If you haven’t heard about LEGO Serious Play, now is the time to find out more. Most of us remember playing with LEGO bricks as a child, or at least some other form of brick or block building toys. It’s always been fun to put LEGO models together, and most parents secretly love getting involved with their children’s LEGO playtime even as they get older!
That’s just one of the reasons LEGO Serious Play is so popular as a business performance improvement tool. But, it’s more than just a team-building course. These interactive sessions encourage everybody to contribute and help people learn a lot about their colleagues. A range of learning comes out of each session, including communication, problem-solving and decision-making.
Here’s all you need to know about LEGO Play, and how it can help improve the employee experience.
What is LEGO Serious Play?
LEGO Serious Play is an experiential process aimed at improving business performance. However, it’s not like any other training course or seminar. The sessions are facilitated, and participants are guided through a series of questions which get more involved as the session goes on. Each person uses LEGO bricks to respond to the questions, and these models serve as a basis for group discussion, decision-making, problem-solving and information sharing.
While it’s serious business, it’s also a lot of fun, and people love getting hands-on and showing their creative side. However, even if not everybody is particularly creative, they’re still basically speaking the same language through model-building. The sessions are designed this way, to bring groups together and improve communication.
What types of businesses can benefit from LEGO Serious Play?
Absolutely all businesses can benefit from LEGO Serious Play in Australia! That’s the beauty of it. Because the facilitated sessions don’t relate specifically to the tasks you do at work every day, it’s a completely universal program. From supermarket workers to corporate businesspeople, everybody can benefit from LEGO Serious Play.
The ultimate goal of the program is to improve business performance. However, participants are taken out of the business mindset. The course focuses on communication, creativity, problem-solving and many more ‘soft skills that transfer well into any line of work.
What are the benefits of LEGO Serious Play?
There are a huge number of benefits to LEGO Serious Play. It’s a fun activity, so it brings people together in a stress-free environment but explores some very useful skills that transfer into everyday work life. Essentially, there is a lot of storytelling involved. Also, problem-solving. So, it gives people a chance to develop their skills in a setting that doesn’t even feel like a training session.
Here are just a few of the key benefits of LEGO Serious Play.
LEGO Serious Play is a very hands-on experience, with people contributing to each activity in a creative way. There are so many creative people out there, but let’s face it, many workplaces don’t routinely encourage creativity. LEGO Serious Play aims to change that. Everybody can get creative, and that can flow back into everyday life at the office.
Imagine the progress you could make if people were encouraged to come up with creative solutions to business-related issues. The most innovative companies in the world get where they are because they’re not afraid to try new things, so that’s a trait that every business should strive for.
As a leader, you may notice a creative side of people that you’ve never seen before, and that could even prompt you to consult with them more regularly on problem-solving matters. As a result, those employees feel more valued and understand that their ideas can have a major impact on their employer.
Making everybody equal
In the LEGO Serious Play session, there are no leaders and underlings. Just colleagues. Everybody is on equal footing, and everybody has a chance to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Managers can get involved in the fun, of course, but they essentially remove their leadership hat for the duration of the course. In these sessions, everybody’s contributions are equally valued.
The flow-on effect of this can be significant in a workplace. If you have a number of employees who aren’t comfortable sharing ideas or speaking up, they can gain more confidence through these activities. You may find employees more willing to contribute, and the sessions may even open your eyes to the unique skills of certain people that you never knew existed.
More willingness to make mistakes and learn
Many LEGO Serious Play participants find that playing with bricks is a reasonably low-stakes activity. Because you’re essentially dealing with hypothetical situations, people are more willing to contribute ideas and make mistakes. In essence, there are no wrong answers when it comes to LEGO Serious Play activities, so even if an idea doesn’t work out, the employee knows that no damage has been done.
Even though they’re working in a fun environment, this learning translates well to everyday work. Generally, making mistakes and learning from them is a great way to build capability and skills, yet many people are too scared to try something or contribute ideas for fear of failure. LEGO activities can help to break down those fears.
Learn more about your colleagues
There’s a personal aspect to LEGO Serious Play too, which is great for learning about the people you work with. Many of the activities require people to use bricks to tell a story, often about themselves. You can see how different team members approach problems, and how they solve them. Basically, you’re asked to try and experience a situation through someone else’s eyes. In fact, there’s a brick model in front of you, so there’s a real visual aspect to people’s thoughts and ideas.
Many participants find that LEGO serious Play helps to strengthen bonds with co-workers, improves understanding and empathy towards others and also helps people to see things from a different perspective.
Creating a common language
One of the great things about LEGO Serious Play is the unique way in which people communicate throughout the process. Of course, there is real discussion – participants don’t need to sit in silence and use LEGO bricks to communicate. However, everybody is using the same tools to contribute thoughts and ideas. In that sense, everyone speaks the same language and nobody feels left out.
LEGO Serious play helps people to tell a story through their brick model building, and because it’s visual, other participants can see their responses clearly. Discussion and explanations often follow, and it’s a great way to tap into how people think and communicate. The flow-on effect, of course, is that people become more open to listening.
Being able to see things from another person’s point of view is a skill that needs to be learned over time. Many people are set in their own ideas. Similarly, people often jump to conclusions about what a colleague may say or think before even giving them a chance. This sort of thinking does nothing to promote a healthy exchange of ideas.
During a LEGO Serious Play session. Everybody is given a specific opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. During certain problem-solving parts of the session, everyone will see a different perspective on the problem, and indeed a different way to find a solution. There will certainly be disagreements and differing views, but the beauty of this program is you can have those discussions without treading on people’s feelings.
Overall, LEGO Serious Play provides businesses with huge benefits, but perhaps the most significant is the impact on the employee experience. Staff can finish a session feeling more engaged, more valued, and more willing to contribute their ideas in a healthy, professional way. In terms of building a great, innovative culture and a workplace where people want to work, LEGO Serious Play is a great place to start.