Saturday 16 December 2017

Purchasing Coach: Advent Window 16: Games

25 unconventional coaching and facilitation tools to surprise and delight
This is a bit of a cheat, as metaphor has already made it onto the advent list of fabulous coaching and facilitation tools - that is we explored what we could learn from cooking to help resolve a challenge we were facing behind window 8.  You could also say that window 4's role model exercise was also metaphor. 

There's more about why metaphors are so powerful in helping us find solutions to challenges in this post. Basically they bypass resistance and the "That wont work" long enough for us to realise there are options available to us.

In today's festive example I want to prove that solutions can be found during any every day activity.

Let's look at the family games that will be played up and down the country this festive break - the games chosen perhaps say a lot about my age too!

Before reading further think about a situation you'd like more clarity on, now put it to the back of your mind as you reflect on your own insights from the following games.


Aim of the game: to buy and trade properties and make everyone else bankrupt!

Potential insight: Perhaps we need to be more selfish in the current situation and aim to win, and not worry about other people. They're playing the game, they know the rules, everyone for themselves.

Please note: Our minds are great at bringing to our awareness the analogy that makes most sense for us at this time. So the above insight may make no sense to you, and you may think it's about something else entirely. Which is why metaphor is such a powerful tool - it's already written into the rules that it's personally relevant. 

An alternate means of using this, or any other, game to provide insight to a situation would be to play the game, and unravel the insights from each move. You may even want to ascribe each player a different role in the situation. Player A might be Procurement, Player B might be Finance, Player C other internal stakeholders and Player C suppliers. Just make notice what you notice as you play along, make notes and unpick the game at the end. How can these insights be applied to the real life situation? (Do let me know if anyone would like to try this by webex/skype early in the new year before we get too busy to even consider such playful problem solving!)

Aim: to find out who murdered who, with what and in what room!
Insight: The intention is very clear ie to find the solution. People ask questions and based on the answers make guesses, and keep going until the solution is found. This perhaps links to yesterday's advent coaching tool: Intention.

Aim: to win all the cards by noticing which 2 images on a pair are the same (Very addictive and this year's present of choice for me)
Insight: Pay attention to what's the same in this situation to other situations you've resolved in the past.


Aim: to remove bricks and keep the structure upright ie not for it to topple on your turn
Insight: things aren't as precarious as you think, take care with every move, weigh up your options 

Aim: To be the last player standing
Insight: Weigh up your options carefully, consider how this move may support the next move ie thing more long and short term  

Trivial Pursuit
Aim: to answer the most questions right across a range of areas
Insight: the best teams are those with a wider range of age, experience and interest.

Do any of the above insights provide the necessary guidance on what might enable you to find a solution for the current situation? Did any other insights come to mind for you that apply? Perhaps another game came to mind - in which case explore what opportunity that might be highlighting for you at this time.

What game will you be playing this festive break, and what insight might it's rules provide for the situation you'd like more clarity on?

NB: I did write some time ago about not playing games at work which takes this metaphor in a different direction.

Alison Smith
Unlocking procurement potential - using conventional and unconventional tools
Procurement and Business Speaker, Coach, Trainer, & Facilitator +44 (0)7770 538159

Earlier in the year I applied some of the unconventional tools shared in this series of advent posts to common procurement challenges - more here.

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