Successful Strategic Planning is Dreaming Big & Planning Even Harder


Thinking outside the box sometimes means dreaming up something so big that it can’t possibly be done. Reaching for that unattainable goal will help you realize precisely how high you can go and you should always be stretching yourself as far as you possibly can.

Our next world record breaking team building exercise attempt was going to be even bigger and better than anything we’d done ever before. We wanted to put on something patriotic as the client we were working with had just been voted one of the top 5 companies for hiring military spouses and returning military soldiers.

The original pitch was that we try to break 5 Guinness World Records in 90 minutes. Attempting the largest American flag made entirely of bath towels, the world’s longest towel chain, the longest high five chain, the most postcards being sent to active military soldiers around the world and the most people carrying water on top of their heads. The logistics for pulling this off, however, were absolutely mind-blowing and so we instead settled to focus on just 3 record attempts. A 26,389,00 square foot American Flag, the longest human towel chain using 1,113 participants and finally the longest high five chain using the same participants, all of which had to be completed in under 90 minutes.

We worked with our in-house designer to prepare a floor plan for how much space we would need to create the flag and had the Guinness team agree that 75% of the flag could be completed before the attempt officially began as long as it was all done by the attendees themselves. For the flag and towel chain combined we were going to need 4,800 towels in total and that’s not even counting the specially designed ones we would need for the stars of the flag.

With everything else in place, all we needed to do now was triple check and lock in our arrangements. We knew we were going to need a platform stage to level out the ground on which we would construct the flag, we also were going to need a 45-foot basket lift crane to give us enough height to film the record attempts as they were being completed. We costed this all up with the obvious such as sound, video and the travel costs.

The budget was agreed with the client and they set about finding a vendor sponsor for the towels we were going to use. Standard Textiles took on the herculean task of making sure we had color compatible towels in the same sizes and quantities that we needed, as well as the custom-made star towels. We would never have been able to achieve our goal if it wasn’t for their involvement, they absolutely smashed it.

As we did with the mattresses at our last event, we didn’t want these towels to go to waste after we had finished with them and decided to partner up with The Fisher House which is a halfway house for returning military soldiers and their families. This charity was in complete keeping with the entire reason we were putting this all together and so it seemed absolutely right to donate the towels to them.

When it comes to successfully & strategically planning out on something as adventurous and large scale like this you must list every challenge and every possible hurdle or problem that may arise. From there you can then start thinking about the fixes and workarounds. When it comes to time limits or space limitations, hard numbers can seem so final, however, with a little creativity and belief, you can always find a solution. Also find those that can lift you a little further up the ladder than you possibly could get on your own, without Standard Textiles we wouldn’t have been able to break those records and create such an unforgettable experience for all involved. We only found them by asking for help. It’s amazing what a simple conversation can achieve.

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