Building Bridges in Business

I’m fascinated by bridges—the stomach-lurching thrill of peering over their edges, their graceful and majestic defiance of gravity, their ability to give us a view that nature never intended. I am inspired by the human spirit and the imagination that looks across an expanse of ocean or a wide crack in the earth to the land beyond and not only dreams of getting there, but figures out how to do it.

The phrase “building a bridge” is used a lot in business settings, and it’s an apt metaphor. Bridges are about getting from one place to another, overcoming obstacles, and making connections. I’ve often been part of meetings with someone where initially, the gulf between us seems as wide as the Golden Gate Strait. But as our conversation continues and we begin to see each other’s points of view, either I build a bridge to him, he builds one to me, or we meet somewhere in the middle. Certainly, building a metaphorical bridge in a meeting isn’t as incredible an achievement as building a bridge like the Capilano Suspension Bridge in British Columbia that would make Indiana Jones nervous, but it still takes a bit of imagination and spirit, and I’m inspired by the connections I’ve made that at first, seemed impossible.

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