Ever wondered what goes on in a LEGO Serious Play workshop session? These transformative brainstorming sessions improve communication, decision-making, and planning for some of the biggest companies in the world- but how exactly is this achieved?
We look at the LSP process from start to finish and shine a torch on its lasting positive effects, making it a preferred method among modern business owners and thought leaders.
Facing a Complex Problem
Let’s consider the position of a global MNC. Imagine great success set in place by visionary founders, about a hundred years ago, which eventually led to the prominence of the brand. Unfortunately, modern stakeholders find themselves far displaced from the original vision. Employees are unmotivated, disengaged, and adrift – quite a far cry from its early heydays.
Research has shown that a poorly established culture is detrimental to employee engagement. As such, workers in our sample MNC are unclear about the vision, goals, and mission of their roles, which reduces their interest. Team members are scattered across the globe, leading to cultural and language barriers. Each employee views and prioritises problems differently, without alignment to a common cause.
Our sample MNC lacks a shared identity – and without one, miscommunications and vagueness abound among workers, resulting in a waste of valuable time, effort, and resources. The situation gradually escalates beyond control as productivity levels plummet with rising staff turnover – ruining a century-old establishment.
The great news is that LSP can turn this dire crisis around, through a carefully personalized process.
Lego Serious Play Intervention
Organisational leaders and their team take the first step by arranging a meeting with trained LSP facilitators. Leaders have the opportunity to share their biggest organisational woes and concerns during the initial discussion. The meeting provides LSP facilitators with the detailed information they need to customise LSP sessions that effectively address all underlying issues faced by the client MNC.
LSP is a versatile methodology that provides multiple outcomes, and facilitators need to identify the specific needs of the client to provide the best solutions. Some desired outcomes include improvements in branding, team identity, design development, and business strategy.
Lego Serious Play in Action
A Lego Serious Play workshop session uses a unique facilitation method that provides participants with the opportunity to express themselves with colourful LEGO pieces (elements).
Members from the MNC attend the daylong LSP session, which begins with answering strategic questions posed by LSP facilitators. These questions start easy and progress into more detailed queries aimed at evoking insightful responses.
The only way to answer these questions is through the assembling of LEGO models. LSP functions under the concept that the human mind reveals hidden messages when engaged at a subconscious level. Consider it a form of show-and-tell that is activated by internal thought processes.
A typical question could be something along the lines of “the first problem that comes to mind when you think of teamwork. You got four minutes, begin.”
The LSP process identifies individual concepts and ideas before uniting them under a collective framework, forming a shared identity. LSP is essentially a self-driven exercise, where facilitators oversee the quality of the session and direct the interpretation of results.
Lego Serious Play Interpretations
Facilitators engage the MNC team, to help them identify their core strengths, motives, and perspectives on an individual level before proceeding with the formation of team identity.
Each participant explains the meaning behind their models, enabling co-workers to understand them with newfound clarity. The process could ease existing tensions and remove the confusion that interfered with quality teamwork. Additionally, the team discovers the gaps and faults in their current business operations and formulate innovative solutions.
The ORID framework is a core feature of LSP sessions. ORID stands for objective, reflective, interpretive, and decisional questions.
Objective questions refer to the physical shape and design of LEGO models. What do participants see in the construct of their models? What are the visible patterns? I.e., the preference for enclosed spaces, colour combinations, etc.
Reflective questions tap on the reactive perspectives of participants. Which part of the presentation carried the most significance for you? How do you feel about the explanation? I.e., feeling anxious with the lack of trust, empathetic towards a co-worker’s sense of isolation, etc.
Interpretive questions require participants to dig deeper, in analysing the abstract notions and concepts behind a model. What is the modeler implying? What are the issues that we can infer from this presentation? I.e., marked distances between LEGO figurines may depict separation and non-cohesiveness among employees.
Decisional questions provide solutions to inferred observations. How can you improve dynamism in the workplace? How can the team facilitate improvements at a department or organisational level? I.e., opting for open office layouts that encourage greater employee involvement and discussion.
Facilitators help form shared identities by considering the opinions and contributions of each participant. Every employee has the power to make a difference by committing themselves to fulfil the vision outlined by the team.
LSP works so well because it defies the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) in traditional meetings, where only 20% of the attendees openly share their perspectives. In a crisis situation or decision-making process, organisations function best when considering the expertise and perspectives of every single person in the room.
Inclusive LSP sessions result in guiding principles that assist the team in making quick and effective decisions.
Lego Serious Play Results
The MNC struggled with a vision for over a year – LSP established a shared identity within a day. Employees from disparate backgrounds are united in the guiding principles, which keep them focused on the shared vision despite their location. Each worker carries a strong sense of ownership and purpose in contributing to the shared vision. Employees are motivated to execute and follow through with outlined plans.
Our sample MNC redefines and strengthens its values, mission, and identity, which preserves the legacy of its founders and keeps workers engaged.
LSP has helped many organisations achieve their true potential through creative problem-solving. LEGO pieces tear down the walls between culture or position, to yield transformational solutions from its workers through the timeless art of listening and learning.
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 the Lego Serious Play Program or wish to have a Lego Serious Play workshop session, please reach out to us here.