Viv has a great post about games and their shadow side. It includes a good example where facilitators are just too eager to create supposedly high energy games when they’re really not a good idea.
But Viv and I are both fond of games and see a lot of value in the right place. And this is an interesting point.. in a sense we are always playing some kind of game:
Lots of times games are not necessary. Yet time and again, I’m seeing groups playing a different game – with me, and with each other. They are doing and saying what’s expected, using language to obsfucate rather than clarify, staying abstract and safe – and all the while sounding very grown up. In fact, they’re staying safe. They are not stepping to the edge of their knowledge or awareness, they are not taking risks (even when they espouse that they are a real risk-taking company) nor are they willing to be vulnerable. Oh, there’s all sorts of reasons why – and that’s part of a facilitator’s role – to unearth some of these undercurrents, to be compassionate and also nudge people just a little towards new thinking, new behaviours, new ideas. Otherwise, it’s business as usual in a different location. a change of scenery, but nothing else changes.