David K. Hurst used Leadership Metaphor Explorer in Washington DC last week with a global corporate client, and we are glad to have this report. Thanks David!
His full post: Exploring Leadership Using Metaphors | David K. Hurst. Here’s an excerpt:
Last week I spent a day-and-a-half with a group of senior managers from a large global company discussing leadership. The company faces all the challenges one might expect it to face – globalization, digitization, cross-cultural difficulties and so on in a VUCA world i.e. one that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.
“Our topic was leadership and our medium was metaphor. A few weeks ago I blogged about the role and power of metaphors in management and the original meaning of the word – from the Greek meta (beyond) and pherein (carry). Our detailed sub-topics were “setting direction”, “building alignment” and “creating commitment” and we began by outlining the challenges the company faces using the well-known instrument Visual Explorer, developed by David Horth and Chuck Palus at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). It consists of hundreds of images from which participants are typically asked to select one that connects with their challenge. They then discuss their images in their teams and present their thinking to the group as a whole. …
The conversations catalyzed by the LME went extremely well. There were animated discussions around each table of six, at the end of which they lined up their “before” and “after” cards in two long rows. This allowed each team to compare and contrast their views of the current situation, which they illustrated with real examples from corporate life. Some talked about their own managers as exemplars of the different leadership cultures and how important it was to understand the differences among them. They also talked about their views of the future and what would have to be done or undone to cope with the challenges.
By the time each team got to present their discussions to the plenary group they had begun to create complex narratives about where they had been, where they are now and where they must go. The five flipcharts were set up in a roughly pentagonal shape and the group of thirty managers strolled around and stood to watch the presentations on the charts. There is something extraordinarily powerful about the dynamics of this process and the addition of the LME cards and their phrases makes all the difference to what might otherwise be boring text-only presentations. The images engage the right sides of the brains of those present, keep their creative juices flowing and the conversations light, which allows one to tackle the most difficult of topics. … [end excerpt]