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The following is a guest blog submitted by Stephanie Farlow.

Imagine it—you’ve entered a dark room with a light bulb flickering somewhere in the distance. To your left is a TV/VCR combo that, in its day, was the height of technology. It is one of many rooms in this homicidal adventure. You must survive to save the world from a computer virus that will end technology as we know it, then steal from a pirate as the ultimate prize.

Can you accomplish all this on your own? Would you even want to? Is it better with others, a.k.a. a group – or best with a team?

Escape rooms offer a thrilling adventure, a unique opportunity to delve into the dynamics of a team within a fun, safe, and engaging environment. It’s a chance to witness our reactions under pressure. While escape rooms are primarily for entertainment and a way to escape from the day-to-day happenings of our lives (pun intended), some puzzles are challenging. They can elicit stress reactions in us (some more than others – but that’s a topic for another blog ). Escape rooms provide an opportunity to be aware of our reactions and discuss them in a post-adventure chat with our trusted team members.

The word “team” is often overused, diluting its meaning and importance. I cringe when I hear organizational clients constantly use “team” when we all know it’s really a group. What’s the difference, you ask?

In my experience having worked in organizations and being a consultant in the organizational and talent development space, a team encompasses the following critical elements:

  1. Operating with a growth mindset,
  2. Genuine care and concern amongst the members and feeling safe with them, and
  3. Common goal(s) and no hidden agendas.

 In a singular afternoon, the three of us had to save the world twice – and be rewarded for it! We had to embody these three elements to truly be a team and leverage one another’s cognitive skills to solve those puzzles! There’s no way we could have accomplished these tasks on our own – with plenty of time to spare. The success we achieved as a team in the escape room underscored the importance of teamwork and the critical elements that make it successful.

What does “team” mean to you? What are the critical elements you need to be a successful team member? How can you be an effective team leader who creates this team “feel”? I invite you to reflect on these questions and share your insights as we delve deeper into the importance of teamwork and the critical elements that make it successful.