Extraordinary teams that came together to achieve what seemed impossible at first.
Last week, a2z team members gathered in Columbia, MD for a week of play and learning. The theme of the week was team work, and all of us participated in a number of group activities that reinforced the message of the proverb – “The sum is greater than the parts”. Though strong supporters of individuality, we are also cognizant of what can be achieved by individuals working together as a team.
Three stories that I came across recently illustrate this idea beautifully.
2012 is the birth centenary of Alan Turing. During World War II, Turing’s team devised a number of techniques for decrypting Germany’s encoded radio messages. Decryption of the Enigma Cipher, in particular, allowed the Allies to interpret critical parts of German radio messages and formulate their strategy based on that. It’s worth noting that Turing’s team improved the algorithm and techniques that were first devised in Poland to break the Enigma Cipher.
Easter Island Moai
For centuries, anthropologists have wondered how the natives of Easter Island managed to transport gigantic rock statues across the island without using wheels or animals. Recently, a team led by Terry Hunt, an archeologist at the University of Hawaii, and Carl P. Lip, an anthropologist at California State University Long Beach solved the mystery. In a recorded demonstration, they showed how a group of just 18 people, working together, easily maneuvered a ten-foot, five-ton moai replica a few hundred yards using just three strong ropes.
Curiosity Mars Rover
On August 6, NASA’s 1-ton rover – Curiosity – landed on the surface of the planet Mars. Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as the two previous Mars rovers. And yet, the landing was more accurate than any of the previous ones. This rover is a laboratory on wheels, and the equipment on board has been built and contributed by a number of teams across the globe. From conception to execution, the Mars Space Laboratory mission is a story of successful cross-functional team work.
All three of the examples above illustrate how teams working together achieved what no single individual could have. In the trade show industry, this fact is self-evident. It is no mean achievement to bring thousands of attendees and exhibitors together year after year. The success stories that are created in the process can almost always be attributed to successful team work.
If you’d like to share how your team overcame an impossible looking challenge or target, we’d love to hear and share your story.
And check out pics from the a2z Week on our Facebook page. 🙂