What Every Millennial Can Learn From LEGO

4 minute read

shutterstock_156851942A decade ago LEGO was losing $1M a day.

A lot has changed.

Now they are cranking out a 24% profit margin.

Fun Facts:

  • 105,000 LEGO pieces are made every minute
  • There are at least 80 LEGO pieces for every human on the planet
  • Lego generates 60% of it’s business in December

What Changed?

In the early 2000 time frame … which is around the time the last of the Millennials were being born … LEGO did NOT understand their core business. They Owned and Tried to Manage … theme parks, a clothing line, lego themed books, retail stores … none of these were core to their business. The family that owned and managed the LEGO brand knew change was necessary.

LEGO had a Secret Weapon. They brought in Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, He was not part of the family. He was from McKinsey. He become CEO at 36 years old and noticed a few things about the company.

  • It didn’t know how it was making money
  • It didn’t know where to invest
  • It didn’t know which customers and products were profitable

He set out to achieve a goal. That goal was to Identify what is essential about the company.

What LEGO Learned

LEGO learned quite a bit by doing the four things below. Every Millennial can take these same steps and apply them to their thinking.

  • Research
  • Reduce
  • React
  • Then Engage

Community Matters

LEGO has built an incredible community of fans. Some of these fans have created events, newsletters, fan pages and LEGO has been wise to encourage and support these efforts.

One of the missing success factors in many businesses is the inability to identify with the community that wants to see them succeed. I predict this will be a whole new segment of businesses in the coming decade.

Pro Tip: Millennials with their computer savvy and digital native mentality will be able to capitalize on these efforts and lead the way.

A few of the LEGO Communities:

  • AFOL which are Adult Fans of LEGO – these are a formerly untapped and almost ignored group of fans. They are now integral to the LEGO community.
  • Mini-Figs – Who doesn’t smile when they see a mini-fig? Have you created your own custom Mini-Fig yet?
  • MindStorm – Where bricks, robotics and programming come together.
  • Friends – Focused specifically on girls. 4 years of Research went into this LEGO line of business.
  • Brickipedia – An online wiki to track, report and share LEGO industry lore

Where is LEGO Today?

I think most everyone reading this will know who LEGO is and will like assume they were always successful and ever-present. I’m also sure as some of these Millennials become parents they will buy LEGO sets for their newborn children and they’ll learn the pain of stepping on a LEGO brick in the dark … and try not to cry out … because it might wake the baby.

Today LEGO is valued at over $18.5 billion dollars. LEGO continues to own an increasingly popular chain of theme parks – LEGOLAND and through their Merlin Entertainment division they also own Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. These are managed very differently than they were a decade ago.

LEGO CEO’s favorite Quote because it applies to LEGO:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” 

~ T. S. Eliot

What a Difference a Decade Can Make

Just as we can say What a Difference a Generation Can Make. Millennials are approximately 13-34 today. Some are just entering young adulthood and some have already entered the workforce and are already making a difference. Millennials (and Gen Z too) are going to change everything. Millennials are 80 million people strong in the USA and around 2 billion strong across the globe.

Millennials can and will Stand Out in their Careers by taking a hard look at the state of everything. Then taking the four steps LEGO took to evaluate what’s working, determine what is core to the business, make the adjustments and then engage with their plans in a whole hearted, fully committed effort. As if there were any other way for Millennials.