ON FACILITATING LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
LEGO Serious Play Blog
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitation Training and Certification

BUILDING BETTERFACILITATORS

Remembering meaning - 5 years later...

The official LEGO website has been going through an update of late, and we noticed last week that they have also updated the LEGO Serious Play section... so it's lovely to see they have used a photo taken by SeriousWork founder Sean Blair.

The image shows a facilitator standing on top of a well designed process (the orange section of the wall), unlocking the wisdom of a group (the Owl on the collective brain Orb), and connecting participants focus towards achieving a shared outcome (the Orb on top of the white pillar) and creating different kinds of value (the treasure chest)

The Red, Orange, Yellow and Green wall was built to reflect the 4 phases of the core ProMeet process, that we use all the time as a framework in designing and faciliating meetings.


You can see the full original un-cropped photo below:

And a wider shot also shows the importance of the preparation phase: The facilitator with an empty and non-judgemental mind seeking to view the intended outcome from a higher view (on top of the ladder), truing to focus the clients attention on their objectives (small yellow eye looking at the red objectives part of the process.

This model was built nearly 5 years ago and I can still remember what it means. It's a bonus the the LEGO Group have chosen to use our photo on the homepage of the official LEGO Serious Play website. :)

5 tools to help you check the alignment of your group

When running a workshop, how do we know we have true agreement on a shared model?

Superficial agreement will kill your session and undermine your objectives and so we suggest you explore questions and concerns instead.

Taking time to explore alignment will help build ownership of the ideas being discussed. The curiosity and honesty that follow provide a boost of energy that often spurs participants towards a meaningful outcome.


After someone has told the story of a shared model, you might ask - "based on the story that has just been told, do you have any questions or concerns about the model?"

This question directs all listeners to one interpretation and is simple to answer.


Here are five tools to get your group to express their thoughts:

1) Scales of agreement
Using the method cards here set out a scale of agreement on a table or the floor. Invite the group to work in silence and ask people to decide where they are in relation the model. Ask each person to write on the gridcard the position they take, along with a question or comment that relates to their level of agreement. When the writing is done, have each person read their card aloud and place it in the relevant place on the scale. The clusters illustrate the collective view of the group whilst the grid cards record each persons true thoughts: this method was adapted from an idea created by facilitation guru and author Sam Kaner.


2) Thumb voting
Ask participants to give a simple thumbs up, thumbs down, or somewhere in between to indicate if they have any questions or concerns. Thumbs up is no concerns, whilst thumbs down is major concerns. The most useful data comes from the people who’s thumbs are somewhere between horizontal and vertical (or 9:00-11:00 on a clock face). In turn, invite people to voice these slight reservations and ask them to identify how they could be addressed. This is a really quick and easy way to understand the alignment within a group.


3) Using 'traffic light' bricks
Get participants to select a red, amber and green brick and then use these like traffic-lights to indicate their level of reservation with what has been said. This simple method of assessing the reservations in your group is quick and leaves a visual record of the questions an individual has: this method was created by Anna-Lyse Raoul during our January 2018 training.


4) Using physical space
It can be interesting to use physical space as a literal expression of alignment around an idea. Use opposite walls to represent differing perspectives - perhaps no reservations vs major reservations. Ask participants to stand in the space which represents their view. This physical clustering helps people identify which colleagues are most closely aligned, and can be a good way of changing the energy if a group is waining: this method was introduced to us by Emma Owen during a July 2018 training.


5) Using bricks as scale
Rather usefully, a 1-10 stud brick can be used as a numeric scale of alignment - simply place a second piece at the point on the 10 stud scale that represents your view (1 being no alignment, 10 being complete alignment). This method has the advantage of creating a lasting record of what was said. Useful for returning to after a break, or capturing in photographs.


Used well, these tools have the power to unlock honest and meaningful dialogue and will result in greater clarity and ownership of the final idea.

We hope you enjoy them - Good luck!

The Speed of Trust

When trust is high, things happen faster and at lower cost, than when trust is low.

Stephen M.R. Covey’s book The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, contains a great set of ideas that bring clarity to some of the often paradoxical parts of our relationships. It’s also a framework that holds exciting potential to be explored using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®.

Covey advocates that trust is the one thing that changes everything. He quantifies it as a tangible asset, one that affects every individual, relationship, team, family, organisation, nation, economy and civilisation across the world. Viewed through this lens, it suddenly becomes a very appealing concept to understand more deeply.

Put simply, if trust is high, things happen faster and at lower cost, than when trust is low.

According to Covey’s thinking trust has four cores, which are like the parts of a tree:

The roots are Integrity (Are your congruent?)
Integrity is deep honesty and truthfulness - it is walking your talk and being true to who you really are. For many this is the most familiar aspect of trust. Like the roots of a tree, it underpins everything and is vital, without it we see people as dishonest or unprincipled.

The trunk is Intent (What's your agenda?)
Intent is your fundamental motive or agenda and the behaviour that follows. Trust grows where our motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefit. If we do not believe that someone’s intent is to act in our best interests, we become suspicious of them.

The branches are Capability (Are you relevant?)
Capability is your capacity to achieve results.It's your ability to inspire confidence.The means by which we produce tangible results.Included within capability is our ability to establish, grow and repair trust. Without capability the tree is a stump, it has no means by which to produce results.

The leaves are Results (What’s your track record?)
Results matter enormously to your credibility. If we don’t deliver what is expected trust is reduced. Past, present and future results all matter, but disregarding the other three cores and achieving results by any means will seriously damage trust.


13 behaviours universal to high trust people

Covey also outlines 13 behaviours that he believes are universal in high trust people.

Talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments & extend trust.


Try this…

Take a moment to evaluate one relationship in your life where trust is low, using the four cores of credibility above. You can probably pinpoint, where the gaps are. The framework provides the knowledge and language to quantify trust and serves as a great tool for self reflection - we can start to understand how others may trust us.

Improving trust

The 13 behaviours are a simple way to focus our thinking and understand how we can inspire greater trust from others. We need a blend of all of them (rather than several to excess) and Covey provides detailed insight into mastering each. In short he provides a guide of how to behave yourself out of problems you’ve behaved yourself into.

Repairing trust

In understanding trust, one of the natural questions is how to repair it. Fundamentally this depends on the areas in which it is lacking, overcoming a perceived deficiency in character (integrity or intent) is much more difficult than a deficiency in competence (capability or results). Covey advocates that it is absolutely possible to repair trust given the right opportunity. To learn more (and how!) you really should read the book…


The Speed of Trust and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®

I’m excited by the potential of running a workshop using the ideas within The Speed of Trust and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. I anticipate it could be used to explore multiple axes. A few ideas:

The 4 cores of credibility
As integrity underpins the four cores this is a useful starting build when talking about trust. IN SAFE environments you could invite team members to “Build a model to show who you truly are when you are at your most congruent” with the objective of deepening the group’s understating of each others integrity.

On pages 51-53 of the book Covey provides a rating system to quantify trust across the four cores of credibility. Using this metric, participants could be asked to “Build a model to show what you might do to strengthen your weakest core.” It would be best for participants to start with themselves and declare their intent with this build / model. (NB think hard about the reflection stage and the value this can bring.)

The 13 behaviours hold rich potential. Using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to explore what they look like, the barriers to creating them, or identifying what the right amount of them looks like could bring huge value within a workshop setting.

If you have run a workshop using the speed of trust as a framework - we’d love to hear about it...

How a pointy stick became a magic stick


In shared model building we teach our students to: “Lead the discussion through the brick” or "Mediate the conversation through the model".

At last weeks LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator training in Stuttgart, this idea all-of-a-sudden developed to the next level!

While practicing facilitating the first round of Build Level 2 Shared Model Building, a participant forgot to talk as they were touching or moving the model.

Without words, the other participants pushed and grabbed the pointy stick (you can see a pointy stick being used the photo above - it's the beige and white one being held and pointed at the model) and made it a magic stick... All-of-a-sudden... only the person holding the stick was allowed to speak! This spur-of-the-moment idea really helped the group mediate the conversation through the model... and as a result the shared model building experience was better.

It was great to see what group dynamics can do as a team suddenly starts to agree to new rules of communication. The process kept on for the following day and it worked very well and helped the participants understand the this key idea in shared model building.

Even as trainer you never stop learning! - Jens Dröge is SeriousWork Training Partner in Germany

Observations. A Graduate's perspective on a live workshop

SeriousWork training graduate Rebecca Godfrey shares her observations from a live workshop


I had the great pleasure of joining Sean for a full day event bringing together a large team (approximately 45 people) to look at their vision for the future. I was invited to observe and to serve as general helper for the day. This was a great opportunity as I was a helper before I had held any workshops myself; it was a fantastic to stand back and watch him in action as when I was training I was very much focusing on learning the process myself so watching on this day I spotted things that I would like to bring into my own practice and would like to share with the rest of the community here so that we can fulfil Sean's dream of us being the best LSP facilitators in the business.

My six key observations :

1. Pace
Pace would be my first observation - through the use of timers and the music Sean keeps a great pace throughout the day, not only ensuring all of the objectives are met but also building and maintaining a really positive energy to the whole day. See below about planning as planning is key to keep this pace.

2. Facilitate not participate
Watching Sean it was great to see how he could support and provide direction to the process when needed without interfering with the discussions. The gentleness and subtlety of Sean's interventions allowed for the teams to really own the day and the solutions that they came up with.

3. Use of the storyboard
Sean clearly knows what he is doing and how the whole day works but still he ensures that the whole day is mapped out - no winging it here. Seeing the amount of preparation go into the facilitation notes beforehand and how helpful this is during the day to keep the day on track or adjust as and when needed was really helpful. I know that Sean advises in the training to use facilitation notes but it wasn't until I watched this session I realised how vital this approach is. I always use facilitation notes myself and it really helps to ensure that there is a nice relaxed environment but at the same time allows me to keep an eye on the time and where are and when we need to gently move on to the next activity to ensure the event's objectives are met.

4. Having something in your back pocket

During the day we ran slightly earlier than expected, Sean had in his back pocket an extra activity which was great as it gave extra value to the team.

5. Don't be afraid of the sceptics - trust the process
What was most interesting to me about this group is that many of the team had been in post for many many years - some 30 years + but had never before had an offsite. Some of the team seemed a little hesitant at the beginning and there was one table in particular that seemed to have a bumpy start as they not only got use to the tool but also there appeared to be some conflict with this team. My key take away is to trust the process, as we went through the day everyone got on board in their own time, the team that had a degree of conflict slowly but surely warmed up and by the end were laughing and collaborating together seamlessly. I remember this each time I have a session where there are sceptics and in fact I often find by the end of the day those most committed to the process and its outcomes are often those that started the day sceptical of the whole Lego involvement

6. How to involve the leader
This event was at a time of much change for the team as they had recently had a new leader take over the group. Sean had incorporated into the agenda some time for the new leader to speak to outline her hopes and wishes for the day and for the journey ahead for this new team but then allowed her to join the tables ensuring no hierarchy and a real level playing field.

Show more posts

Recent entries
Remembering meaning - 5 years later...
The official LEGO website has been going through an update of late, and we ...
5 tools to help you check the alignment of your group
When running a workshop, how do we know we have true agreement on a shared ...
The Speed of Trust
When trust is high, things happen faster and at lower cost, than when trust ...
How a pointy stick became a magic stick
In shared model building we teach our students to: “Lead the discussion ...
Observations. A Graduate's perspective on a live workshop
SeriousWork training graduate Rebecca Godfrey shares her observations from ...
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Reflection Questions - a cheatsheet!
The 4th stage of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® process is reflection. This note ...
What happened after training in London? By Philipp Rosenthal
Phillipp works at a large consulting firm in Abu Dhabi. He flew to London ...
My first workshop: 3 days after training. By Jesse Lui
Jesse works at Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and flew to London in October ...
What do graduates of our training say?
Two weeks after our September training course four graduates shared their ...
Picture report: London 2018 Training
Yesterday 12 more participants 'graduated' from our two day LEGO Serious ...
Make your own Landscape and Identity Kit
I understand there is a shortage of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® kits at the ...
Build a model to show the fundamental or key skills you need to facilitate Lego Serious Play
A model built by participants on a SeriousWork in-house Lego Serious Play ...
My First Workshops - by Dr Tammy Watchorn
Graduate Stories: Blog post by Dr Tammy Watchorn, graduate of SeriousWork ...
#LEGOHACK 5: Duplo to LEGO
In many workshops participants struggle to connect LEGO bricks to Duplo ...
#LEGOHack 4: Flexible axle-head
Sometimes builders want to express shared ideas, people connecting, ...
To play or not to play? Report from my first workshop
Graduate Stories: Blog post by Trevor Ray, graduate of SeriousWork ...
The one minute Tower Energiser
The best workshops use changes in pace and energy to get the best from ...
#LEGOHack 3: Join End Plates (loved by LEGO)
Whilst training LEGO in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in Switzerland we were ...
#LEGOHACK 2: Reverse Stud
Sometimes builds need the brick stud direction to be reversed, if you ever ...
#LEGOHACK 1: LadderLegs + Our First Newsletter
Yea! we just published our first newsletter packed with: Ideas - Things ...
LEGO, SERIOUS PLAY, the Minifigure and the Brick and Knob configurations are trademarks of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this website. SeriousWork respects and aligns with the the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® trademark guidelines

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® © 2017 The LEGO Group

SERIOUSWORK uses the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method described in the LEGO Group Open Source Guide made available by LEGO under a Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution Share Alike’

© ProMeet 2019. SERIOUSWORK is a part of ProMeet, a professional meeting facilitation business. www.meeting-facilitation.co.uk