My Lonely Guy

My Lonely Guy
dinsdag 10 oktober 2017 - It was in the early days of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® that the developers of the method talked about the lonely Guy. The lonely Guy became a metaphor for all employees

“..who see corporate plans as someone else's plan, who see corporate goals as someone else's ideas, who sit at tables in boardrooms, conference rooms or lunch rooms and listen to others doing all the talking” (The Gazette, dec 2015). The method to be developed should give the lonely guy a voice.

As the years passed by the Lonely Guy kept his meaning to those who knew the story from the start. At the same time more people were trained by the Association of Master trainers as a facilitator and the Lonely Guy evolved into a story, part of the training … a story from the old days. Although ... the story became really important to me again, when I met him, the lonely guy, in one of my workshops.

I worked with a group of people very dedicated to their job. They started their job a long time ago as one for live and with their dedication in a way they became their job. Their professionalism was huge, they loved what they did. But then modernization came in and their craftsmanship was taking over by computers. The work to be done manually became less, jobs where at stake. Of course the company made sure that some could leave on early retirement, a few new ones with temporary contracts found their way out. I entered a workshop with almost 30 people, they felt trapped. After years of dedication, never causing a problem they were now in the center of all attention.

The goal for that day .. let people create new perspectives to become employable again. The challenge ..to get people involved and make them more responsible for their working live. The idea …to make such a serious goal, accessible for the employees who focused on / became their profession for so many years.

Let’s play. Play as a way to get people involved, no real barriers because everybody knows about the LEGO® bricks. Let’s communicate. We use the bricks to let people built, create and tell stories. And let’s make a serious challenge accessible by taking it a step at the time.

So we kicked of the workshop and the participants created great models about who they are as part of their team, they received compliments from other team members and started to talk about their talents inside and outside their work. It was great … sometimes a bit emotional for them and even one of the participants said (and I will never forget him): “these bricks start talking to me”.

In a way these people started realizing they had a voice and they could speak up.

At a point during the workshop I had to invite them to work together and start sharing ideas. Ideas about opportunities, about insights, about possibilities to create something they could establish. I gave them the challenge of building a new perspective for their future. Now this was hard for them!! This challenge was maybe aiming a bit too high. Their thoughts were still like: the future was either within the company although the requirements changed for their job, but still some could stay. Or the future was …. a big question mark.

Then after creating a model together, still focused on the internal organization, there was this little man. A nice, quiet, gentle person, 50+ and obvious the anonymous type. He had build his model and it was his turn to tell his story. He added a bridge to the model …a bridge to the outside world.

And it was a special bridge …. only accessible for those who knew their talents. He added that bridge to his former model in which his talents where captured. He visualized what nobody thought off …he visualized an opening, a new perspective … he, the little man, created a new perspective.

This man became the representative of my lonely guy. He wasn’t seen, mentioned or even noticed before, he was one of the many employees, anonymous. It was by facilitating a process with this LEGO SERIOUS PLAY methodology, that he started playing and stood up for himself.

And it was this man who made the difference that day ..too himself and his colleagues. 

“LEGO®, SERIOUS PLAY®, the Minifigure and the Brick and Knob configurations are trademarks of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this article.

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