Building a bridge

Bridge building has been a skill and process that has made a difference in the success or failure of civilizations throughout history.  I often think of the movie “Saving Private Ryan” when the final battle takes place and the soldiers involved are not only involved in trying to save the last Ryan son, but also how Private Ryan is focused and committed to saving that last bridge, his primary objective as a soldier in our armed forces.

Each of us also is in the business of bridge building.  We build bridges in the ways shown below:

  • making friends
  • developing romantic relationships
  • finding a job
  • developing a business
  • building alliances

Building bridges is not only a wonderful and valuable experience for those in the civil infrastructure world.  It is also a critical investment of time and resources for each on of us as human beings.

What are some of the core pieces of bridge building?  Here are a few I can think of this morning:

  • determining the need for the bridge
  • who else is a stakeholder in the completion of the bridge
  • what timeframe is set aside for the connection
  • how will the bridge be maintained
  • is this a short-term bridge or a perpetual need

Answering each of the questions above will help greatly in determining the focus and allocation of resources to the bridge building process.  Designing the bridge and setting up the foundation is one of the first steps when you begin building your bridge.  Without a proper foundation and solid design, your bridge might waver or fail when the winds of adversity or overuse take place.

In a like manner, having a process for construction is also a key factor.  Taking shortcuts in building your bridge will certainly ruin or shorten the long-term viability of the connection made.

Maintenance is also a key.  Many times we see bridges that are built that are not properly maintained.  When this occurs there are often catastrophes that occur and damage is incurred.  Relationships can be damaged, or even destroyed, when bridges that are built are not properly maintained.

Firm foundation, solid process and proper maintenance; these three items will keep any bridge you build in good repair.

Go forth and build!

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