Lego Serious Play is hard fun

I just returned from a week of training in the LEGO Serious Play method with Rasmussen Consulting

It was amazing to say the least and I can't wait to start facilitating workshops!

We began the week as a group of individuals from many different backgrounds, experiences and industries. Entering the  room, we were met with a long "U" shaped tables covered in nearly every kind of LEGO brick imaginable.  This was our debrief table and we all built, took apart, modified and played with these LEGOs non stop for the next 4 days.

A second set of tables were set up to be our landscape for Serious Play. The rest of the room was lined tables filled to overflowing with LEGOs, DUPLOs connectors, gears, little people and every other kind of LEGO creation ever made. We built models of people, places, things, fears, strengths, opportunities, roadblocks- you name it we built it. Then we would talk about what they represented and share the stories behind the models. It was a safe and fun place to  work out our plans where we focused on the models, not the others in the room. Unlike every other meeting or training session I've ever been in, where some people participated more than others (or not at all) this involved 100% of  the group giving 100% of their focus towards building shared models, negotiating changes, coming to consensus and evolving a view of the topic at hand, and it was hard work.


As the week came to a close we found we were no longer the same group of individuals but had morphed into a team with a shared interest, goal and vision (not to mention a model) of how to use LEGO Serious Play in our professional lives. We designed plans for our first workshops until 10 PM on Friday night. We used each other as sounding boards, mentors, coaches, counselors and ultimately became a network of friends with a common experience and perspective on the power of this facilitation tool.

If you've never heard of it, I highly recommend you take a look. You will never have so much fun, working so hard, and achieving results that will amaze you.

Train IT will be adding these sessions to our list of available consulting services. If you're interested in a conversation drop me a note and I'll tell you more about this experience and see if it could help you, your team or company achieve amazing results. 

SAFe Training at Genworth's Campus

Our first training class is in the books and it was a resounding success.  Thank you Genworth for providing a wonderful venue!  The participants consisted of folks from a variety of firms around town who return to work equipped with a sound foundation in Leading SAFe.  Our instructors brought fresh ideas and an approach towards training that resonated with everyone.  As an observer for the 2 day workshop I took note of a few highlights that I would like to share:

Our instructors, Vickie Figaro and Joe Snyder, know their stuff!  They are very entertaining and engaging and complimented each other well.  It kept the class lively and full of energy.  They used their combined experiences in doing Agile to tailor the discussions and examples to scenarios which made it much easier for the students to firmly grasp the concepts.

Some of you may not know, I come from a teaching background.  Nothing as sexy as Agile/SAFe.  My speciality was Drivers Education, P.E and Math - I was a high school teacher in another life.  With that said, watching Vickie and Joe opened my eyes to a really fresh brand of collaboration and idea generation from instructors.  They co-taught the entire class as opposed to predetermined hand-offs between instructors.  It led to very adaptive discussions amongst everyone that often resulted in meaningful, substantive dialogue.  The collaborative teaching approach also helped when the two of them could bring different perspectives to bear on questions, scenarios and learning opportunities.

I enjoyed the fact that Joe and Vickie do not lecture as much as lead the class in detailed discussions.  They were often looking to the class members to help answer each others questions to build a team atmosphere geared towards problem solving.

I also observed a mixture of strategic thinking and strategic actions being presented to the course materials born out of a wide range of practical experience in Government and Private sector engagements.  I feel relevant, real-world examples provide the best path to learning; at least thats how I'm wired.  Now, after 2 days of observation doesn't mean I am a Scaled Agilist! However, I can say, without a doubt in my mind, Vickie and Joe are outstanding at what they do!  Hope to see you at the next class RVA!