My job training at General Motors so far has been filled with some pretty amazing experiences. I visited the Heritage Center, an exclusive showplace of more than 165 historic vehicles that illustrate the company’s design, sales and technical history. For the first time in my life I travelled alone to Fridley, Minnesota to experience how a dealership operates from an inside perspective and I visited some of the breathtaking landscapes the state boasts. We sat with the retail team from Google, met team leads for each GM brand, and had company vice presidents and department heads serve as guest speakers to highlight the important role that the district digital managers will play in the future of the company. As of yesterday I added another amazing experience to my list: Trapped in a Room with a Zombie.

What is Trapped in a Room with a Zombie?

Without getting into spoilers (that would ruin the fun!), “Trapped in a Room with a Zombie” is an escape room where team members solve riddles to escape a locked room within 60 minutes. The catch? There’s a ravenous zombie chained to the wall and every five minutes the zombie gains another foot of chain, inching closer and closer to devour the unwilling participants. The experience was a blast, but it taught me some valuable lessons regarding effective team dynamics.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork

This seems obvious, but teamwork and communication tends to fall apart as a zombie relentlessly chases participants around the room. It’s important to use teamwork to complete the numerous riddles while effectively communicating and collaborating to troubleshoot and problem solve. Having disjointed communication and no collaboration will halt any progress and waste time as team members attempt to repeat processes that their peers tried before. The group needs to work together effectively and cohesively if it stands any chance of surviving harrowing encounters, whether it’s in the workplace or when confronted by a ravenous zombie.

Analyze data and think outside the box

Solving riddles requires analyzing all available data and attempting different things to see if they work. Some riddles require fresh perspectives and a propensity to think outside the box. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” is an apt quote for situations like this. Doing the same thing expecting different results wastes precious time, and in the case of Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, every second makes the difference between life and death.

Different roles are required

Like any healthy organization, people need to take on different roles to contribute to the success of the team. There needs to be natural leaders to delegate tasks and participants to follow their directives and provide positive feedback. While this dynamic took some time to form, leaders, analysts, supporters and flexible team members emerged to solve the riddles and escape with our lives. Different people have different skills that are vital to processes and internal systems; no one is the same and an organization can’t survive if every single person is doing the exact same thing. Variety is the spice of life and that shouldn’t be taken for granted in a team.

Don’t be negative and don’t give up

It might get discouraging when you’re faced with roadblocks; it’s important to never give up and maintain a positive attitude. Each day is what you make of it and you’ll be more successful if you maintain positivity in the face of adversity or pushback. Our team was stumped on almost all the riddles for the first 30 minutes of Trapped in a Room with a Zombie. As our chances for survival dwindled and the zombie gained more biting space, we didn’t give up and were moments away from escaping the room. Unfortunately my entire team was eaten, but if we had another few seconds I would be writing a different story.

Final verdict on Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

Compared to sitting through slides that provide recommended practices for teamwork, Trapped in a Room with a Zombie gave some amazing and practical insight on how to effectively work and collaborate as a team. If you’ve never heard of Escape Plans, I highly recommend getting a group together and buying tickets for an amazing and frightening experience. If you aren’t a fan of zombies, Escape Plans offers different themed escape rooms that are just as exciting as Trapped in a Room with a Zombie. Check out their website for ticket pricing, escape rooms and available dates and times; I would love to hear about your escape room experience!