Story-Strategy, Act 2 Episode 5 – The Journey: Possibilities 2
The Walking Exercise
Around the edges of the room chairs, materials and personal belongings have been pushed aside to make space in the centre. In this central space people are walking around randomly.
Facilitator : “Walk around the room like gas molecules filling an empty space. When I clap my hands, stop and look around to see if you are evenly spaced. When I clap again, you can start walking again.”
Everyone stops. Here and there people have clumped together and in other places there are large open spaces with nobody in it. “Let’s try again, see if you can space yourself better. Oh and by the way, no talking.”
They start moving again. The third time he claps, they are spaced much better. The facilitator tests them 6 more times with varying intervals of time between each clap.
“Well done”, he says, “now you will do exactly the same thing: stop and start at the same time as a group, but without my clapping.” He waits. One guy, obviously a manager, claps and the group start moving. Facilitator: “No-one else is allowed to clap either. See if you can sense as a group when to stop and when to start.” There are whispers and sounds of reservation. “Oh, and please remember, total silence:.
They start again. Apart from a few giggles, there is silence. Seemingly as one the group starts moving. After about 5 counts, they stop. Again they start and stop. If you look carefully, you can see that every time they stop or start a different person initiates the action. It becomes quieter and quieter in the room. You can hear a pin drop. “Well done” says the facilitator, turn to the person closest to you and share with them what was interesting about this exercise.”
What was different between the two rounds: 1. When I clapped, and 2. When there was no clapping?”
Some answers: The second time, there was no hierarchy.”
“The first time I was in my own head, the second time, I noticed everyone else”.
“WE shared control without being dominated”.
“We feel into a natural rhythm and I could begin to anticipate when we would stop or go. The first time, we were at your mercy.”
Having created the gap with his two rounds, the facilitator moves in to give the Call to Adventure: What if it could work more like the second time in your company…?
When you want someone to buy into a new idea, one of the steps you take is to let them dream of new possibilities. You paint a picture of what it can be like if they accept your ideas/model/product.
The same thing happens when Cinderella gets an invitation from the prince to his ball. People begin to hope that things can be different in a good way – that just maybe their dreams can come true.
What happens in the brain when people dream of new possibilities?
Why does the brain like to hope?
The answer lies in the effect expectation of reward has on the brain. Hope is an expectation of something positive being fulfilled in the future. This expectation of reward releases dopamine into your brain, the same stuff that gets released when you laugh and exercise.
What is extra interesting here, says Dr. Ward Plunet, is that studies show people with higher status is mmore prone to hope in relation to people in lower status positions. This is because they have more hope of getting the pick of the crop in terms of food, shelter and sexual partners. A sense that you have power to choose then adds to the feeling of autonomy and certainty that you will not go hungry, cold or deprived.
If you therefore combine this step in Story-Strategy with Applied Improvisation games (see ImprovSense) that increase Status, Certainty and Aautonomy (SCARF model), the effect of your invitation to dream and hope for a better future triples.