This is the first post in a five-article series that will highlight some of the best practices in escape rooms and connect them to high-performance in the workplace. To read others, check back in the coming weeks, as these articles are posted.
Characteristic of high-performing teams: Shared Purpose
Escape room best practice: Take immediate action
In our Escape Manor for Business team-building sessions, a typical answer to the question "What is the first thing you should do when you enter the room?" is STRATEGIZE!
(insert obnoxious buzzer noise here)
Similar to many work teams, escape room teams often put strategy ahead of problem-finding. Our left-brain driven society so heavily emphasizes rational thought, organization and planning that it has become almost instinctual to respond to new projects in this way.
Don't get me wrong – analysis, planning and strategy play an important role in operational success. The problem is that many people prioritize this step too early in the process, at the risk of missing important information that is critical in building a good long-term strategy.
The first few minutes in any escape attempt should be devoted to problem finding – uncovering information and clues that will inform your strategy. It is both inefficient and unproductive to build a plan when you don't have a good understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. While this step should only last 2-5 minutes at the start of the escape attempt, it is critical.
Often, teams do not take the time or care to uncover all the relevant information available, and this oversight hinders their progress further into the escape.
Similarly, work teams sometimes jump right into the brainstorming and planning phase before first allowing each team member to fully understand the problem. By encouraging all team members to take the necessary time to interpret the problem from their own perspective, the approach to solving it is more balanced and complete.
Very few problems in today’s world are solved by a straightforward or simple solution. As teams deal with complex economic, political and demographic variables, it is important to take immediate action – individually or in small groups – to uncover the most important obstacles and the clues to overcoming them.
Taking action, in this sense, means doing research and trying to understand the problem. The SECOND step is to bring this information back to your teammates and, once all information has been shared, start developing a plan to solve the problem.
In my next post, I will explore the reasons why it is important to start this process of problem-finding individually or in small teams, rather than in a larger group.