Top 6 Things I Learned From an Escape Room


Despite what the title might suggest, I’m not talking about a place to hide from your boss or other stress in the IT finance world.  Instead, escape rooms are one of the hottest trends in the country.  According to Wikipedia, an escape room is a “physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.”  Players must work together to solve problems with the goal of escaping a locked room within sixty minutes. 

Nicus Software recently sponsored an escape room event.  After reminiscing about the event, it occurred to me the ingredients for success in an escape room are the same as those for success in every other facet of our lives, including implementing a successful IT Financial Management program. 

Here are the top six critical (and analogous) ingredients I learned from being part of a team that successfully completed an Escape Room:

  1. Collaboration – As the old adage says: a team is more than the sum of its parts.  I truly believe every team member has something unique and valuable to contribute.  Our greatest leaders are the ones who can identify and maximize the unique skills each of us brings to the table.
  2. Be fearless – Sometimes we hesitate to share our thoughts and ideas for fear others will judge them as bad or stupid.  Have the courage to share your ideas with others.  Who knows?  Maybe your idea will not work but it might trigger another idea that does work!
  3. Think creatively – When it comes to solving problems, creative thinking is KING!  If solutions to problems were always straight-forward and easy, they would not be problems, right?  Allow your mind to think “outside the box” and to come up with creative solutions.  Creative thinking goes together with having the courage to share your thoughts and ideas.  It is the one-two punch of problem-solving.
  4. Ask for help – Sometimes I can be too stubborn and prideful to ask for help.  However, when you think about it, why is asking for help a sign of weakness or defeat?  Isn’t asking for help often an opportunity to collaborate, leverage each other’s strengths, and share in the success?  I have learned it is often better and more efficient to ask for help from others than to sit on my own and spin my wheels.
  5. Be resilient – As we all know, not every idea is a winner.  However, sometimes you just have to punt or make an educated guess and give that idea a shot.  If it doesn’t work, you can learn from it and try something else.  We learn much more from our failures than we do from our successes.  Do not let failure discourage your and prevent you from trying another solution or idea.
  6. Have fun – Attitude is everything when it comes to challenges and problem-solving.  Train your brain to view them as exciting opportunities to stretch your limits and enjoy learning more about your teammates.  Life is meant to be fun so make sure you are viewing these challenges through that lens.