Getting out of our heads

Here’s another extract from Viv‘s and my forthcoming little book which presents a few of our favourite ideas about working with people as facilitators and trainers. You can now download it here

image-0014Getting out of our heads

Many of the challenges we face are complex and will not yield to mere analysis.

Meeting them has more in common with learning to ride a bike than solving a puzzle. You don’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book. You need practice and a willingness to explore.

As the saying goes, it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting.

This is brilliantly demonstrated in Tom Wujec’s Marshmallow Challenge. Tom goes round the world with a set of sticks and marshmallows. He dishes these out to all sorts of groups of people. The challenge is to build the tallest structure possible with these materials. Typical managers spend their time in a talkfest, trying to work out the answer. Kindergarten kids just get stuck in, trying building stuff. The kids usually get taller and more creative structures.

It’s tempting to favour clever-sounding analysis over practical action. Trainers who fall in love with explaining things risk falling into the trap.

Many challenges need to be explored in three dimensions, not in analysis. Explore what’s possible through action and experiment.

You can download the whole book here

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