During the Welcome Reception for the Elevator Competition, Colin Gillespie, the senior director of marketing for LEGO Direct, was invited to provide a keynote speech. His speech was themed turnaround to transformation for the LEGO organization. When reflecting on Gillespie’s message, there are key lessons that we can incorporate in our professional and personal lives.
Passion: “Love what you sell…Sell what you love…Create amazing experiences”
Gillespie loved the LEGO brand as it was one of his childhood toys. When you are passionate about the brand or service, loving what you sell becomes inherent. When you combine loving what you sell with selling what you love, you then have the ability to create amazing experiences for your target audience. LEGO introduced the opening of their Rockefeller store by creating a giant apple with the help of the New Yorkers. The giant apple was a great marketing technique as it not only created a symbol for New York but involved the locals in order to create an amazing experience that they will never forget.
Continuous Improvement: “The best is still not good enough”
In order to become world class, you have to constantly look at ways of improving your best. Going overboard can also be damaging when you are stretched too thin. For example, LEGO developed theme parks, TV shows, computer games, dolls, and created life-style products. This allowed them to lose focus on their core products and they suffered profit loses.
Core Competencies: “When stretching beyond core competencies, you lose sight of focus and start the walk of desert”
When LEGO suffered loses in 2003 and 2004, they went back to the core - what are their core competencies. They had to set a crisp and clear direction and change the way they do business. They had to find ways to restore competitiveness and reduce the assets that were the most risky. They also needed great leadership to bring them back to basics. When LEGO made the turn from turnaround to transformation, they understood their core assets, had a matching business model, there was high amount of ownership and passion, and right people were hired to do the job.
~ Bobbie Shrivastav (MBA, ‘11)