The team at Burton Energy Group isn’t all work all the time. Given the intensity that comes with the volume of work we process, it is surprising when a group of colleagues want to do something social outside the office. But, given the need to relax and blow off steam, we do decide to get together for some fun every now and then.
What better way to blow off steam than to all participate in escaping from the steamship Titanic in its final hours in an escape room puzzle? A few of us were talking about the idea of trying an escape room, and before we knew it, we had filled all the slots for a local escape room and booked it for when all the participants would be in town together. We were treated fantastic by our new friends at Odyssey Escape Game in Alpharetta, who have very well-done sets and puzzles.
Only one of us had any experience in an escape room prior. We knew the basics of what it would be, but this is one of those experiences where the reality is a bit different from the expectation. While it was intended as only a social relaxation, I was intrigued by observations of our team when placed under a different kind of stress than in the office.
Placed in a room with literally dozens of clues and objects to understand, only a vague set of goals, and a ticking clock, it was an example of an entire team being a “fish out of water”. I liked watching how quickly everyone adapted to strange surroundings, having to share light sources, and sharing historical details that allowed the team to work together to solve puzzles.
The group formed dynamic teams. People that would observe four or more people trying to solve one puzzle would venture off on their own to find another puzzle to work on in parallel. This didn’t just happen once but many times over the hour we worked to escape the room. I see this in our daily work as well; the people we recruit and that prosper at our company are the ones that find ways to add value without being told. Being a leader in my day job I was intentionally holding back in assuming that role in our social time. I was curious to see what would happen, and it was a nice reinforcement of the personnel traits that we value at Burton.
Much like energy problems, the escape room required us to gather clues, figure out what was important and what was a distraction. Focus on figuring out the story of what had happened, and execute several steps in a specific order to solve the puzzle. Daily, this is really what the Burton team does with energy. And, ironically, some of our clients do use steam as a heat source. In retrospect, the group so quickly volunteered to buy tickets to participate because they love solving puzzles; and I think it has a lot to do with why they are drawn to this kind of job as well.
Although it was a new experience doing an escape room, it was also fascinating learning something about the team I work with on a daily basis. And yes, in the end, we did escape with ten minutes remaining and only two clues needed. From what we were told, it was an impressive showing. What else would you expect from such an impressive team? Iceberg ahead? No problem, we’ve got this!