Friday, March 7, 2008


The power of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is incredible! It still astounds me how the use of 3D models combined with story-telling can transform a session from something mundane into an opportunity to explore and capture new ideas.
We have had such break-throughs in recent sessions that I have felt invigorated as a trainer and had the sense that yes - training can work and be an effective tool for change.
We ran a team-building session for a group where there is a division between 2 parts of the business. Groups were building walls and barriers and showing their models as silos.
The one part of the business has animosity towards the other part and did not have many people attend the session - they bailed out at the last moment with excuses.
One staff member from this section was brave enough to come.
He listened intently to what others were telling about their models and slowly his body language started to change - he removed his hooded jacket and sat forward more readily.
When it came to landscaping the common view of the team, he slowly starting talking more.
And then when it came to connecting himself into the landscaped model, he grabbed his model of himself and placed it slap bang in the middle of the whole landscape and said:
"I realise that I have to make more of an effort to connect with everyone if this is going to work."
Unbelievably big of him and what a huge step in the right direction.
Can you imagine if we could achieve this with all the groups we facilitate?
In another session, we had someone placing the green curly flag on the floor of her model - she said that this reflected the status quo of the business which is full of noxious weeds....
The language and the use of metaphor is so strong and she immediately had everyone's attention.

Monday, March 3, 2008

2008 Transport Supervisor Program Kicks Off!

Last year MCI successfully ran the first 'Transport Supervisor Program', a customised program for entry-level managers in transport and logistics. With eight full-day sessions, the course lead to the Certificate IV in Business (Frontline Management) qualification.

As one of MCI's facilitation team working on the program, it was a privilege to work with these hard-working, often neglected managers. Transport is a backbone industry of the Australian economy.

The 2007 program finished in October, this week heralds the beginning of the 2008 Transport Supervisor program. We've just run the first course day in Brisbane and Sydney. It is amazing to see how our frontline managers take to the learning process with gusto and enthusiasm!

One idea that really stood out for me as a training facilitator during our first sessions is the importance of managers having facilitation skills. Even in the transport industry, managers need to have honed their communication skills so they can run toolbox talks, get teams together to plan activities, set ground-rules and make consensus decisions in an environment not usually known for its collaborative management culture.

In our opening course for the program we discuss the importance of setting team goals. I'm reminded of the importance of involving workers to ensure team members feel a sense of involvement in organisational goals. In his book 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People', Steve Covey discusses the importance of involvement in fostering commitment and an emotional connection to the goals of an organisation. Although i think that Covey is somewhat over-quoted, that particular idea really resonates with me. The ability of frontline managers to keep team meetings informal and collaborative can really help them achieve a real sense of buy-in and ownership of the decided outcomes from their team.

I'm looking forward to learning more from our transport supervisors as we roll-out the program over the coming month and a half in all State and Territory capital cities as well as four regional centres.