If you were to describe your workplace symbolically, I wonder what you would come up with. Recently, in one of my team workshops a group created a train that was off track with none of the carriages being joined together. Another group described the organisation as a ship that had no captain or compass and were just sailing in the rough seas and another team created a house on fire.
What was great about this process is that they were able to have conversations in a safe way that would usually end in conflict, defensiveness and blame. The strong metaphors safely acknowledge what is happening in an externalised way so that things can be discussed and worked through .
The fun, interactive process has each team member contributing to the symbolism and having important conversations while creating.
Once we acknowledge whats happening, we then look at how each individual, the team and the organisation moves forward.
For instance with the house on fire, we discussed how the fire started, why there are continous spot fires, where/who are the firefighters, how do we put in safety measures so that the fire doesn’t start again etc.
Symbolism and metaphor can describe so much and is useful whether the team culture is positive or not. Through this method, many conversations have been facilitated that addresss conflict, celebrate what is going well, connect, look at how to manage company expansion as well as getting a barometer of how the team is travelling.