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The Art of Team Building with a Twist


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When Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, founders of Painting with a Twist, added team-building sessions about two years ago, they envisioned a completely different offering than their consumer-oriented paint-and-sip classes.

“It’s not an office party,” Deano said, which is what a lot of people think is synonymous with team-building. The franchise’s classes where friends get together to sip wine while having an art lesson, however, is a party.

Employees today tend to “get stuck behind computers all day and don’t have that water-cooler atmosphere anymore,” she said, referring to the days when employees could meet up at the office watering hole to socialize.

While team-building classes has been in the works for awhile, Deano said they’ve now developed a system which all franchisees can seamlessly roll out in their locations. The chain has about 180 locations opened with an additional 73 in the pipeline.

Team-building exercises include painting murals mosaic style, where each employee has a small canvas that contributes to the larger finished piece. Putting together a mosaic builds trust, Deano said, because each individual's painting has to fit into the larger picture.  It also encourages teamwork,  because images that don't line up may have to be repainted.

Once the finished piece is hung, team members get to relive the experience and remember the fun they had producing it. “People like this,” she said, “they won’t take a vacation day to avoid” this team-building exercise.

The Mandeville, Louisiana-based franchise has offered team-building at Title Boxing Club’s annual convention and for a mommy-blogger conference—which was especially lucrative because after taking the class, the mommies blogged about it. The price is about the same as taking a class, $35 per person.

Most companies are looking to meld existing team members, but Deano said they did have a pharmaceutical sales company use the classes as a modern twist on the Rorschach inkblot personality test. If prospective candidates got drunk during the exercise, or displayed any anti-social behavior, they could take their part of the mosaic and go home. Party over.

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
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Mary Jo LarsonLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
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