Building a Culture of Engagement with Lego Serious Play

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LSP (Lego Serious Play) has been popular among various organisations over the years. The approach is simple – responding to complex workplace issues through the power of lego modelling. These models come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from simple yellow cuboids to sophisticated elephant figurines. 

Participants are to express themselves with these elements within a given duration. By doing so, workers and organisational leaders have the chance to create a culture of engagement. 

Understanding a Culture of Engagement 

To better understand a culture of engagement – An engaged workforce is happier, committed, and more productive. Engaged employees are proven to be 21% more effective than their disengaged counterparts. Influences of workplace engagement include organisational relationships, opportunities for growth, responsibilities of roles, and personal meaning. 

LSP can help improve these factors through a uniquely creative, hands-on approach that reveals many hidden ideas and concepts in the key stakeholders of a company – its employees.

The Origin of Lego Serious Play

Robert Rasmussen, a former math teacher and school principal who was a part of the LEGO product development team, worked on LSP as a side project. The Lego team designed LSP to improve planning, communication, and critical thinking across industries, specifically managers who wished to express, challenge, and strengthen their views. 

The innovative approach soon caught fire and has become a popular engagement method for many managements. Companies that have benefited from LSP include IKEA, NASA, and Toyota. 

LSP comprises theories in positive psychology, such as constructivism, and action research. These ideological components make LSP a progressive system that encourages participants to discover insightful things about themselves and to apply them through effective communications. 

The LSP method became an open-source method in 2010, operating under a Creative Commons community-based licence. This strategic move by the LEGO company provided organisations with greater freedom to adapt LSP according to their immediate goals and needs. 

LSP at its Core

Rasmussen aptly described LSP, “It’s an engine. It’s like a language. It’s a technique without content.” LSP is essentially autopoietic, which means it is self-running once the initial rules kick in. LSP facilitators ignite the spark by asking the right questions and guiding conclusions from the presented models. 

Rasmussen added, “It is the facilitator who asks a question. Then the participants build the answer to that question using LEGO bricks, using them metaphorically to add meaning.” LSP provides participants with the power to shape the flow of a session, an essential aspect of workplace engagement. 

The underlying concept of a level playing field with all voices heard, promotes creativity, collaboration, and organisational togetherness. Rasmussen shared a breakthrough in an LSP prototype, where the quietest member of the team provided the most valuable insights during the session.  When probed on the subject, the participant replied, “because I was never expected to.”

Participants will discover that they have significant contributions to make in a discussion or decision, shaping the outcome. LSP stimulates the process by bringing hidden thoughts and behaviour to the surface through the wonders of subconscious kinesthetics. 

LSP in Engagement Building

The modern work environment faces its own set of novel challenges. Organisational leaders must adapt according to recent industry changes to create the most engaged culture that drives performance. Gallup identified a range of common problems that have led to disengagement at the workplace – crises mitigated with LSP. 

Issue: Leaders lacking understanding of workplace culture

LSP Solution: The structured method of LSP guides participants through an insightful journey of self-discovery and creative expression. Each brainstorming session encourages all participants to contribute to the formation of cohesive workplace culture. 

Organisational leaders can formulate consistent and well-outlined identities, together with their employees. A healthy workplace culture promotes a sense of purpose and belonging, which improves overall employee satisfaction levels. 

Workplace culture is traditionally a top-down process. Identities are integral aspects of any organisation – shaping their personality and vision. Inconsistent or poorly established workplace culture leaves a negative impression on employees who are likely to become disengaged.  LSP helps involve employees when employers lack a clear sense of direction. The collaborative process empowers employees while enabling employers to understand their workers better. 

Issue: Changing Employee Motivations

LSP Solution: Modern workers are motivated and engaged by new factors that require greater consideration. Employers need to identify and address the specific requirements of each worker to keep them thoroughly engaged. 

Unfortunately, familiarising with staff is challenging in a fast-paced digital environment where organisations oversee multiple processes within a short time-frame. LSP creates a dual communication pathway where employees can share their innermost thoughts about the organisation and their personal needs. Similarly, employers can clarify their goals for the company and stress the importance of each employee contribution. 

LSP serves as a powerful platform where employers can address or respond to concerns such as work-life integration, learning and development opportunities, and an overarching sense of purpose. LSP also enables employers to comprehend things from a worker’s POV, on ways to improve workplace culture for everyone. 

Issue: The New Working Environment Changes Engagement Processes

LSP Solution: The working world has changed drastically with the advancement of digitisation and the COVID situation. Employees need to discover new ways to engage their employees according to the changing landscape. LSP enables participants to share their ideas and fears through LEGO modelling, facilitating improved teamwork, bonding, and performance.  

LSP is a unique opportunity for organisations to develop engagement strategies in an enjoyable visual format, which identifies and tackles the challenges faced by individuals and as a company. Through LEGO modelling, employers can detect the subtlest hints of discomfort or dissatisfaction experienced by workers and work on solutions.

With all culture-building benefits aside, LSP promises to be a fascinating method of improving relationships, communication, and achievement in an organisation. It is little wonder why LEGO continues to pique the interest of the biggest names in the industries – winning hearts from playrooms to boardrooms and perhaps for generations to come. 

 

StrengthsAsia has helped many individuals and corporate clients throughout the region empower leaders by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you wish to learn more about building a culture of engagement with the Lego Serious Play Program, please reach out to us here.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

Aly is StrengthsAsia’s marketing and communications guru and lead editor. She's over the top inquisitive and everyone in the company knows her as “The Googler” as she practically googles everything. Honestly, we all worry for her… She is also the Principal Trainer for our one of a kind ice cream team building workshops in Asia.

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