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BUILDING BETTERFACILITATORS

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

What do graduates of our training say?

Two weeks after our September training course four graduates shared their reflections.



"Literally seven days after our training, I facilitated my first LEGO® Serious Play® strategic workshop. I can’t imagine any other training program that would’ve given me the skills, resources and confidence to run my own session (with a fully fledged paying client!) within such a short timeframe."

Arief Abraham, Principle Voyager Consulting


"KERPOW!!! Is the only way I could describe the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Training delivered by SERIOUSWORK. Too often training courses are drab theoretical affairs, not this one, right from the beginning we were hands on, learning by failing fast! As an practised facilitator I’ve never experienced or observed the depth of engagement and organisation development that LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® enables, this has proven true not only in the training environment but with a live client."

Nick Richmond, Director, Tricordant Ltd


"I will be forever grateful that I chose to train as a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator with Sean and SERIOUSWORK. I had looked at the four-day course but it seemed very theoretical and who wants to just look at Lego? This was one of these best training courses I have ever been on. The training is immersive, hands-on, builds confidence and I left ready to take this fun, creative and fabulous tool into my business to support my clients. Only wish I had discovered it sooner!"

Sonja Gibson, Founder, Wild Orange Wellbeing


"Yesterday I completed the Lego Serious Play facilitator training designed, developed and led by Sean. One word...WOW! What an informative, supportive, innovative, creative, exciting and valuable 2 days! It is clear that Sean is a gifted facilitator and trainer and his generosity in sharing this wonderful knowledge and experience with the group was felt by us all. I have come away from this course not only with an awesome tool in Lego Serious Play but also with a hugely improved set of facilitation skills. It was clear how much time, attention and care Sean has put into designing this course and to leave having such wonderful practical and hands on experience allows us all to venture into the world not just with a certificate but with the true ability and confidence to lead some awesome workshops using this incredibly powerful tool."

Rebecca Godfrey, Team, Leadership & Pharmacovigilance Consultant

Thanks to Arief, Sonja, Nick and Rebecca for your kind comments.

Picture report: London 2018 Training

Yesterday 12 more participants 'graduated' from our two day LEGO Serious Play Training and Certification.

The photos below give you a sense of the energy and feel of our two day training courses.

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