Team looking at a computer

Last fall, investment-banking powerhouse Goldman Sachs took team building to a different stratosphere. Their inaugural Midnight Madness Scavenger Hunt Team Building Activity gave 180 of the brightest minds in finance a new way to work together.

Teams assembled at 8pm at a dock along the East River in Manhattan in what would be the start of a 15-hour, overnight event that tested what teams are truly capable of doing—at a cost around $270,000 (though it raised over $1.4 million for charity)!

Goldman recognizes the importance of maximizing team performance…and in providing out-of-the-box ways to stimulate employees to innovate, work together and communicate. Today, I want to break down the challenges to truly get at the roots of what each could bring to a team.

Challenges that Build

Each challenge revealed the clue for the next challenge and it got progressively more difficult as the teams went on. There were upwards of 18 different challenges teams faced throughout the night, and this idea of progressive learning is key.

  • This mirrors real-world issues, where teams build on what they’ve learned previously.
  • This format also provides a way for employees to view team development as an ongoing process, not a one-and-done event.

An In-Depth Look at Team Building Challenges

Although the teams completed more than a dozen challenges, I want to focus on one…and particularly on the insights that one team had as they worked through it.

For this particular challenge, teams received a kit of tools: A circuit board, a piece of thermal-reactive paper, 8 wires and a list of 8 businesses that call Lower Manhattan home.

That’s it…Each team of ten had this simple tool kit to find out where the next clue was located.

(Quick Digression: To those with a preference…is your Analytical brain already churning? Solutions?)

For certain teams—this challenge was especially difficult. One, Black Gold (quantitative-based oil traders), said the following:

“Sometimes, one of the things that may have set Black Gold back is that we were overthinking. Because we had so many quantitative minds together, we lost sight of the big picture.

Black Gold was full of brilliant people, but they all thought the same—there was likely Analytical thinking in full force and probably a fair amount of Structural thinking, but based on the quote, they likely didn’t have any Conceptual preferences on the team.
They had three pieces of information at their disposal—with such limited resources, you need big picture thinkers to start and find a wide variety of different approaches to the problem. They were missing a vital part of the brain for situations like these and struggled to begin the challenge.

Your Own Thinking and Behavioral Preferences

How would you go about it? What are your thinking preferences?

If you know your Emergenetics Profile, think about your strengths as well as what you may not typically consider. If you don’t have a Profile, click here to get a sense of what Emergenetics is all about and what kind of thinker you may be.

How would your behavioral attributes have shown up? What if the team had several people on the quiet end of the Expressiveness spectrum—were their opinions even heard?

Print This Post Print This Post