Semco Style Experience Game @ Swasti
I was all excited. I was conducting the Semco Style Experience Game at Swasti Health Catalyst for their managers. This is an organization I hold in great esteem for the kind of work they are doing in the social space. So, I was excited to meet the folks who actually execute on the ground.
We had a total of 36 participants. The stage was set up the previous night. It is important to set the stage in advance because every location has its peculiarities that need to be accounted for while setting the rooms up for the game.
The participants arrived a little late. Almost a norm with Bangalore traffic. We started at 10:00 am. The game is experience-based learning, so it was action-packed with a smattering of theory and a lot of reflection. The first half of the day brought out the challenges with the hierarchical model. The teams self-organized into self-managed teams in the afternoon and could experience the benefit of doing so.
The group comprised of managers at different levels in the organization and of different maturity. While all of them understood English as a language, we had participants who spoke, and expressed themselves in at least 4 different languages and still worked extremely well with each other. The energy in the room which did not dip even after a great meal sustained throughout the day.
The reflection sessions were a great learning exercise for everyone. As the day progressed the quieter ones started opening up and the dominant vociferous ones started observing more. Discovery of hidden talent of team members excited the seniors. They had so far missed these out. The pitfalls of system blindness were realized and acknowledged and interestingly many of the seniors voiced what they were missing out and how they would make corrections. The final reflection which started with changes they wanted in the system turned quickly to changes they would make in their circle of influence. Ownership and accountability were in place! The actions were presented by the action owners in 4 different languages and promptly translated by someone in the team for everyone’s benefit. All the self-managed! Language is not a communication barrier in a cohesive self-managed team. One of the actions that caught me by surprise was a leader picking up the reflection approach itself as a take away for his team.
I guess it would have been dull and boring in the absence of a couple of guys who tried breaking the game and tried using coercion and their role at work than the assigned role. This helped bring in learnings during reflection, which would otherwise never come to bear. I hope they were also able to get some learning from the session.
At the end of the day, they came up with many actions to implement in their teams and sub-organizations. Some of the key commitments of the leaders in the room were :
- Will start trusting team members
- Will explain the WHY, will ask Why more often
- Will adopt mentoring and coaching
- Will identify the skills of team members and assign roles based on interest and skill
- Will give equal opportunity to all
- Allow for decision making by team members
- Improve appreciation and recognition
- Will try to understand concerns
- Will improve communication with all
- Will regularly carry out reflection and sharing with the team
- Will learn to say No when required
- Will provide and seek clarity
- Will create platform foe engagement across disciplines
- Will create spaces for brainstorming, create ownership of solutions
And many more not listed above. I came back satisfied after a game well facilitated with my co-facilitator Rajesh Navaneetham.