by Fabiana Beltran
If you were stuck in a room with only a handful of clues and a team of your peers – would you be able to escape in under an hour? An indicator of a high-performing team (HPT) is its ability to effectively collaborate. Evans Incorporated (Evans) hosts a monthly “Collaboration Fridays” exercise where staff can come together to team-build and innovate in a fun and engaging way. On September 14, 2018, the Evans team created their own Escape Room. The group was equipped with a background story and a series of riddles that, when solved, pointed to clues that would unlock the door.
“Collaboration Fridays” was designed to provide Evans staff and leadership with hands-on opportunities to test the models they offer to their clients. Collaboration is a pillar of the High-Performing Teams archetype and the foundation for the human-centered solutions Evans delivers.
So, did the Evans team escape the room? Yes, with only minutes to spare, the group worked together to arrive at a winning solution. But how?
Communication and Knowledge Sharing
Once presented with the challenge, the seven-person team splintered off into pairs or singles to solve individual puzzles.
When a pair arrived at a potential solution, they circled back to alert and receive feedback/buy-in from the others. Members actively listened to one another, asked clarifying questions, and offered alternatives when disagreements arose. This allowed the group to incrementally build upon one another’s individual findings.
Dive In, Fail Fast
Resources were limited and were created by piecing together of fragmented information. As a result, trial and error was the name of the game. To arrive at an answer, individual members knew they had to share a theory that could be tested and potentially debunked. They learned to “dive in and fail fast” to brainstorm and effectively problem-solve.
Tracking and Reviewing
When the team identified a clue or new lead, they recorded it. This not only kept the group organized and focused but helped to create a roadmap for the final solution.
Connecting the Dots
The key to unlocking the Escape Room door was the team’s ability to find the pattern that lived within the various clues they found. This could only be done by augmenting one’s finding through the contribution of another. Each building block brought the group closer to the ultimate objective.
Following the exercise, the Evans team highlighted the benefits and potential pitfalls of using such a tool to enhance the client experience. They underscored the advantages for leadership training and found the experience, “…interesting to see how we all worked together.” Though not having a clear end goal was disorienting, the team stated they found it was easy to connect the dots when they communicated effectively. Ultimately, the group learned that success could only be achieved when they worked together. They acknowledged that any future victories could in large part be attributed to the solid foundation of trust and rapport cultivated by the talent at Evans Incorporated.