LEGO Bricks and I go a long way back.
As a boy growing up in the mid-60’s, LEGO play sets were a treat at our church. After we completed our Sunday School lesson, and if we had any free time, and if the weather wouldn’t allow outside play, our teachers would bring out a big box of LEGO Bricks and let us have at it.
When I became a parent in the early 80’s, it wasn’t long before the first of dozens of LEGO sets appeared. Over the years, our four children (now 35, 31, 27, and 23) were the recipients of LEGO play sets with themes like Castles, Undersea Adventures, Cities, and of course, Star Wars. For some reason, our second son was captivated by the Star Wars universe, especially LEGO sets with a Star Wars theme. Even at age 31 and in the Air Force, he still manages to acquire a new LEGO set every Christmas (my wife and I – guilty as charged!).
With 4 grandchildren now part of our extended family, the LEGO fascination has been passed on to a new generation of Adams kids. It started with Duplos for Jack, but at age 8 he has rapidly progressed to creating masterpieces with traditional LEGO sets. Lucy, age 5, is enjoys regular LEGOs but always eyes her dad’s Star Wars collection. Lola, 3 years old, left Duplos quickly after eying her brother’s LEGOs. Leia, almost 3, doesn’t have a chance! Between her Star Wars dad and sister, she will probably pass us all in LEGO abilities!
LEGO Bricks are not just for kids. The LEGO Group – reluctantly at first, but now all in – regularly connects with AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) groups. There are user groups like LUGNET (LEGO User Group Network) and dozens of conventions, competitions, and the like all over the world.
The full-scale replica of a Star Wars X-Wing Fighter astounds me: It’s 43 feet long with a 44-foot wingspan, weighs over 22 tons, and was built with over 5 million LEGO bricks. A crew of 32 builders took over 4 months to construct it.
All from a plastic toy brick which only has value when it’s connected to another brick.
Authors Ron Hunter and Michael Waddell recognized this, and included the LEGO Brick in their book Toy Box Leadership. Here’s how they saw the value of LEGO Bricks when talking about leadership:
LEGO Bricks provide the essence of the leadership lesson on Relationships: Building begins with connecting.
LEGO Leaders recognize connectional value
- Connecting builds a strong foundation
- Connecting unleashes the power of synergy
- Connecting utilizes the strength of unity
LEGO Leaders recognize connectional ability
- LEGO bricks are reliable
- LEGO bricks are reusable
- LEGO Leaders recognize connectional failure
LEGO Leaders recognize connectional failure
- Misplaced bricks
- Forced bricks
- Isolated bricks
- Unorganized bricks
Leaders often get so caught up in the programs that they forget about the people – the building blocks of any organization. There may be tremendous value in plans, but the strength of any organization is in its relationships.
In LEGOS – and in organizations – building always begins with the clicking sound of connections.