What is the most important thing an organization can be?
Some will say “profitable” because they are bottom-line-oriented. Some will say “prominent” because they are image-oriented. Still others might say “powerful” because they are impact-oriented. There are as many answers to this question as there are people to answer it.
But if you ask Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, he will say the most important thing an organization can be is resilient, because he is transformation-oriented.
Knudstorp’s story begins with the Lego Group – yes, the same Lego Group that produces the famous block toys.
Legos are absolutely everywhere nowadays – nearly 20,000 playsets, 220 million sold each year. In 2022 alone, the Lego Group earned more than $9 billion in revenue. But the company was not always this successful.
In fact, in the early 2000s when Knudstorp became the CEO of the Lego Group, it was failing fast. The organization finished 2003 writing off a loss of $220 million. Something had to change – Knudstorp had to change something – or the Lego Group would be forced to declare bankruptcy.
So he focused on one thing: resilience.
He asked himself, what are our biggest problems, and how do we resolve them? And instead of seeking out a quick fix, he aimed to change the organization from the inside out: with a culture overhaul. That way, no matter what they came up against in the future, the Lego Group and its people would be prepared to navigate it.
As I’m sure you can imagine, turning a company on the verge of bankruptcy into the “world’s most powerful brand” was not easy, nor was it simple.
But Knudstorp was determined to fortify the company. He encouraged his team to innovate. He made them feel safe enough to communicate their ideas and feedback. And he streamlined their process to reduce redundancies. And by 2014, the Lego Company had dethroned Mattel as the world’s most valuable toy company – a title it keeps to this day.
On resilience, the Harvard Business Review writes,
“The research is clear: When leaders are more resilient, their teams are too – leading to increased sales and productivity, a reduction in turnover, and a healthier bottom line.”
How are you creating a culture of resilience in your organization? Here are three techniques you can apply this very week:
1. Promote open communication.
Some leaders may hire just because a job needs doing. But more than likely, you hired your team members because they were the best people for their roles. You don’t just hire their skills – you hire their judgment, their ideas, and their perspective. But you only get those things when your workplace is “intellectually safe,” or welcoming toward the exchange of ideas.
Leaders can foster open communication by having regular check-ins with their teams and having transparent discussions about working through the organization’s difficulties.
2. Encourage and model self-care.
Just like anything, we function at our best when we are fully charged. We cannot give 100% if we are not at 100%. Your team must know that self-care is a priority by watching you make self-care a priority. Set reasonable work hours and abide by them; take regular breaks and encourage your team members to do the same.
3. Celebrate successes and learn from failures.
Leaders spend much of their time pursuing goals and avoiding mistakes. And while, of course, that should always be our goal, our missteps do not have to be our undoing.
When he was developing his design for the electric lightbulb, inventor Thomas Edison remarked,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
At the heart of resilience is the ability to pivot – and the most effective way to pivot is to learn what we can from our “failures” and use that insight to contribute to our success.
And when success comes, there is nothing better for morale than taking a moment to appreciate the achievement.
There are many things in life that we have no control over – global events, the economy – but resilience takes into stock the things we can control and leverages them to our advantage in response to the things we can’t. In an unpredictable world, resilience is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Get adaptive and get ahead!
That’s all for now. 🙂
Become your best version,
Get My Free Guide: 5 Strategies for Retaining Top Talent
Voluntary turnover it’s an ALARMINGLY preventable problem.
To combat this, I have outlined five leadership strategies that will keep your top performers leaned in and performing.