Meet Laurence Sato (Japan)
My name is Laurence Sato, living in Kanagawa, Japan. I became a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) facilitator in 2011 And after more than 10 years of time and experience since then, I became certified as a trainer in 2022. I am delighted to have this very special opportunity to contribute to the LSP Magazine. It has been 13 years since I first met LSP, and today I would like to tell you a little about my encounter with LSP and my activities to date.
Beginning of the Journey
I first came across LSP when I was managing a small recruitment company, having retired from Sony Corporation, where I had worked for nearly 10 years, to start my own business as an entrepreneur in the future. That was in 2009, I was attending business school to find the seeds of a new business in the face of steadily declining performance and a shrinking market itself, and it was there that I stumbled across LSP. The workshop was organized by Takashi Hasunuma, one of Japan’s leading LSP experts. I had no idea that there would be a connection between LEGO and business, so to be honest, I attended the workshop only half-jokingly. However, to my surprise when I attended the workshop, I was completely taken in by the magic of the LSP. I experienced the fun, depth, and power of LSP and was captivated by it. I wanted to be on the offering side, so two years later, in 2011, I became an LSP facilitator trained by the Association of Master trainers.
The Journey with LSP
Since then, I have held many small workshops for individuals on the topic of self-reflection and shared values. I have done them even at tea parties, bars, and marriage parties. Years later, after many twists and turns in my life, in 2016, I started my own company, Life Break Through Japan Inc., specializing in the provision of LSP workshops. After that, I have conducted numerous workshops, including workshops aimed at onboarding and retention of new graduates; a career development workshop for registered staff of Adecco; a workshop to share work perspectives and organizational challenges at a 100-year-old oil stove wick manufacturer; a workshop to identify organizational challenges at a U.S.-based clinical trial software developer; a workshop to personalize vision and mission at a Japanese cosmetics goods company (all 100 employees participated); a workshop at “WORK & WOMEN IN INNOVATION SUMMIT HIROSHIMA” to share learning from a keynote speech; a workshop at the Hiroshima Prefectural Bureau of Commerce, Industry and Labor to think about the future value of the bureau’s offerings; the “Real Time Strategy for the TEAM” workshop for staff operating a complex experience facility for children using a closed elementary school; a workshop to promote female leaders at a foreign software company, and so on.
The Magic Moment of LSP
One of these workshops is a recent workshop where I experienced a magic moment of LSP. The workshop was held at a major Japanese recruitment agency company and targeted 12 HRBP (Human Resources Business Partner) members in the company. The purpose of the workshop was to consider what value HRBP provides to the business unit for which each member is responsible, and what is needed for the HRBP unit to demonstrate its team capability. The HRBP unit was a relatively new department, and the request from the client was to understand the value they provide and to share that understanding with the members of the team.
The workshop was structured as follows: the 12 participants were divided into two 6-person groups.
- Skills Building
- AT1: “What value are you providing through your operations, and to whom?”
- AT2 (1st round): Building a shared model of our value proposition (in each group).
- AT2 (2nd round): Building a “super shared model” from two shared models.
- AT1: “What specific action will you take tomorrow to empower our value proposition?
As a result of the workshop, the core values of each of the 12 participants were clarified, as well as the shared values provided by the HRBP unit. Furthermore, the magic moment was that the word “will”, expressed in the model of the youngest participant, had a huge impact on everyone and was reflected in the shared model and declaration of action that followed. It was a moment when we saw the magic of LSP, how a small voice that is usually overlooked can have a huge impact in bringing about change in a place. I think this was only possible because of the LSP method, which provides a safe and secure place and allows everyone to participate 100%.
I will continue to practice workshops myself and make efforts to train such facilitators so that we can eliminate the many Lonely Guys in organizations and society and create as many moments as possible when small voices that are not usually heard have a big impact on organizations and society.