Hungarian Difference

We were with Lynx Analytics yesterday for their DISC training and team building. The opted for an outdoor team challenge (with an indoor backup programme) in view of the recent rainy weather.

They were also happy to work with our long time venue partner in Sentosa, which offers some of the best meeting facilities and delicious food on the island.

The group left an impression on us as it was our first time in 11years working with a Hungarian company. We had no idea what the participants will be like, except that we were not familiar with how to pronounce some of the names.

Turned out this group was a really fun bunch, they were interactive during the DISC training where we shared with them insights on different DISC personality profiles, their preferences and dominant fears, how to communicate with people of different personalities and also how we can introduce change or be more adaptable to change.

They impressed us as being determined, fun loving, hungry for knowledge and open in their communication. They are somewhat competitive yet they seemed to know that it was a day for them to relax and make connections with their colleagues based in different countries, so they were a little laid back an focused on chatting with one another and enjoy the very nice all day coffee included in the seminar package.

The morning session passed by quickly as we finished up by showing the participants what was everyone’s DISC profile and declared that it was time for lunch. As most of the participants left the room and proceeded to the buffet spread, a group of participants remained – a mix of junior and senior staff – and they were scrutinising the slide to see what profiles their colleagues were and how it related to their behaviour at work. This showed us that they were serious in wanting to better understand their co-workers. They only left for lunch after I assured them that that particular slide will be made available to them after the event, together with the photographs that were taken.

As lunch came and went, it was evident that the weather is going to hold up and we will be able to let the participants explore the famous island of Sentosa through a team building race, one that we have run a minimum of 500 sessions in the past 11years. After all, all the checkpoints during the race is sheltered and participants can take the bus, Sentosa Express (a mono rail train) or hitch a ride from strangers if they do not wish to travel on foot.

The locations that we have picked for this group was nearer to one another, however, their route was longer because of the distance of their start and end point. Some of the teams actually ran and walk to most of their checkpoints to save time. They were also constantly verbally encouraging one another during the race to keep their spirits up.

One of the paticipant, Miklos, told us that Hungarian has a very unique culture as they were very isolated for a long time (from the rest of the world), he also mentioned that Hungary has a very unique language that is not similar from other languages. Further research revealed that their language is only related to Finnish and Estonian, both of which are foreign to us.

These are some interesting facts we found out about Hungary from the participants and also from googling:

1. There has been 13 Hungarian born scientists awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, making it the country with the most winners per captia
2. It is a small country with only 10mil population (about twice of our tiny Singapore)
3. It formed part of the Celtic world (Roman Empire) and was founded in 897, before France and Germany were separated
4. It was a communist nation from 1956-1989
5. They invented the Rubik’s cube!
6. Literacy rate is 99%
7. It’s capital is Budapest and the country attracted more than 10.2mil visitors in 2010, which is more than the population of the entire country, so chances are that in Budapest, there are more tourist than locals on the average!

Novotel Bongol an ideal team building venue in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This is our second trip to Jakarta, Indonesia. This time, our team of 6 flew up for an American Bank who wanted to bring home the importance of adapting to change and being a change agent within their organisation.

They initially asked us for recommendations, however, we have only been to Jakarta once before and that time, we did our training at Manulife’s training room in their office. So we had non to offer.

They eventually decided on Novotel Bongol Golf Resort as their teambuilding venue after some recommendations by locals. We were optimistic about the resort when we saw the map of the resort online, even though we did not know how open they were to having external trainers run programmes at their resort.

After some research, we learnt that Novotel Bongol Golf Resort is a popular destination for many Indonesians, especially during the weekend. It takes about 90 minutes to get from the Jakarta airport to the resort with clear traffic.

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It took us about 2hours to get to the resort from the airport. The hotel staff are well trained, friendly and helpful. The hotel is tastefully decorated, with Chinese and Indonesian influence. The bedrooms are not large by Indonesian (or Malaysian) standards but they are adequately sized and comfortable with standing shower in our twin-sharing bedroom.

Interesting sculptures can be found around the hotel grounds. There are lots of greenery and open spaces around with adequately equipped seminar rooms and ballroom to support trainings and meetings.

Food an beverage in the hotel is reasonably priced by Singapore’s standard, a buffet dinner cost only Rp215,000++ per person. The quality of food was great and the selection was pretty wide, with a good mix of local and regional delicacies.

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We also checked out the bar, which serves a good mix of mock-tails and cocktails. Food preparation time was a little tardy as we had to wait more than 30mins for an order of 3 mini tapas with a basket of truffet fries (as with many hotels in Indonesia and Malaysia) so we can’t really complain. Drinks are reasonably priced at about Rp45,000 for mock-tails and Rp90,000 for alcoholic cocktails the drinks were served in pretty big jugs too.

While planning for the training, we realised that the staff are professional and accommodating to our requests and despite the rain, there are sufficient pockets of spaces for us to carry out wet weather activities.

We will highly recommend this venue to our other clients who are considering Jakarta as their next meeting venue.

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Xiamen – a tourist city in China

Popular for it’s attractive seascape, Xiamen China is an easily accessible destination via air, train coach or sea, depending on the source of your travels. Our team had the opportunity to travel up in January this year to Xiamen, and was put up at a beautiful hotel –  Hotel Nikko Xiamen, and we’d like to share our experience with you!

Touching down at Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, we were greeted with a clean & efficient airport system. Our hotel guide stood ready to welcome us once we’re out of the arrival hall and ushered us, together with the massive amount of logistics, to our waiting van. As it’s near the coastal area, Xiamen is pleasantly sunny even during the tail-end of the winter season. . As our crew was travelling from wintery Hong Kong to Xiamen, we were expecting the weather to be in a cool 10-15 degrees, however we were warmly surprised when the weather was nice and warm at about 25 degrees! We discarded our thick jackets in no time.

We travelled from the airport to Hotel Nikko, and took in the sights of well developed streets & infrastructure. Hotel Nikko, a 5-star hotel in Xiamen has an inviting entrance with a water feature at it’s porch. Marble flooring & sculptural art are seen around the hotel, giving it a posh feeling. Built in 2011, the hotel and its amenities were fairly new when we visited. I personally like the layout of the room, esp the spaciousness of it. The bedroom and toilet area was comparable in size, and if we’re sharing a room with another person, that gives each person plenty of space.

The team building session was held for a group of 300+pax group, and the hotel had a large ballroom which fit everyone, and we could even segregate the room into 3 different parts for our program.

Though we were there for a project, we had time to go for a team lunch & a mini walkabout to a nearby shopping district. One thing to note when ordering food, that the portions are large, and if you’re not a big eater, sharing is recommended. Their staples were served in large plates and even the burly guys within our team couldn’t finish them. Once the project was over, we headed to the shopping centre in cabs, and their cab fares are relatively inexpensive, a 15min trip costs only about SGD2. Xiamen should be better known for GuLangYu, renowned for its delicate natural beauty, ancient relics and varied architecture, as the mall was relatively quiet, even on a weekend.

Though our time was short in Xiamen, we enjoyed her sights, hospitality and food! Till our next visit!