Learning from Lego(land)

Legoland, Windsor  was not on my bucket list but became a must-go place when two boys of my acquaintance, who had never been but had clearly heard about it, started telling me how wonderful it would be to visit.  They told me many times.  In the end, we went on Monday.   The experience definitely honed my consulting skills, and probably started to ground the boys to take the consulting career path in the future.  Here are four of several skills I added muscle to during the day:

Problem solving: Arrival at the station on time for the 08:28 train was a significant achievement.  But met us at Waterloo was initially a ‘delayed’ departure notice followed, two choc croissants, later by the flashing red announcement of signal failure and a minimum of 2-hours delay.   Going from Waterloo to Paddington was instant new plan (think rush-hour but we can manage).  Our train left on time stopping just 300m outside Paddington – no explanation.   30 static minutes later, we decided to re-frame the problem of how to get to Legoland, abandoning the train at the first sensible opportunity (Slough) and getting an Uber.  (The driver was diplomatic on the various Uber problems and enthusiastic on Legoland).

Continuous learning:  During the outside-Paddington wait I learned thumb wrestling perhaps a useful addition to my conflict resolution toolkit.  (Winner takes all), followed by 21 about winning strategies – another for my tool kit, and some variants of rock, paper, scissors teaching how to hold your nerve.

Resilience: I see Lego itself has a resilience officer and I wonder how long he spent at Legoland practicing his skills before applying for the job.  It takes a lot to stand in a long line multiple times in one day even with a Q bot to reserve a space, with the ride shop temptingly close, but it does give lots of opportunity to explain how pocket money works,  the marshmallow experiment on delayed gratification, and remembering to focus on outcomes and not the process. (They did enjoy the rides).

Fun:  The versatility of the Lego bricks and the learning and creativity it inspires is huge fun to see playing out.  I was enchanted seeing the children absorbed in Lego constructing, their enjoyment (and mine) of the giant Lego giraffes, dinosaurs, the miniland township, and the variety of Lego education events.  I’d prepped for Legoland by going to Lego artist Nathan Sawaya’s superb art exhibition using ‘nearly 2,000,000 bricks to create large-scale sculptures of the most enduring Super Heroes and Super Villains’.   Another surprisingly fun event.     In our agile workshops we use Lego (see Lego4Scrum) – people have fun at work with it.

Are you a Lego fan?  Could we develop organization design and consulting skills using it in a fun way?  Let me know.

Image is Nathan Sawaya’s ‘Hero Within’