I’m now offering LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ -based workshops for strategic planning and team-building. (I’m a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ facilitator. Yes, it’s really a thing!)
Engaging all participants in building (with LEGOs) invites in curiosity and creativity – a dash of play – which encourages inquiry, communication, and connection. These workshops also provide a way of working which disrupts traditional power hierarchies and embraces diversity of thought as well as diversity in ways of thinking.
The added benefits?
Your brilliant colleagues will experience less burnout, more excitement. They will be ready to innovate with and for you. In teams, they will have more confidence raising the hard questions that need to be asked and sharing the challenging feedback that needs to be heard.
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ was developed with the recognition that organizations don’t just need a strategic plan, they need a way to think strategically. These workshops help build that across all team members.
When might you bring this workshop to your team?
- You need to envision and develop an dynamic strategic initiative – not a plan that will sit on a shelf, but an active and fluid initiative developed from and organically owned by your team.
- You are facing a new challenge and need a breakthrough which could unite your team. Create space for voices to be heard which will generate more ideas, different perspectives, collaborative building, and playful creativity.
- Your team is experiencing communication challenges. Slow down in order to see and value each other with curiosity and compassion.
- Your team is feeling exhaustion (or whiplash) from all of the pivots. Re-set in your team and cultivate their agency to define how they can work together.
- You are forming a new team – individuals do not yet know each other well or have a mixed level of knowledge where some know each other well and others not so much. Jumpstart connections, communication, and appreciations for different ways of seeing and thinking.
Schedule an exploration call to see if this is a good fit with your team.
Will we just play with LEGOs?
That would be fun, right? But, no. If you want to do that, buy some LEGO kits and give your team a complete play break! This isn’t that.
We use LEGO® (and other activities) within the context of your team’s goals. I decided to add LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ to my workshops because I see that it can challenge power dynamics and open up space for greater voice. Like other strategies I use, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ engages our thinking beyond the verbal of writing and talking – giving space to think with our hands before engaging in the storytelling that makes sense of our LEGO® builds for ourselves and others.
What makes my LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ workshop unique?
Each LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ facilitator brings their unique spin. In my case, along with my LEGOs I bring:
- Deep listening founded on meditation training.
- Reflective practices. I intentionally cultivate spaces of stillness to bring a sense of calm even on busy days.
- Intentional connection created across difference. I thrive at intersections which break binary thinking and bridge a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and beliefs – particularly on complex issues of significance.
- A studied understanding of the nuance of “play.” These workshops are not about just playing. I am intentionally creating an experience to develop playful mindsets – with attention to the diverse needs and ways of being which each person brings. Hosting the Lead with a dash of Play podcast, I’ve learned from phenomenal coaches and amazing executive leaders. Each has their own model and motivation behind play in professional settings.
- My own experience leading professional, high-performing teams for 20+ years.
- Expertise with additional facilitation tools – an attention to the structures we create a la The Art of Gathering (Priya Parker), Visual facilitation (sketch-note style), consultancy protocols, and the experience of decades creating human-centered adult-learning environments both on-line and in-person.
How does it work?
Research on the origin and practice of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ is available for those who like citations. I haven’t done independent research, but the effectiveness resonates with my study and experience. Here’s my take on it:
- Thinking is not always in words. It’s easy to forget that since school and society emphasize the spoken and written word. In Visual Thinking, Temple Grandin notes that some people think primarily in images instead of words. In The Extended Mind, Annie Murphy Paul reminds us that our bodies, our spaces, and the people around us can all contribute to the thinking itself. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ provides an opportunity to “think with your hands.” This lets the intuition contribute while the storytelling about our builds still engages our reasoning and sense-making skills.
- Challenging power with time. In a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ session, all participants build simultaneously. This space of time for a common build gives people of a range of thinking styles time to actually think, breaking the dynamic of those who normally speak first or dominate. Structured sharing afterwards brings more voice, less ego, into the room.
- Embracing a mindset shift. It’s hard to stay “serious” with LEGO® bricks in hand. A LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ session contributes to creating a playful mindset, and in that state we are more open to new ideas, it feels safer to take risks, and our curiosity leads to more engaged communication. Dr. Stuart Brown has documented the findings on play in his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, and Mikhaly Czikszentmihalyi is particularly famous for his research on the state of Flow, one of the outcomes of play.
- Shifting attention from people to a common build. It can be hard to talk about ourselves and it can feel like we are in a constant of negotiating for attention or power. In a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY™ session, the focus moves from individuals taking a stand to the build(s) themselves. That makes communication easier and collaborative problem-solving more natural.