9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
We haven’t built a beautiful suspension bridge in America in many decades now. However during the height of the bridge building boom many such bridges were built with pride. Giant cables hold up these magnificent suspension bridges. Take the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco for example. The cables that hold these bridges together look like one large cable, but upon closer inspection they are not really a single cable. In fact it is a group of smaller cables wound together that make up each larger cable. Why? Well it’s like the passage from Ecclesiastes that states, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Of the two bridges mentioned earlier the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. When constructed it had the longest main span, 4260 feet in the world. The two towers are 693 feet high and the truss is 24 feet deep. The bridge holds up to 120,000 tons plus vehicle traffic weighing 15,600 tons each day. Four main cables hold the bridge together; each cable weighs 39,000 tons, bringing the total weigh to 174,600 tons. Where does this bridge gather its strength? The strength comes from the smaller cables wrapped together to form a team of larger cables.
I have not seen this first hand but at the south end of the Gold Gate Bridge you can get a glimpse of what’s inside each of the large cables that holds this 1937 creation together. Here are just a few facts about the cables: The length of one main cable is 7680 feet. The diameter of one main cable (with the wrapping) is 36 3/8 inches. The total length of wire used in each of the main cables is 80,000 miles long. The number of wires in each cable is 27,572 and there are 61 strands in each cable. Finally the weight of the main cables, suspender cables, and accessories are 24,500 tons or 49,000,000 pounds.
The simple point is that Suspension bridges work better that most bridges because they are held together with many strands or a team of strands. When teams come together they become more creative, effective and productive. Unified teams can accomplish any task or over come any opportunity that they may face.
What will it take to get your team working and pulling together to complete the task in from of them?
What is the primary purpose of your team structure? How is it designed to process and move people toward a common objective?