Last Friday, we at NGIN received a package in the mail. Inside, we were greeted by Fantastic Gymnastics, featuring Jim and a swinging bar. It was a game we had gotten for some light fun around the coworking space. The directions inside instructed us to put together Jim’s contraption, add batteries, and use the buttons to make Jim swing and release from his bar to land on one of the point categories. Sounds simple, right?
Well, not so much. The game for children “Ages 8+” had us flabbergasted and a bit frustrated from the very start. But for the innovators and thinkers in the NGIN community, this wasn’t such a bad thing—it was a chance to learn.
So, here are 5 things Fantastic Gymnastics taught us about teamwork and coworking.
1. Sometimes the simple answer is the right one
After putting the bar together, popping the batteries in, and snapping Jim onto the bar, we pushed the yellow button to swing his legs out and—nothing. Immediately, our hopes fell as we assumed the worst. The game was broken and we’d have to send it back.
But at the sound of our disappointment, another intern came over and asked what was wrong. When we heard the problem, he shrugged and said, “Did you try changing the batteries?”
Of course we hadn’t. They were new batteries. But, sure enough, when we exchanged them for different (but equally new) batteries, Jim’s legs started pumping. If we had stuck with our initial idea that the game didn’t work, we never would have had the chance to learn the next four lessons that Jim had to teach us.
2. There’s value in every coworker’s unique perspective
Once Jim was working, we tried launching him by swinging him back and forth a few times. But when we pressed the red button, he just kind of sat there. Very disappointing. Only after a few more coworkers came by the table did one person think to spin Jim all the way around the bar a few times before launching him toward the landing pad.
We all needed each other’s unique perspective to figure out the true mechanics of the game. With only one viewpoint, Jim would have been doomed to a life of endless swinging.
3. Walking away doesn’t mean giving up
We left Jim and his bar out in the coworking space for the day to give other coworkers the chance to try their skill. After fiddling with Jim’s contraption for a while, one coworker couldn’t get the hang of spinning and releasing the figure. He sighed and walked away—presumably to go back to his real work—but came back again about an hour later to try again. This time, it wasn’t long at all before he had built up a rhythm and launched Jim, smiling and nodding to himself as the red leotard-clad figure landed perfectly in the 50-point box.
For startups and entrepreneurs in the NGIN coworking space, giving up isn’t an option. Walking away means taking a step back, clearing your mind, and approaching a project with renewed energy—not backing down or accepting defeat.
4. A successful team builds on individual strengths
By about mid-afternoon, it seemed like break time for some of the coworkers, who we found gathered around Jim at the cafe’s central table. We interns took another shot at the game, and this tie we had the best team system.
While one of us was a pro at keeping the leg-kick-button rhythm going, another knew just when to push the release button to send Jim flying onto 100. And I noticed each of their skills and suggested they work together.
Each of us alone couldn’t perfect the moves, but all together we were guaranteed to stick.
5. We get by with a little help from our coworkers
By the end of the day, most everyone had taken a stab—or, more accurately, a forceful series of jabs—at Fantastic Gymnastics. We all sighed in annoyance, laughed at Jim’s flying figure, and triumphed at perfect landings. It wasn’t so much the points that mattered, but the teamwork we used to get Jim flipping. Here at NGIN, we know that working alone can only get you so far. But with a shared sense of purpose and a little help from each other, our coworking community is a perfect 10.
By Brianna Rapoza, NGIN Workplace Intern