Have you tried one of those escape room experiences yet? A few months ago I took my husband to one as part of his birthday weekend. Neither of us had gone to one before, so it was a new experience. We were teamed up with seven other people, given a few instructions, and then locked in a “bank vault” with the goal of getting out before the “authorities” came and arrested us.
We didn’t know any of the other people on our team – not even their names. Once in the locked room, everyone went their own direction and tried desperately to find clues that would help us escape. There was a lot of talking over each other and duplicating efforts. Some people stood in the background, out of the way. Others pushed and grabbed their way through the room.
In the end, we lost. We were only a few moves away from finding the secret exit, but our team wasn’t able to work well enough together to find success.
That experience was in direct contrast to our experience with seven other hikers on the Inca Trail. Before we started our trip through the Andes mountains, we were given time to get to know each other a little bit. Not only were we able to call each other by name, but we had the chance to recognize what each of us could contribute. We knew who the strongest hikers would be, and who you could count on to make you laugh if you were fighting discouragement. We didn’t spend a lot of time together before starting our journey, but it was essential in creating one of the best team experiences I’ve ever been a part of.
Both teams were assembled by someone else. We didn’t choose the people we would be with. But when we were intentional about connecting, chemistry happened.
Both teams had a common goal. One team failed, and the other succeeded.
Because when we worked together instead of individually, obstacles weren’t as intimidating.
When we recognized the value of individual contributions, progress was made at an accelerated rate.
Connection created trust. And trust will always make the difference in working together as a team.