Surprise Yourself – Play with Metaphors!

Posted on March 26, 2018

Build a model to show the kind of leader you like working with. A person who gets the best out of you…”

This was the challenge we set a group of individuals after offering them a handful of bricks from our new LEGO®SeriousPlay® kit to play with.

As you will see, using the LEGO® bricks to build visual metaphors was a fascinating process that enabled the group to explore the perceptions, values and meanings they attribute to leadership.

“A leader I enjoy working with is strong, unique and firm, respected and compassionate. Not set in his or her ways but is adaptable.”

“The kind of leader that gets the best out of me is a leader that helps the team to work together even if they are all different. This leader balances and mediates everyone.”

“The kind of leader that gets the best out of me is a leader that helps the team to work together even if they are all different. This leader balances and mediates everyone.”

“A leader I enjoy working with is one who has similar interest and tastes as me, and who enables me to be my best”

So what makes working with metaphors so surprising?

Our minds work in complex ways, and explaining certain concepts, feelings or ideas directly can at times be challenging. Metaphors help us to understand things at a deeper level by revealing the hidden connections and associations we unconsciously make between things based on our context, culture or personality. As the designer of the Model 2 reflected…

“I didn’t start with a set idea but drew inspiration from what was there. Using the bricks to represent my ideas brought out what was in my subconscious.”

Metaphors also help us to see things in a different way. And when we see things in a different way new solutions or understandings can reveal themselves. As the designer of the Model 1 reflected…

“I surprised myself with what my model revealed to me. I didn’t realise quite how important humour in a leader was to me until I felt a big pull to put hats on the elephant and penguin. It felt like the model wouldn’t have been complete without that aspect.”

Using LEGO® to explore ideas through visual metaphors allows leaders to turn what is in their imagination into 3D models that everyone can engage with and reflect on together. It is a fun, insightful and impactful process that enables leaders to think visually, tell stories and access knowledge that lives within the body. As the designer of Model 4 stated…

“This process really helps you to understand yourself in a non-explicit way. I wouldn’t have come up with this understanding about leadership without having experienced myself be instinctively pulled to the bricks. Because I was drawn to the specific bricks, a narrative appeared as I started to build with them.”

LEGO®SeriousPlay® facilitates learning at the level of head, heart and hands while fostering collaboration- all in the spirit of curiosity and play.

We’d love to hear from you and we can share more about our LEGO®SeriousPlay®leadership development programs!

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