As a small (but growing) software company, we have to be picky when it comes to the people that we hire. We need people that can work independently without much direction, that can work quickly and wonderfully with a group, and that know when to ask for help.

We play lots of games around here, and once a quarter (during Quell Week) we venture out as an entire company for some kind of activity. These activities serve as team-building exercises, and to let us “work” with people we wouldn’t normally work with on a day-to-day basis. They strengthen our bonds as coworkers and friends, and they’re a lot of fun.

This week, we did one of these activities. Our entire company went to The Escape Game Nashville. It’s a real-life puzzle game where groups get locked in rooms and they have to try to escape.

From their site:

“You have one hour to work together, crack codes and solve ciphers to escape…see if you have what it takes to escape in under 60 minutes!”

Think: the Saw movie series, but without any life-threatening challenges or injuries (hopefully).

It was a perfect example of how an amazing team can work together to solve problems. We’re often given difficult problems to solve at work, and under deadlines, and we over-deliver if we can. The interesting thing about our trip to The Escape Game was that we were put in 5 random groups of Rustici Software employees, most of which were filled with people that don’t work together on a daily basis.

We split into our groups, and off we went. One hour to escape.

We did it our way. We didn’t wait for direction, we just worked for our goal. Sometimes that meant working independently, and sometimes that meant working together. Sometimes it meant asking for help (in my case, Ryan helped me with a task, and of course, overperformed it.) It was amazing to see it in action.

rustici software

The average escape rate for the rooms is 37%. Rustici Software’s average escape rate? 80%..and we even set a record for the fastest escape ever for one of the rooms.

…and while it’s a spectacular thing to see the group in action, my favorite part is to watch the reactions of others that haven’t encountered the Rustici family before.

In the past, that’s been things like “I’ve never seen anything like this”, and this time was no different.

There was a woman that had the task of keeping the times, records, and averages for all of the rooms at The Escape Game. As our different groups were escaping their rooms with plenty of time to spare and she was entering our times in her computer, she said something that pretty much sums up the Rustici family:

“You guys are really smart!”

I wanted to reply, “Well, actually we’re just really picky.”

You can gather a lot of smart people, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll do amazing things. Amazing things happen when you have the right group of people, with shared values and goals—the kinds of people we choose to work with.