The Emperors New Clothes

Agile fairytales – playing for meaningful interactions in stressful situation

Happy EndingsFairytales have ever been used to teach us lessons in life. Agile fairytales are fairytales we all know re-told from a professional perspectives. The Emperor’s New Clothes Agile Fairytale helps to improve meaningful interactions in stressful situations and thus to reflect agile communication values. Karen Schmidt shared the concept developed by Portia Tung for the first time in Berlin during the Berlin Consulting Forum Session on May 11, 2012.

1) The Emperor’s New Clothes Agile Fairytale

Story Time
This actually is a nice exercise for both the facilitator and the participants. When was the last time you listened to a fairytale or you shared a fairytale among adults?  The fairytale story is the “classic” version, but comes with some variations (for the sake of better play). The purpose is to introduce five main characters. These characters are the “5 coping stances” people might adopt if under stress (according to the Satir model by Virginia Satir).

2)  The Emperor’s New Clothes Adventure

Getting in Adventure Mood

If you are lucky as facilitator, the participants are not falling asleep while listening to the fairytale as we sometimes did when we have been children. However, instead of hoping for luck, this chapter usually starts with a warm-up exercise. When people are mobilized, it is time to become familiar with the 5 coping stances. For that purpose, the stances are played in groups of 5 (where everybody in the group is strictly sticking to his/her non-disclosed stance). I can tell you, the atmosphere in the room during the group work is not very positive. It is exactly what you get in a stressful situation without meaningful interactions.

3) A Journey towards Congruence

The Congruence Stance

Considering the outdoor temperature in our case, but also in any other case, after 40 minutes it is the perfect time to prepare participants for a happy ending. A bit of theory and learning about congruence helps relaxing and preparing for the final chapter. And that’s been my highpoint of this afternoon as a facilitator – the next group exercise, the same stressful situation, but the energy in the room completely changed. Smiles all around, positive energy even under stress. It eventually saved our weekend feeling! We started exploring the journey towards congruence, and conversations went lively that I almost felt bad to stop the conversations of the final storytelling exercise to close the session on time. But it was the perfect ending and I hope all live happily ever after…

Thank you for playing!

And thank you, Portia Tung, for developing the idea and concept of Agile Fairytales ~ Rediscover the lessons we learned as children ~ but have since forgotten www.agilefairytales.org.

All pictures of the session on Flickr.

Author of this post and session host:

Karen SCHMIDT, Managing Director at Becota - The Berlin Consulting & Talent Association | Berlin

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