Every respectable company should understand the significance of having company culture; having a company vision, values, beliefs and habits.
A good company culture would benefit the company with its employee participation and employee engagement, motivating employees at their workplace. Yet there are companies who do not have any company culture or think it is unnecessary as their company is too small.
Not every company is blessed with the anticipation to come up with a long-term plan for their company growth and culture. There would be a few exceptions with some companies that do this, only because it demands a certain confidence in the company’s long-term survival.
To encourage companies to come up or improve on their company culture, we will look into The LEGO Group company culture example, and how they build and maintain their unique culture and values.
The LEGO Group
The LEGO Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark. It was in 1932 that he began making wooden toys for children. In 1934, his company was renamed as “Lego”, from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. LEGO have been a common household name since the early 60s.
It is the LEGO philosophy that ‘good quality play’ enriches a child’s life and lays the foundation for later adult life. They brought joy to children and encouraging them and even adults in creativity and thinking out of the box. Here is a brief animated movie on The LEGO Group:
The LEGO Group Culture – LEGO People Promise
LEGO has a purpose; to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future. Their corporate culture is based on openness, trust their company’s core values; Creativity, Imagination, Fun, Learning, Quality & Care, which are reflected in everything they do.
The role of the LEGO People Promise is to enable execution of the business strategy and build the long-term health of the company. It defines why people should choose and commit the best they can to the company. According to their website, there are four pillars that determine the LEGO employees:
Purpose Driven: Experience the pride, commitment and shared sense of responsibility to deliver our mission
Systematic Creativity: Combine your experience and imagination to find the best solutions – now and in the future
Clutch Power: Feel part of a family and collaborate across the global LEGO community
Action Ability: Be accountable, deliver what you promise and unlock your talent in the best interest of the company
A Strong and Creative Corporate Culture
The LEGO Group was built on the Danish values of hard work, humility and teamwork and its heritage remains a fundamental part of the LEGO corporate culture, despite reaching international recognition. In an interview video on the LEGO Group website, CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp quoted something George Bernard Shaw once said “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” It is clear that this is one company that takes play seriously.
The LEGO Group welcomes children to their workplace for guided LEGO site tours and co-creation events. Their open-plan studio of the company’s design and development studio is always bursts with activity.
Team boundaries are defined by bold banners and enormous brick sculptures, while designers express their individuality through collected objects and imagery on display in their workspaces. It takes a lot of dedication to understanding the power of play that has enabled the company to continue find new ways of connecting with both children and adults through their basic product.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp believes that a strong company culture means not having to look into a manual or having a rule book but having an intuitive sense on how to do things; a problem does not have one solution to the same problem but having many solutions to the same problem.
“Everything in the world starts small and then becomes bigger—except bad things. They start big, and then get smaller.”
– Warren St John
LEGO started out as a small workshop that over time and hard work, grew multi-million company with related products such as video games, theme parks and even films and television shows. They were recently named “World’s most powerful brand” by Forbes in February 2015, replacing Ferrari Motors off its chart.
We learnt from this company culture example, that no matter how small a company may be, even if it a start-up, a company is built upon its culture; like how LEGO was built on the Danish values of hard work, humility and teamwork.
Despite how successful your company has grown, always remember the culture that you have created is a heritage that remains an essential part of the company.
Good luck in building a similar company culture!