Lego Culture (spoiler alert!!)


Towards the end of last week I was starting to think there’s a lot in the world of twitter & blogs that bemoans the sorry state of work, people, leaders…..(including some of my own tweets and posts!).

Of course, being challenging of what we see around us is an important part of growing, changing and improving so that we create an always-better future. But I started feeling that I wanted to switch into a more positive mode for my next post. And, as if by magic, my inspiration came from going to see the Lego movie this weekend!

The movie itself is fairly average and mildly amusing. But that’s not the key thing about it. (The kids enjoyed it by the way, so please take your’s if you’re at a loose end, maybe if it’s raining or something!)

The premise of the movie is that the baddy Lego person (Lord Business) wants to control everything. He wants everything built exactly to the instructions that are provided. And he wants each of the Lego ‘realms’ kept separate (the pirate realm, the Wild West realm, etc). This is to ensure the Lego people can’t mess up each other’s realms with stuff that doesn’t belong there – because that would be against the rules!!!

So the baddy wants to deal with this once and for all by super-gluing everyone and everything so he has the ultimate control and things will be kept exactly how they should be – forever!

The goodies are the master builders. These are the Lego people who are able to build anything from the pieces around them – taking bits from their ‘proper’ place to build something new – without *gasps* instructions!!!

The star of the movie is Emmet. He’s an ordinary construction worker who follows all of Lord Business’s rules, and especially loves the ‘Everything is Awesome’ song that Lord Business ensures is played all the time. He fits in so well to Lord Business’s controlled world that nobody pays him any attention – there’s absolutely nothing unique about him.

Then……one day………he falls down a big hole on the construction site and discovers a special piece that isn’t like any other Lego piece. Turns out, this piece is the lid of the super-glue and therefore it’s the only way to stop Lord Business in his evil tracks. The prophecy says that Emmet is ‘The Special’ and is a master builder who has come to save them all!!! Of course, he’s not a master builder, he’s a rule-follower, and so then everyone thinks he’s a fraud – not ‘a special’ in any way – and therefore that he’ll never be able to save the world.

So begins his bumpy journey to convince people that he can lead them to freedom!

Luckily, Emmet has someone who believes in him, who tells him “Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Just focus on what’s special about you.” And who tells him that, with some training, he too can become a master builder.

Funnily enough he never gets his ‘official’ training because some baddies come to get him – instead he has to dive in and just start doing. First of all, he’s pretty rubbish but over time he keeps trying and, when he builds his first thing that actually becomes useful his self belief grows – as does the belief of those around him.

At one stage, he shows the master builders that, as much as they are brilliant at what they do, they work independently of each other, because they’re so desperate to make sure their own unique building style is captured in whatever’s being created. But by combining their unique skills and creativity with the teamwork that him and his construction buddies use, they can be even more amazing and build even better stuff than they did before.

You’ll be surprised to hear that after much excitement and adventure, and with (of course) a little love story running alongside, they do defeat Lord Business and get the lid back on the super-glue!!!

Pretty formulaic ending right?

Well, yes, except that rather than destroy the baddy, Emmet tells him that he’s amazing and special and that he too can do incredible things. He shows Lord Business the fantastic things that the Lego people from all the different realms have built, by coming together as a team to save the world. Given some space and encouragement, they’re a pretty innovative bunch!!

And so they all live happily ever after 🙂

So that culture you want in your organisation…..
– the one where everyone is believed in, ‘a special’ in their own right
– the one where different teams and departments (aka realms) come together and share
– the one where creativity and teamwork come together to create more than could ever have been done before
– the one where people learn by giving stuff a go, making mistakes and learning fast

Lego have shown that this is most definitely possible!!!!

So are you leading this change? Do you have someone who believes in you, despite what others say, to make it happen?

If you don’t, who is that going to be? And when are you going to talk to them?

I wish you well on your adventure and would love to hear how it goes!

[Photo Credit

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