By Amy Oldham
March 4, 2016
“Hooray, we escaped!” If you were around the Equinox office earlier this week, you likely heard multiple people saying just that. That’s because the entire company participated in a real-life escape game, where we had to find our way out of a locked room using only our wits and skills. The use of tools (other than items provided in the locked room), calculators, phones, and internet access were prohibited, and each team’s progress was monitored via closed circuit cameras and speakers to ensure the rules were strictly followed. The goal was simple—work together as a team to find clues and solve puzzles to find the solution that opens the door. But the challenge was real—teams have only 60 minutes to escape the locked room.
This immersive game, hosted at the Escape Game Nashville, boasts multiple different rooms, with each one having a dedicated theme that is wildly different from the others. Each room accommodates small teams (6-12 depending on the game), so we divided into multiple teams. Our teams were assigned at random, with all departments equally represented across the teams. And to make it more interesting, we all completed the exact same game room in back-to-back sessions throughout the day. This factor not only added to the competitiveness of the event, but it also tested our ability to keep cool under pressure.
Equinox participated in the Gold Rush escape room, so we were on the hunt for gold that Clyde Hamilton stashed. We’d been tipped off as to where he stored his gold. Unfortunately, so had the mob, which means it was a race against time to get in and get out before the mob found us. And how did it turn out? Every single one of the Equinox teams escaped! Considering that the average escape rate for the Gold Rush game is 35% (the overall escape for all games in that facility is only 28%), that’s astounding! But I’m not surprised that we beat the odds. Here’s why.
Just like in our daily work at Equinox, no one person is responsible for the entire company’s success. It takes all of us working together all the time to consistently exceed customer expectations. Our escape experience was no different: everyone on the team contributed to the solution, with no one person figuring everything out on their own.
We all shared information. As I said, it took everyone working together to solve all the puzzles and clues in the allotted time. Therefore, sharing information was an absolute necessity. Anytime one of us had a realization, we called it out so everyone else in the room heard it. Many times, two or three of us were working on a puzzle in one part of the room, and hearing a clue called out from across the room triggered a different line of thinking that led to that puzzle’s solution. We operate this same way when it comes to customer projects, ensuring that sales, support, and development all have the data necessary for successful project completion.
During the game, time was of the essence. So, it was important to manage our resources wisely, especially the resource of time. The clues were all interrelated but not necessarily sequential, so it was crucial not to fixate on any one item. Not only was this guideline designed to help us beat the clock, but it encouraged synergy and resulted in a greater collective output than the sum of every individual working on each clue. This same principle is true at work, where each department relies on the other departments, all working toward a common goal of delivering a finished project according to a schedule. We communicate with each other to manage resources (both personnel and time) from the very start of project kickoff through delivery. Since we use this model in our work at Equinox, it came to us readily as we participated in the game.
We had a great time at this first-of-its-kind company event. And the outcome only strengthened our resolve to continue our tradition of working together closely and communicating as a team as we serve our customers.
About the Author: Amy Oldham is in Corporate Communications at Equinox Information Systems, where she creates and maintains the company’s technical documentation as well as all other customer-facing publications. Amy is also responsible for the company’s newsletter, email campaigns, press releases, and social media presence. When not writing, Amy enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, and swimming.
To learn more about Equinox, its products, and staff, visit www.equinoxis.com or call (615) 612-1200.