The Ultimate Tool for Participative, Creative Solution-Building
Consultants know that successful client engagements virtually always depend on an open, highly-participative environment. Success always depends in part on people sharing their experiences, their perceptions and volunteering ideas.
When you add a Metaphor Mapping exercise into your workshop plan, it guarantees people will be on their feet, listening to others, relating their experiences, thinking up new ideas, building on the ideas of colleagues, making sure the whole fits together and jointly committing to make their ideas become reality. Hundreds of workshops across the world have produced millions of dollars of savings by bringing the passion of groups to bear on their toughest problems.
Following are some examples of how you, as a consultant, meeting facilitator or trainer might employ these tools.
Workshop Process / Leadership
Generate Some Enthusiasm!
All workshop facilitators want group members to participate enthusiastically. Forming sub-groups that “tell stories” with stickers is a sure winner in this regard– and hundreds of workshops have given consistent testimony. Insights, inspiration and teaming are also a sure thing.
But the metaphor languages can bring even more – Ownership and commitment. The workshop facilitator can ensure this by taking a “less is more” approach- being invisible in regard to the subject matter of the workshop. She or he must stick to the process only. No directing thinking – no thought leadership. A metaphor language workshop brings a group together to decide its own best course of action – it is not a vehicle for a consultant/facilitator to give advice. The less you know about the topic and the less you do, the better the outcome.
When participants look to the facilitator for interpretations of symbols or ideas, they are not relying on themselves and their colleagues. They don’t take small personal risks that make them own assessments and solutions and they lose the opportunity to demonstrate their trust in colleagues. If the facilitator is also an expert in topic being worked, it’s best for an associate to lead the parts of the session.
Because metaphor languages stimulate lateral thinking, they have also been successfully used as vehicles for teaching creative thinking and innovation.