Published date: 13 Apr 2018
Imagine being locked in a mysterious room with a group of people and the only way out is to work together to solve a series of cryptic clues...
Add in the additional pressure of a ticking clock counting down every second of your 60 minute deadline. Then imagine doing this not because you’ve been kidnapped by a Jigsaw-like maniac, but for fun. Welcome to the immersive world of ‘escape games’. Escape games have become increasingly popular over the last few years with different themed experiences popping up all over the world. We wanted to see what the fuss was about. With that in mind, last week, the Purple B2B Client Services team embarked on a top-secret assignment to investigate a spy’s flat and find a hidden murder weapon…
Our mission was to gather the clues to unlock a series of puzzles and escape before a group of armed men burst in. With two out of every three groups failing to find the murder weapon before the hour was up, the odds were against us. But there’s nothing Team B2B like more than a challenge, and we escaped with just under five minutes to spare. So how did we do it? Here’s how an evening of fun opened my eyes to what makes our team successful:
You can’t talk about teamwork without rolling out a few clichés, but there really is no I in TEAM. The key to our escape was to pull together. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; the trick is to recognise them and approach the problem to get the best out of everyone. Play to everyone’s individual strengths and don’t try to be the hero. Each of us brings our own unique way of looking at things, so don’t be afraid to ask someone else what they think. After 10 minutes of two of us scratching our heads over one puzzle, another team member cracked it within a minute.
Communication is key
Effective communication is vital to the success of any team and was the secret ingredient in our successful escape. When you find a clue or have an idea, let your teammates know as soon as possible – someone else may be able to provide the missing link. Remember to include off-site colleagues too – our team was split across two rooms and two-way communication was crucial, as the solution to one riddle could often be found in the other room. By constantly sharing intelligence, we figured out that the date on a coin found in one room was the combination to a lock in the other room. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas, no matter how silly they may seem – thinking ‘outside the box’ could open a world of new opportunity (or a hidden door…).
Share the load
Before you start any project, take stock of the situation with a briefing and split responsibilities to ensure that no stone is left unturned. Give everyone the opportunity to shine by spreading out and tackling different elements of the challenge. At one point we had one team member solving a word puzzle, two cracking an enigma code and another searching for a hidden number. In a pressured situation, people will naturally fall into the roles that suit them best. Each role plays an equally important part in achieving your shared objective (in this case, escaping) – the ‘leader’ who guides the team, the ‘creative director’ who offers new ideas, the ‘cheerleader’ whose positivity keeps morale up and the ‘organiser’ who keeps progress on track. By recognising the team members’ individual strengths, everyone has a chance to participate and share in the win.
Remember to have fun
Working under pressure can be a challenge and it’s easy to get stressed, particularly when there’s a red flashing countdown in the corner of the room. But it was in this pressured environment that our team really thrived, relying on each other and noticing skills in each other that we hadn’t seen before. We laughed, built memorable shared experiences and left with a renewed sense of achievement. What’s not to love about your fellow team member crawling on their hands and knees to squeeze through a secret passageway? The mental and physical demands of a tough project are precisely what make the success so rewarding. It feels genuinely good when you crack a lock you’ve sweated over for 10 minutes or complete a challenging project before its deadline.
Lastly, don’t give up
You’re all in this together, with one aligned objective, and you can only succeed one way: as a team. It’s easy to get frustrated and want to quit, but nothing compares to the rush of adrenaline you get when you finally escape; you really can achieve amazing things together. Go Team!