On Tuesday, the oe:gen team were joined by Rebecca Godfrey to partake in some LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. Why, you ask? Well, as our team is growing, we want to make sure everyone has a voice and is heard. We also want to make sure we can communicate and work as one team to achieve the same goals. And playing with LEGO®, turns out, is a great way to do that.
We were greeted with three tables topped with big ol’ piles of multicoloured building blocks, where we sat in teams and excitedly awaited our instructions.
The first was to demonstrate our LEGO® building-skills, and some of us were clearly better at it than others. I’m honestly not sure whether that’s because some of us have kids, or we’re just big kids ourselves. Rebecca asked us to each build a tower in under a minute, using only three colours.
Some of us took so much time building a solid, sturdy base that we didn’t have time to build the rest of the tower, some saw it purely as a height competition, and others (like me) just panicked and made some sort of vague tower chaos that would never feasibly work in real life.
The point is that each tower was different. Everyone has different perspectives and ways of working, and when they’re all laid out on the table in front of you — albeit in the form of some wonky LEGO® towers — it really is eye-opening.
Building our LEGO® skills
Next, we had to learn how to use the blocks as metaphors for other things. For example, I had to describe my best friend using building blocks of various colours, which really wasn’t easy for me under the pressure of being timed and everyone giving me their undivided attention.
And I guess that says a lot about me! I prefer the time to be thoughtful before speaking, so there wasn’t any time to think about what I was about to say. But surprisingly, it actually came out alright in the end. I remember pointing at the green block and saying something about being ‘green with envy’ over my best friend’s sense of style. If you’re reading this, Karl, don’t let it get to your head…
After this challenge, we practised telling stories with our creations. This is where we all had to build an image of something that makes us happy in life, and then tell the story of that using the blocks. Around the tables there were depictions of family, running, gardens, the seaside and more.
After this, we were asked to build something that depicts what we’re most proud of achieving this year. With these builds, we went around the table one-by-one and each told our stories. This wasn’t only a great way to practice communicating in a storytelling way, we also learnt a lot about each other in the process.
Building a business model… with LEGO®
After lunch, we started using these skills to build something a little bigger.
Rebecca asked us where we want oe:gen to be in the year 2022, and what we can do as individuals to make sure this happens, so we each built something of our own to portray this. We then put our individual builds together to create one giant business model and told the story of that model to the rest of the team.
After this, we were asked what important behaviours we think we need to put into practice to achieve this. Our answers were written on post-it notes and stuck to the wall. With these, we did a dot-vote to see which resonated most with the team. The three with the most votes were then discussed to find our core team values.
Through LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, we were able to practise important skills like active listening, creative thinking, and articulating ideas and values visually. Everyone had a voice, and everyone was heard. There wasn’t a single person who was excluded or who drifted in and out of the conversation. We were all engaged together.
This methodology not only helped us learn what’s important to each of us, but to use metaphors to articulate our shared values and goals. And we came out with actionable steps we can take to ensure we reach those goals!
We also had loads of fun while doing it. If someone told me a few years ago that I’d someday be walking into work to play with LEGO® with a team of people who basically felt like my extended-family, I’d have laughed my head off. As my colleague Mark so perfectly put it: “If Carlsberg did work days…”