A Fortune 500 company’s Finance and Investment department needed a teambuilding session for its entire Legal Team that would promote collaboration and networking while fostering open communication between lawyers.
The activity developed for this scenario was a version of “Bridges to the Future”. The legal department was charged with carrying out what at first appeared to be an impossible task; build a large bridge out of cardboard and duct tape strong enough to support a manned golf cart driven across it! Followed by an energizing process debrief, participants identified each of the specific highlighted attributes which were so vividly demonstrated pertaining to full dedication to the firm. Individuals verbalized specific personal lessons and changes in behavior necessary to allow movement on the new legal team initiative.
The legal department was broken up into 8 separate sub-teams. Six of the groups were charged with constructing four-foot mid-sections of the bridge. Two other groups were charged with building eight-foot ramps which would be the entrance and exit ramps of the bridge. Each team was also required to create street signs and guard rails for each section. In addition, visual enhancements were created, which represented the firms’ mission and vision statements, supporting the executive goal of interacting as “One Firm”. The team decided that the visual messages should highlight the past, present, and future of the firm in an effort to drive home the message of cross-collaborative sharing.
As per the program design, team leaders were chosen by each group and several meetings occurred in an effort to cross-share valuable information about design ideas – guaranteeing structural integrity. Toward the latter stages of the event, groups were also allowed to share materials and even human resources. Teams grasped quickly that even if their section was error-free, a single poorly built section would mean that the entire project was doomed.
Towards the end of the activity, all the groups came together with their sections and quickly assembled the entire bridge. It was an exciting but anxious time, with different groups helping to attach all other sections. There were times during the final 20 minutes that you could not tell which people were responsible for which group – everyone accepting responsibility for the success or failure of the project!
The bridge itself was quite impressive. Forty feet in length and filled with colorful street signs and encouraging messages and goal setting. Everyone held their breath as the golf cart started over the bridge and they cheered exuberantly as the cart made it all the way over. Team pictures were then taken with the entire group standing on the bridge!