It's fair to say that I used to vacuum-up LEGO more than I played with it. Then I heard about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and read about the hand-mind connection, the power of play and what great results LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® achieves in business. After ten months of getting delighted nods of approval from every architect I've mentioned it too, I have finally achieved my goal of becoming a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator!
But LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® isn't just playing, it is thinking and challenging, innovating and strategising, unlocking of insight and imagination, in real time. With specially selected LEGO bricks, we let our hands build what we do not yet know. I love this quote by the organisational theorist Karl Weick which I think is apt:
‘How can I know what I think until I see what I say?”
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is greatly aligned with my coaching ethos. Whilst coaching uses incisive questioning to make you think, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® enables our hands to act as search engines for our brains, helping us think. The stories you create using the model give you greater clarity of thought, help you make better decisions and allow for more effective meetings. I'm all for the combination of creativity and efficiency.
So what do I like about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®?
1. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® brings focus to the table. These are not lean-out meetings where half of the team is on the iPhone or doodling in the corner of the notebook. These are lean-forward meeting, hands on the table, with the focus on the models.
2. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® uses a combination of communication styles - kinesthetic (building the model), visual (looking at a model) and auditory (sharing your story) - helping you communicate much more effectively and with less misunderstandings. This just makes sense for a very visual industry like architecture.
3. LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® levels the playing field. Is there someone in your team that never speaks up or talks too much? It doesn't matter whether you are the director or the junior, the architect or the engineer; using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® involves an equal commitment to participate and communicate.
4. Using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® results in a collective understanding and a shared vision. The team leaves with a commitment and common reference for future discussion and decision making. None of that "well, I never agreed to that!" business.
5. It's fun.
So you can see that I am really looking forward to facilitating my first LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® meeting. I believe that the business of architecture needs some serious play and that LEGO® is the perfect medium for this.