Effective decision-making: lessons from an escape room

Empowerment and effective decision-making: lessons from an escape room

Recently I immersed myself in the escape room experience. With a small group of people, I had to find my way out based on hazy clues. The clock was ticking mercilessly, getting the adrenalin flowing. We wasted no time: we joined forces and got to work. After some nifty decoding, interpretation, and combining we pulled it off: the door slid open. My first thought when I stepped outside: this is how you effectively empower people to make their own decisions.

Maps of reality

An escape room requires strategic thinking, teamwork, and substantiated decision-making. But when you start out, you’re in the dark. You have no information on anything. Then the data is fed to you, bit by bit, until you start forming a picture of reality. Mind you, though — what you’re imagining is merely a representation of the truth. This reminds me of a quote from the scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski: “A map is not the territory.”

As I processed information in the escape room, I started sketching a map of my reality — not the objective truth that exists outside myself. But in this context, that was perfectly fine. For I didn’t need to know everything. In fact, I’d probably be confused if I did. I merely required the right data that would help me make the right decisions.

Incidentally, my decisions were easy to test: through trial and error, I instantly learned what did and didn’t work. That allowed me to double down on correct choices, mapping out the right strategy in real time.

From escape room to work floor

In essence, the work floor is no different than an escape room. Employees should be able to make independent decisions based on accurate, real-time information. Withholding data is not the right way to go. But flooding people with it won’t take you anywhere, either. You need to select highly relevant information, present it to employees in an appealing way, and allow them to create a map of their reality. If you constantly share elements of the outside world that are useful to them, they can translate these into strategic actions that benefit your organizational goals.

Want to lay a solid foundation? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to perform a Quick Scan and discuss your information sharing strategy.

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