What happens when a cutting edge social media advertising service is struggling to find the right path in their vision and aspirations to design the future? They turn to LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) for a look ahead!

To set the stage for our 4 hour session in Washington DC, we met with leadership to identify the right places to focus on for our workshop.  During the interview process our team uncovered a couple of issues they were facing that would make for an ideal LSP event.

The first potential topic was deciding on the direction the companies Solutions, Intelligence and Data products should take in the future and how to keep ahead of the competition with “killer apps”

The second issue was one many companies face; the IT team and the marketing folks had different languages and priorities. We needed to overcome the frequent miscommunications that commonly exist between Business and IT.

Our team came up with a two-tier approach to address both issues under the banner of one LSP session. Using the technical skills building exercises we examined on team communications while we prepared them for what was to come. We purposely divided the teams into a mix of IT and Business at each of the two tables.

After the Tower and Imaginopedia builds we asked the teams to modify their models to tell a story about their work that motivated them. Our purpose was to help the others find shared meaning and commonality of their teammates passion for their work. It was fun and informative to watch the teams discover that they had so much in common regardless of their roles. It was clear we were beginning to break down communication barriers and get the team comfortable in sharing their individual perspectives.

Moving forward we took the teams to the next step by asking them to build a model of what would be missing if they were no longer there. It was potentially a risky question as the intersection of personality’ self image and emotional intelligence were all in play. However, the beauty of LSP is that it creates a safe environment for sharing and makes sure the focus is all about the models and individuals. As the share proceeded, some very interesting insights came to light on how the teams viewed their contributions to the company and its ongoing activities. There was some initial hesitation but as the teams shared their stories with humor and humility the process was very successful and the teams came together to form a cohesive group.

Next, we asked them to turn their focus to build a model to explain their perspective on what it means to be a high performing team.

From there we combined the individuals models into a shared model of a high performing team using the one element they thought most important for them to support the shard vision. We gave them a half hour to combine, mingle, modify and most importantly – share a common vision. After the two teams cross-shared their visions (and discovered many similarities) we tasked them to create “agents” to depict things they needed more or less of in order to make the shared vision a reality.

At this juncture, everyone worked together to assemble a plan for implementation of the new discoveries and prioritizing the follow-up steps.

Using the grid, the team systematically prioritized which elements to act on first, whether it was something internal or external, their shared vision had become a reality. Through sharing and negotiation a plan was put in place to compete the picture.


In the next installment we talk about the second phase of the LSP session: Post Card from the Future!


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