Building a spaceship out of Lego can bring out the kid in all of us. It also happens to develop useful skills in business. Here are a few lessons your kids will learn from those iconic plastic blocks.
Have a plan
Decades ago Lego was purchased as sets of standard blocks. Now Lego is sold almost exclusively in sophisticated kits with instruction books. Kids learn the importance of planning ahead, focusing, and following a plan.
Deviate from your plan
Once kids build a few kits, they learn that instructions are guidebooks, not rulebooks. The dining room in the princess’s castle just wasn’t built for your doll’s tea set. But what if we made the table bigger? Kids begin to change the design, combine sets, and use their imagination.
Know that ideas evolve over time
A funny thing happens when a kid builds a ranch, a rocket ship, or a roller coaster from scratch. They get a new idea. A unicorn decides to live at the ranch, the rocket ship turns into a jet pack, and the roller coaster splashes through the ocean next to a pod of dolphins. The best ideas come once you have a few Lego pieces in place.
When you have a car that needs a windshield, it’s time to dig through the storage box. It’s much easier to look through a small box of car parts than a large container full of 3,000 miscellaneous pieces.
Play well with others
Your little brother means well. He just wants the white 2 × 4 brick for himself. But he has to tear apart your rocket ship to get it. Chances are that other people will be working on their own designs, and they may need what you have. You’ll have more fun and more success trying to work with the needs of others than defending what you’ve built. Share the pieces you don’t need, and be flexible enough to trade away some pieces you are using.
Understand that problems can be solved
Sometimes things go wrong because you misinterpret instructions. Other times, it’s because the parts you pick don’t fit right and the wheels rub against the body of the race car. Once you realize that all problems can be solved, you’re focusing on the solution rather than what’s not working.
Know you always have a second chance
No matter how construction went today, at some point it’s time to head upstairs for supper. There’s always going to be a new idea and a new lesson tomorrow.
First published in the March 2018 edition of The Business Advisor.