Have you ever faced this situation?

“I know my team are thinking things they aren’t saying.  If only they would share their real opinions…”

“We’re spending time in meetings talking about what people feel CAN be discussed rather than what NEEDS to be discussed.”

“We’re side stepping around the real issues – it’s so frustrating!”

Sounds familiar?

Too often, discussion on the truth of an organisation is hampered by concerns about consequences, individual reputation and allocation of blame.  At the ASE we have a range of techniques to address this.  One technique is to use stories and role playing to communicate a problem/solution – we call this a Legends report out.

Role play is often perceived as trivial, but a well-executed Legends session can get to the nub of an issue and unlock a wealth of ideas in a way that weeks of regular meetings might never achieve.

Why does this work. Could Darth Vader or Little Red Riding Hood really help explore challenging business issues?

When individuals in an organisation are taking on different characters/scenarios, each team member is no longer acting as just an individual employee. The business situation becomes de-personalised.  It reduces the fears of repercussions or reputation; these are left at the office, allowing honest appraisal and freedom to think.

It is far easier for Darth Vader on the Death Star to criticise an existing business model rather than an individual himself especially if the business model was created by the individual’s boss!

Ultimately story telling creates more positive energy during the session. It is also more likely to stick in people’s minds for a long time thereafter, and provides a language to discuss ongoing.

So the next time you get radio silence when you know there’s an issue, consider the use of Legends as a positive way to unlock it.  And remember, if you can’t have fun with a problem, you won’t solve it…