Graduate Stories: Blog post by Trevor Ray, graduate of SeriousWork facilitator training.
To be blunt, when I first heard of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® I had pretty mixed feelings. On the one hand I am a firm believer in people having fun whilst they learn, on the other I was concerned whether using children’s building blocks would cross the line too far into play and loose learning impact.
In his essay “Some Paradoxes in the Definition of Play,” psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (see footnote) described play as "a subset of life..., an arrangement in which one can practice behaviour without dreading its consequences" – isn’t that exactly what a good training programme does? A well facilitated course enables participants to practise new skills, behaviours and attitudes in the safety of a training room where there are no ‘dreaded consequences.’
In my first workshop that I faciliated this week for a cleaning company, the initial attitude to seeing packs of LEGO® bricks on the table was very similar to my own mixed feelings a year or so ago. But as participants began to use the bricks, this scepticism quickly faded into very active engagement from everyone – even those that have previously failed to participate in more traditional courses.
By the end of the workshop, the room was absolutely buzzing with excitement and more importantly – with very positive outcomes for the team and company as a whole, including:
- Those that were quieter and felt ‘bit parts’ in the service had a new sense of value and worth as they understood how important their ‘small’ part in the process was
- A previously poorly engaged member of staff has shown a radical improvement in his teamwork and therefore in his team’s efficacy
- Greater shared understanding of the roles of different departments within the organisation and how they are all striving for the same goal i.e. delighted customers
- A shared vision, across all departments, as to what ‘excellent’ looks like
- A shared understanding of both positive and negative behaviours that will impact their service vision
I could go on!
The simple fact is that by using something that is simple, that everyone understands and that is inclusive and engaging, every member of staff now sees their value in the organisation, sees how important their individual role is and shares in the company vision.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1981). Some paradoxes in the definition of play. In Cheska, A.T. (Ed.). Play as context.
The best workshops use changes in pace and energy to get the best from participants.
If your attendees look a bit drained after an intense task then try the one minute Tower Energiser.
At a suitable point between tasks give participants one minute to build the tallest tower they can from the LEGO on their table. Frame the task as a competition between tables - the tower should be free standing - no planing is needed - just jump in and do it - 3, 2, 1 GO!
Giving a countdown during the build "30 seconds gone", "10 seconds remaining..." will heighten to the participants sense of urgency. You'll find that the group is suddenly buzzing with energy, and this brief competitive interlude will generate excitement. Deciding the winners of the task may also awaken friendly rivalries that stimulate team bonding and cohesion.
This simple activity is one of our favourite ways of injecting fun and energy - let us know how it works for you!
Whilst training LEGO in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in Switzerland we were delighted to introduce them to a new way of connecting bricks with one of our LEGOHacks. It was a little unexpected on our part, but a great moment to share learning and build the participants repertoire.
What was it we shared?
It was our Join Thin-End plates hack
Connect a plate to a studded block by mounting it in between the studs.
Vincent Doyle (course participant) said: "I've worked at Lego for two years and I never knew you could connect bricks in that way!"
Our favourite uses include impromptu walls, diving boards or even a sail. What might you use it for?
A career highlight is when you get to train LEGO how to facilitate LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®...
After reviewing numerous LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training approaches, we were elated that The LEGO Foundation selected SeriousWork to run a two day Build Level 1 and Build Level 2 masterclass for their team in Switzerland.
"We felt honoured to take our unique practiced-based and facilitation centred approach to leaning LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to the LEGO Foundation," said SeriousWork founder Sean Blair.
The course followed the same outline and objectives that underpins our two day public and in-house training meaning that graduates of the SeriousWork LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® are in some really cool company.
"Thank you, Sean, for 2 amazing and inspiring days"
Laura Paola Finsterbusch HR & Capability Building
Sometimes builds need the brick stud direction to be reversed, if you ever need to do this (or help someone else) then you can use our '$100 Stud to Stud hack'. Simply use any 2x1 tile (a brick with no studs, like the $100 brick) as a way to connect studs to studs.
There are other ways to achieve the same thing... watch out for future hacks or sign up for more hacks in future newsletters here.
Yea! we just published our first newsletter packed with: Ideas - Things that you can steal and make your own. Tips - Ways to be more awesome. Inspiration - Stories from the field. Opportunities - Ways for you to grow your skills.
But best of all the start of our new series of #Legohacks. Our first hack is about: Ladders!
The Challenge: connecting a ladder + baseplate
The LEGO® Hack: add Minifigure legs
See the full newsletter here.
Sign up for future newsletters here.
Experienced professionals practicing facilitation
By SeriousPlayPro founder and SeriousWork co-author Marko Rillo
In July I attended Serious Work LEGO Serious Play masterclass with Sean. When I entered his training venue I met enthusiastic Sean who graciously introduced us to the venue, to the bricks and to each other.Read more
In the Serious Work Training in May 2017 we set the students the build question "Build a shared model to show the super powers facilitators have".
Here is participant Paul Brown telling the story of the shared model:
I have been doing a bit of research into the theory's underpinning LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, and have come across a book first published in 1944 by Johan Huizinga called Homo Ludens, Man the Player. You can read it yourself on the PDF link from Yale University below, but just these two excerpts from the first chapter highlight the ancient and serious importance of play.
CHAPTER 1: NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF PLAY AS A CULTURAL PHENOMENONRead more
Most trained LEGO Serious Play Facilitators begin workshops with a skills build and 'build a tower' is a common first build task. In this short video, ProMeet Associate Caroline Jessop argues that asking participants to build a model of a duck is a better first build. What do you think?
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® © 2017 The LEGO Group
© ProMeet 2017. Serious Work is a part of ProMeet, a professional meeting facilitation business. www.meeting-facilitation.co.uk