I was recently introduced to the term “sociometry“. As it turns out, my introduction to it was a little mis-defined. If you follow the link, you will find that sociometry is basically a measurement of relationships between people. What I was introduced to has some aspects of sociometry in it. I tried it out on a team that I am coaching. Here is what we did:
1. If the members of the team have not worked closely together previously, start with introductions, name and role/experience.
2. Go around the group again, this time each person describes something about themselves that the others likely do not know. It could be something personal, like a hobby, or it could be something professional, like a previous career. The idea here is for everyone to learn something new about everyone. This usually can end up with exclamations of suprise, laughs, and general fun for the group.
3. Simple self-organizing starts with a group exercise of sociometry. The people in the team organize themselves into a line based on length of time they have been involved with the current organization/workplace/community/association. This is a fairly easy exercise since it is an easily quantifiable measure. Sometimes interesting things come up like that everyone has “been there” for a long long time, or that everyone is really new.
4. The team then does another sociometric self-organizing exercise. Here, each individual asks themselves what proportion of the creative or innovative capacity is actually put into use in their current role. How much opportunity is there to be creative? Again, the group organizes itself into a line from least creativity to most creativity. Note: this is not a self-assessment of how creative one is, just how much of one’s creativity is in use! After the group gets lined up, it is important for the facilitator to get people to describe why they placed themselves in their location and to encourage discussion around creativity in their work.