Client Bonding Sessions

>> Friday, September 25, 2009

Remember the days when we regularly did "bonding sessions" with our clients? With budgets and timelines so tight, I'm afraid that for the most part those days are behind us. Bummer.

I remember when I worked at Johnson & Johnson, we often did team building sessions where we would do trust falls and climb rock walls together. It really did give us a chance to get to know each other, way beyond what could ever happen in a conference room or at a bar.

One of our client teams decided to bring back the "bonding session", with great success. Will Metzger, one of our account directors, recounts the experience here.

They float through the air, with the greatest of ease.....

Hope this finds you well -- Jim

How'd it go, Will?

From FUD to FLY

Everyone who takes in the view of the west side of Manhattan from our offices on the west side of the building remarks upon the expansive view of the Hudson River, from the Statue of Liberty to the George Washington Bridge. It truly is an incredible, even inspiring sight. But after a few moments of taking it in, most people comment on what they see a block due west, thirteen floors below: It's a trapeze rig run by the New York Trapeze School.

And while the view is universally inspiring, when it comes to the trapeze rig, people very quickly bifurcate into either "that's crazy," or "I'd really like to try that."

A few months ago a client in our office clearly indicated she was in the latter camp. So this week, after a full day of meetings about how we can help our client lead a new branding initiative, a group of 10, some clients, some agency folk, headed over to the rig.

As we changed into appropriate tight-fitting trapeze gear and approached the rig, the 40-foot ladder up to the board you jump off of looked imposing. Though the net below provides some measure of comfort, it is still high up there. While still on the ground, our instructors described the sequence of 8 steps: Place your feet shoulder width at the edge of the board; hold the rope behind you with your left hand; grab the trapeze bar with your right hand; thrust your hips out; grab the bar with your left hand; hold the bar at eye level; bend your knees when the instructor says "ready," jump with both feet at "Hep!" And they all have to be done in under 2 seconds.

It's at this point that the "FUD" factor sets in.


Racing through your head are the sequenced steps, and you wonder if you will remember them, if you can climb that ladder, if you can really jump, if you'll hurt yourself...or embarrass yourself.

Then you climb the ladder and curl your toes over the edge of the board. Not a single one of us, on hearing that "Hep!" jumped with confidence. We all felt a measure of "FUD." Some more than others. Some didn't jump on the first "Hep!" But every one of us did jump, did take that leap, did go from FUD to FLY. And I find that remarkable. That whatever FUD we felt, we did leap into thin air, took a chance, did something new. (Link to pictures?)

It is a testament to the human spirit. And really put in sharp relief the issues we'd been discussing earlier in the day about the new branding initiative we are helping our client introduce into their organization. It will be asking that company to do something differently, to take a leap. It made us aware that change is difficult and that as we roll out this program, we need to be aware of it, acknowledge it, and help them to work through the FUD...and FLY.

- Will Metzger, Account Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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