In 2001 I was tasked to dream up a team builder for a regional conference of our employees. I had already branded the conference “Reach for the Stars” in anticipation of our message of charging the troops towards challenging business objectives. A committee had put together a quality agenda of speakers, industry insiders, and entertainment. The team builder had to match our theme and communicate lessons of teamwork and collaboration.
I came up with “Star Wars Team Time,” not to be affiliated with George Lucas but we certainly used elements of his original film. The concept was simple; employees were randomly divided into teams with the objective of constructing a space craft. They were given no rules yet clues. Regional managers played characters from the movies that oversaw the game’s progress. The teams had specific times over the course of three days to complete the task. The only items given to them were boxes containing sections and space ships and various quantities of money.
What a hoot! Our regional VP played Obi-Wan Kenobi. Our operations leader was Darth Vader. A talkative sales manager played C3PO. All I did was sit back and watch the chaos. At the end of this thing, each group realized that teamwork across the board was the only way to accomplish the objective and eventually competitive tendencies were laid aside, ideas were shared, and each team began working together.
This is how I ended up with a Lego Star Wars ship in my office. I kept it as a reminder of our accomplishment. One year after the conference, our region was named Region of the Year by our SVP and we were hitting our stride. The Lego craft was proudly displayed in my office and Hale liked playing with it when she would come for a visit now and again.
So here we are. A new ship. A new year. I know we’ll have a new job, a new home…
…a new start to Reach for the Stars one more time. Thanks Hale.
Happy New Year everyone!
PS: Thought I would share a link to a post written by the drummer of my favorite band. Whether you’re a Rush fan or not you might appreciate the writing – At the Gate of the Year…