What Legos Teach Us about Teamwork

When our son was a little boy, he discovered a passion for Legos – not a general liking, but a true passion.

His exposure started with a small Lego set. I have no recollection of his first Lego, but it was probably a car, a boat, an airplane, or some other form of transportation.

Over time, his interest grew as did his collection of Lego products. A birthday or holiday would no doubt end with a couple of Legos to build. A small job around the house would turn into cash and a chance for him to go to the store and purchase a Lego set on his own.

When the Lego catalog arrived in the mail, he would grab it and race to his room. He would circle the items he liked, dog ear pages with the best products, and pour through the advertisement again and agin.

Over time something interesting happened. Instead of merely selecting the items he wanted to purchase, he would go to his big bucket of Lego pieces and attempt to build the catalog items out of what he already owned. Moreover, he would build his own unique creations.

One of the beautiful things about Legos is that with few exceptions, each piece can connect with every other piece. They work together. There is no silo of blue Legos refusing to interact with the yellow ones. Red Lego blocks are not withholding their best efforts and refusing to connect with the green ones. Legos pieces are interdependent. Their strength, contribution, and performance derives from their ability to collectively build something together.

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” — Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-Founder

What about your team?

Your organization is made up of teams. True, strategy is often created in an organization’s front office, but it’s executed by teams at the frontline. Like the cells in our bodies, the team-level is where the action takes place. Your team members decide each day how and where to employ the organization’s resources. Those decisions can make all of the difference – good or bad.

I invite you to take a moment to consider your team. In doing so, consider these questions:

  • Would you describe team performance as interdependent – like Legos? Or, are teams and team members working in silos of yellow, green, or red pieces?
  • Do team members value what each other brings to the team? Do they even know?
  • Do you have the right people on your team not solely from the perspective of skills, but also from the importance of fit?
  • When was the last time your team members built something great together?
  • What could you do today to help your team to build something great again?

If you enjoyed this post, share with your team. Encourage each member to answer the questions. Share and discuss the results. Then, go build something great together.


Title Photo by Iker Urteaga on Unsplash

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Photo by Carson Arias on Unsplash