Lessons from Lego



Over Christmas there was an interesting programme on the story of Lego which looked at the history of the company and how it has evolved over 80+ years.  In some instances there was a planned strategy and in others, decisions made almost cost them the business.

So what can be learned from their story?

1932 – Lego was ahead of the curve with other toys of the time and since in being able to provide inventive play using bricks that could be used in a multitude of ways =  Excel in your core business and have a good base product

1962 – The introduction of the rubberised “wheel” meant that suddenly the possibility of building something that moved opened up a whole new option for inventive play – and left its competitors who had static playbricks were left standing, literally! = Keep evolving

1969 –  the launch of Duplo – the lego brick for the younger generation who were able to engage with the product at an early age and by the time they graduated to the smaller bricks, were loyal customers = build on your customer base

1975 – English becomes the official Corporate language – a sensible move as this year saw the American procurement market established = do what’s right for your business particularly in long term planning

1977 – Lego Technic – for the loyal older customer who wanted a challenge for more complex builds = evolve, build on your customer base, do what’s right in the long term…..oh wait, haven’t we heard this before?

1982 – Celebrating 50 years of business with all staff =  recognising your valuable assets and making your teams feel valued and part of the business.

1996 – Legoland Windsor opens = moving into new markets and expansion

1998 – New brand statement – “Just Imagine” = don’t get stuck in a rut and grasp opportunities to adapt and flex your message

2000 – in talks with Steven Spielberg about a Lego Film – BUT also posts a DKK 1 Billion deficit – something needs to be done to halt the financial slide! = Not everyone gets it right all the time. Be brave and tackle the root cause of the problems

2004 – Jørgen Vig Knudstorp as new CEO of the company – the first CEO not to be a member of the family =   The ability to look take a long hard look at what’s not going right and put in place corrective measures.  How hard must that conversation have been with family members?

2005 – The new CEO implements a 5 year strategy plan – undoubtedly difficult decisions and meetings to be held to halt the slide and re-focus on what is great about the company and return to its roots of first class imaginative play for all ages = What is the core business?

2005/6 – The LEGOLAND parks are sold to Merlin Entertainments. The parent company of the LEGO Group – KIRKBI – buys a share of Merlin Entertainments. Today KIRKBI owns approx. one third of Merlin. The LEGO Group posts a profit again. The company is back on track = Difficult decisions aren’t the end of the world

2013 – The strong growth continues and the LEGO Group presents very satisfactory annual results. In less than10 years, the company has quadrupled its revenue = you need to allow time for changes to be implemented and take effect.  Knee-jerk solutions are not solutions!

2016 – planned changes in leadership succession planning is in place and starts to take effect =  succession planning for all roles is essential to provide a stable and smooth transition helps to ease the organisation and market worries about change.

If you would like to discuss any support for staff development as part of your strategy, Key account management for those valued customers, help with the finances, team building, or any other lessons from LEGO, please do contact us and Keith will be delighted to come out and have a chat about how Athelbrae can help.  01892 832059 or email kate@athelbrae.co.uk or keith@athelbrae.co.uk



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