It’s what you don’t see that sometimes matters the most

In a recent client engagement, I used Lego® Serious Play® (LSP) to get  the right tone and focus flowing for a series of one-on-one interviews with the executives of a company. The group were highly creative and I thought this would be a great way to get at the heart of what was really going on. As expected, it worked like a charm.

Using a single LSP Starter Kit, I started the session with a simple question: What does your company look like right now? What is the ‘state of the nation’? With a little bit of awkwardness and uncertainty, the building began. After a couple of minutes any anxiety about the process was gone – all that existed were their stories.  There was a clear thread that ran through all the models.

Towards the end of the one hour interview, the closing question was: What will your company look like in three years’ time if you undertook this strategic change? Again, a core similarity that was useful for me beyond words: a simple tale of the foundation as scaffolding for the new stage of growth. The new was not an abandonment of the past but the augmentation of what had been done before.

Or was it? Was it a shared crutch that these executives should move away from?  A more in-depth LSP process would certainly unpack that issue. And knowing what I know about LSP, it would fundamentally shift the team in the right direction. This is not  play….this is SERIOUS play!

One very interesting insight arose after the session had ended for one executive. As we were chatting after his session, he sifted through the pile of Lego goodness in front of him, discovering all kinds of delightful pieces he had not seen before. “Where were these when I was building?” he asked, “Why did I miss these? Does it mean something?”

LSP processes always mean something. In a rush to get his model finished, all that he looked for in the pile were bricks that could get him to the end result the fastest. In so doing, he missed all the more interesting opportunities. Was this a life long challenge for him across all areas of life? Absolutely.

 

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