Avoiding ‘Lean Back’ and ‘Tune Out’ in Meetings & Workshops

For many organisations, their ‘people’ are one of their most valuable assets. So, why waste what they have to offer in terms of ideas, planning and contribution when it comes to meetings, workshops and brainstorm sessions?

How often do we really give much thought to the format of these types of meetings? All too often, we might be exploring real business issues such as brand building, accelerating innovation, product development, creative concepts, solving complex issues, creating shared vision, team building, cultural change or aligning teams to name a few, yet we try to make this happen in a traditional boardroom style meeting.

Of course, sometimes needs must. But the problem with that approach is that you are only really working with what you already “know that you know”. In that format access to deeper and more creative insights are pretty limited.

Sit is also my experience that not everyone present contributes equally –perhaps through a fear of being ‘wrong’ but also because some people just naturally dominate or ‘lead’. In these situations an organsiation’s total creative and innovative contribution is not fully realised.

The Flow Model modified from work done by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi in 1991, goes a long way to illustrate the point here. There’s an optimal flow state for these types of meetings that keeps people out of the boredom and anxiety zones, but aroused enough to contribute effectively.

It’s one of the reasons I love LEGO SERIOUS PLAY and have gone on to become a certified facilitator. Because when everyone is building together you can achieve 100% participation, 100% of the time.

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is a facilitated thinking, communication and problem solving technique used by teams, individuals and organisations. Based on the concept of ‘hand knowledge’ it draws on extensive research from the fields of business, organisation development, psychology and learning.

If you’re thinking at this point, that this all sounds a little juvenile, then consider this.

  1. 70-80% of our brain’s nerve endings are connected to our hands
  2. We become emotionally committed to things we build ourselves. Now, isn’t that something you might find useful in your organisation?

It is used by major organisations all over the world to explore real issues and challenge themselves through metaphor. And don’t worry LEGO building skills are not important! The meaning has way more value than the model, and LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshops focus on the message not the messenger. This also means that there can be no ‘wrong’ answers, indeed there may be no single ‘right’ answer.

It’s simply about building shared models, telling stories and reflecting. Better still, it creates a platform where some businesses can “discuss the undiscussable” and where individuals are given the space to think before they contribute. This is one of the reasons why LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshops are able to bond groups and align teams.

For more information about LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshops, feel free to message me.