The Importance of Team Communication

The door shut behind us and clock started ticking. The lights went out as we pulled out our flashlights and began quickly and carefully turning over the room. I rummaged through the coats on the rack, Ryan went through every item in the desk, Alison and Jay began scouring every inch of the room from floor to ceiling, while Bob and Liz pondered the meaning the five animal posters on the wall.

No, we were not auditioning for an Ocean’s 11 reboot.

Our team at 12five Capital recently took part in a cool ‘Escape the Room’ scenario at Fox In A Box Chicago.

The escape the room idea is fairly simple. Your team is put in a scenario where you must use your wits, communication, and teamwork to solve a series of puzzles or problems in a given timeframe. We were tasked with breaking into a bank and stealing the priceless diamond inside.

Completing all the puzzles in a given room would unlock the door into the next room, which had it’s own new puzzles, some of which involved using items or information found in the previous room. Some of our puzzles were pretty tough!

In the end we completed the heist with less than two minutes to spare.

One big takeaway I had from our adventure was just how differently people approach and ultimately solve problems. I’ve done the personality tests and heard plenty of talks on the importance of understanding the different ways people work together, but having it demonstrated in way that didn’t apply to our specific jobs really hammered the point home.

One of the best things about having a talented group of people working together is the different strengths each member brings to the table. If there were six versions of this post’s author trying to steal that diamond I’m not so sure we would have made it out of the first room. With a diverse group of people, we were out of the 1st of 3 rooms in 5 minutes. 

However, working with different people can have it’s challenges if you don’t have a good way to communicate with each other. People often assume that others think and make decisions in the same way that they do, and when someone doesn’t do what you expect them to, it can be frustrating and confusing.

This is where communication becomes so important. Just because I think the tongs and the cheese shredder have no business being in the same drawer doesn’t necessarily mean that my girlfriend will read my mind and organize them in the way I like. I must explain the minute but extremely important difference between food handling tools and food manipulation tools. Without well thought out communication like this, my kitchen and relationship would both descend into chaos.

Food handling vs food manipulation

Food handling vs food manipulation

To get back on track, we all had a great time at the event and are looking forward to our next escape. It was a great test to see how our team worked when we were under pressure and needed to depend on each other. Next time we will test our wits against the challenging prison escape!




Russell MalcolmComment