sang about just the night before as catalysts-- worked in small groups to brainstorm and action plan new ways of resolving their various forms of the business blues. "Great concept!" said one participant. "Makes dealing with the blues of business FUN!" At the close of the session, action teams were formed around specific initiatives selected to significantly impact the groups' goals for the year.

GE Corporate Leadership Development
Crotonville, NY
A group of 65 fast track GE leaders from 11 different countries — attending a residential, three-week management development program - participated in an interactive FTM session in which they wrote and performed blues songs about their work life. Our intervention — which included the full complement of our 6-piece band — was positioned as an energizing session in the middle of a rigorous three-week learning intensive. Having had their fill of karaoke, field trips to NYC and other more conventional evening pursuits, the GE group was ready for something different. And something different is what they got — especially when you consider that almost all of the performing groups that night was an international mix. If you've never seen people from Germany, Japan, Egypt, Italy and Malaysia collaborating on the writing and singing of original blues songs, you'll just have to take our word. "I didn't think it could be done," exclaimed one astounded participant. "You turned a room full of analytic executives into raving blues singers for a night."

Con Edison (Business Academy)
Briarcliff Manor, NY
The "Blue Note." That's what our Con Ed client renamed their meeting room on the night that FTM's mini-band (3 pieces) performed and facilitated an interactive business blues session for 24 managers attending a two-week residential Business Academy training. One thing we found especially intriguing about the night was that our client made some serious effort to transform their meeting room into a blues club for the night, complete with "bouncer," guest list, mood lighting and sunglasses and blues hats for all. Said Lue Calandra, coordinator of Con Ed's Business Academy: "Face the Music provided an extraordinary opportunity for our group to bond, let down their defenses, take much needed risks, and begin to deal with some of the tough issues we're facing in our organization."

GE Industrial Systems
Phoenix, Arizona
It is not uncommon for business conferences to experience noticeable"dips" in energy — especially when long segments are devoted to less-than-engaging "presentations" by employees who are not professional presenters. This was the challenge GE Industrial Systems was facing at their Leadership 2000 Conference. Committed to an afternoon in which 10 of their Six Sigma teams would be making presentations to 400 of their peers, conference planners knew they needed to do something different in order to keep everyone's attention. That's when they contacted Face the Music and asked us to write and perform eight original blues songs about GE's Six Sigma program. And so, every 25 minutes throughout the afternoon, we would play another parody, GE blues song — with lyrics projected on a big screen for all to read. Not only did the FTM "Greek Chorus" keep everyone's energy up, it also added some much needed levity to the event. Confessed one participant, "I scheduled two meetings for the afternoon knowing I couldn't sit through all ten presentations, but I ended up staying for the whole thing so I'd be sure to hear the next song."

Ernst & Young
Short Hills, NJ
Yes, accountants, too, get the blues. As do tax auditors, systems analysts and administrative assistants. At least that's what we learned from the 45 people from Ernst & Young's Technical Services Group on April 18, 2000. Like many of FTM's other clients, E&Y was looking for a unique way to add life to their three day off-site — something they could do after dinner that would address business issues in a fun way. Mission accomplished. "This was unbelievable," declared one participant. "Even the skeptics were up there singing away." Group after group responded enthusiastically to the challenge with high-spirited songs about the transformation process, red tape, and client frustrations. And although WE thought the event was over at 10:00 PM, participants did not. Inspired by the cathartic, team building process they had just been through, they kidnapped our keyboard player and continued for another 45 minutes with a spontaneous singalong of classic pop songs in the lobby. Expressed another participant, "We were all energized from Face the Music at our meetings the next day."

ADP (Automated Data Processing)
Newark, NJ
Some of our potential clients are concerned that an FTM program is going to be "negative" or will devolve into some kind of "bitch and moan" session. While we understand this concern, allow us to dispel it immediately. And if you don't believe us, you can ask the folks at Automated Data Processing. They brought us in to add value to their Executive in Training graduation day — a day in which 19 ADP fast trackers were going to complete a yearlong program on leadership. Our task was to provide an upbeat opportunity for graduates to get closure on the year as well as a chance to address some of the organizational challenges ahead of them. But our challenge didn't end there. Our (very risk taking, passionate drummer) asked us if he could sit in with the band for our entire two and a half-hour performance. After a brief phone audition, Tony was in. Bottom line, he was great. And the rest of the group was amazed to see their fearless leader not just walking the talk, but drumming it as well. Exclaimed Jill Altana, VP of Human Resources, "This was the best day I've had at ADP in 15 years." (PS: We've been invited back for a two-day session with another ADP group in October)

FIS (Food Ingredients Specialties)
Lakeville, CT
The FIS international leadership team and their division leaders, about 40 people in all, brought Face the Music in to add some zest to an afternoon session of a four-day annual meeting. Not only did participants identify, write and sing their corporate blues, they also commissioned us to produce a live CD of the 12 songs they wrote and performed. Now, each participant can proudly say to friends, family and clients that they are "recording artists." They have proof — their very own (professionally recorded and edited) copies of the original business blues songs created that fateful day. In addition, FTM also supplied the client with a rough-cut of the video for later viewing. Said Thomas Hawley, Director of Human Resources, "Your high energy Face the Music program was just the thing we needed. It provided the opportunity for teamwork, venting, and a lot of fun. We got everything we wanted and more."

Innovation Network
San Diego, CA
OK. How do you jump-start a three-day conference of 250 people from a wide array of corporations and consulting practices — most of whom have never met before? A motivational key note speaker? Nope. An "experiential team building challenge?" Been there, done that. Nope. Our client, The Innovation Network, wanted something different. Something that would energize, spark networking, and set a positive tone for the rest of their conference. Enter Face the Music and its well crafted process for getting the "musically challenged" to accomplish the seemingly impossible — writing and singing an original blues songs (in small groups) before a roomful of strangers. "The highlight of the conference," exclaimed one blues convert. But wait, there's more! When the blues session was over, at the client's request, FTM morphed into a dance band and rocked the night away. [Read More]

Albany Health Associates
Chatham, NY
Is FTM always a six piece band? No. Especially when the groups we're working with are not much bigger than the band OR when the client has serious budgetary constraints. For both of these reasons, FTM sent it's "one man band" to Albany Health Care Associates, a local organization that asked us to add an element of team building and enjoyment to one of their office parties. Eight of them. One of us. And it worked. Participants told us the benefits they experienced included: release of frustration, a chance to express what was really going on in their work lives, team development and just plain fun. It also provided a safe forum for participants to take more risks with each other. As one Health Care worker explained, "It led the way out of Funkville."

The River Network
Minneapolis, MN
No. Face the Music doesn't only perform for Fortune 500 companies. From time to time, we also work with small organizations, some of which are non-profits. The River Network, based in Minneapolis, was one such event. Our client was looking for a unique way to kick off their first annual conference — one that would bring together 80 people from three merged river and watershed protection groups. Which is exactly what we did. Said Elizabeth Raisbeck, Program Manager, "Face the Music got participants wide open for the conference and helped us go to big places together. We bonded, shared our issues and our blues. The best was brought out in everyone and we also had a great time."

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