While at a recent board meeting, I participated in an Escape Room team building exercise. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, groups are “locked” into a room that resembles a theatre set. Each room has its own theme (ours was Wizards), and the participants have one hour to make sense of the props and follow the clues to solve the mystery so they are able to escape.

The clues were revealed after putting together multiple pieces of the puzzle. For example, one set of clues had us placing animals and insects mounted on hexagon bases in a certain order and facing a certain direction. Once this was achieved, a trap door opened, revealing yet another clue.

To solve the mystery, each team was allowed to push a button three times if additional help was needed. We requested help all three times, but in doing so, our team was the only one of the three teams to successfully escape. Bragging rights would have been greater if we had completed the task without additional assistance, but I will settle for the satisfaction that comes with just finishing.

Do you operate like you are in an escape room and let your pride get in the way of asking for help, even when you need it? Do you overlook things that seem inconsequential initially, only to later learn that they have great value? I also wonder how many would have stuck it out if it was a work exercise and not a fun game: would you have given up after the first half hour of frustration?

Whether you literally participate in an escape room or whether you operate in a metaphorical one, learn the importance of pushing the button for clues. There is no shame in asking for help.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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