In 2004, the Lego company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Kids had started to focus on less traditional forms of play and were surging towards electronic toys. Plain old interlocking bricks just weren't as cool as they had been before the computer age. Instead of folding, Lego decided to go a new direction, trying a new form of kid-centered marketing. They started the Lego Magazine, directed to kids in their new Lego Club, launched design competitions and introduced Mindstorms, the interactive robot building toy that would lead to international kids competitions. They made agreements to produce Lego sculptures from some of the largest cartoon and movie franchises available- Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel, DC Comics, Spongebob, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Disney Princesses. They researched to find their most popular toy was the minifigure and released collectible specialty figures. With the electronic age in full swing, they integrated, making video games to accompany their new toys and finally releasing a CGI animated full feature film in 2014.
What sets a company like Lego apart from the thousands of others that failed to succeed? They had the desire and know-how to reinvent and reposition themselves in the marketplace during their toughest time. They weren't afraid to present new ideas and remake themselves. They were extraordinary in a time when average companies would have given up, retreated and cut expenses and people. They took positive, forward moving action. But how exactly do you keep going when it seems like you are out of options? Successful businesses and people follow four steps that you can apply to your own career.
1. Pay attention to what the best companies and individuals are doing. Watch trends both in your market and outside of it. A car dealership doesn't necessarily need to fit into the box labeled “things a car dealership should do.” Color outside the lines and look to other industries for ideas. For example, visit your local high-end beauty parlor for a haircut and a lesson in customer service.
2. Turn bad news into good news. Don't see “failures,” see opportunities to think or act a different and more effective way. Is there a new leader or manager at work? Perhaps they bring an opportunity to do something faster or with better quality. Look for ways you can benefit from what seems like a frightening change.
3. Use as much data as possible to develop your plan to grow and dominate. Never rely on a single source, person or company. What works for one might not work for all, but what works for ten might just be a good idea.
4. Don't hesitate when you have it right. Hesitation is what landed companies like Blockbuster behind the ball when other media companies had already moved on to higher ground. Make it happen. Go for it.
Beyond all, stay positive and seize opportunities when they become available. Be fearless, not because you are reckless, but because you already know the right thing to do based on your extensive research. Diligence, confidence and bravery will help you turn an “oh no!” moment into a goldmine for the future.