• Matt Everson, Author |
4 min read

​Developing a new idea is often dependent on the inspiration you get from myriad, not-necessarily-related experiences that make up your everyday. Nowhere is this clearer to me than when I sit down at our family table with my kids to share ideas with LEGO. I fully enjoy these moments, in which our individual creativity contributes to all of us learning new build patterns, adding to each others' creations, spawning epic characters across epic landscapes, and figuring out how to use hinges to create wings that fly!

These moments are so special to me because they encapsulate the spirit of knowledge sharing and collaboration between individuals who want to create together and who are excited to learn together. This spirit is also essential in today's increasingly digital market: businesses can learn to grow at scale simply by sharing their LEGO ideas within their teams!

Floor plan
Ultimately, the foundation of any solid and successful digital offering comes from growth strategies that work to bring the best of a team's creativity and talents to the forefront. The popular saying "If you build it, they will come" can send creativity fireworks soaring from start-ups to well-established enterprises alike.

But the reality of going to market requires a strong footing that pulls in the right team members and plays to their strengths, not only to deliver the cool new shiny thing but also to allow room for them to grow as professionals. In fact, these team players should be put in a work setting that allows them to push past their current roles and to challenge themselves professionally by playing as much with their teammates' LEGO as with their own and creating new possibilities in the process.

Succeeding in market is highly dependent on how good a launch team is at using its resources—playing with all the LEGO available—to create a solid business activation that allows continuous pivoting when the market demands it. But building a team that can successfully deliver requires the right tools and the right setting. When looking to build a formidable team that will leverage its collective strengths and scale for growth, I look to use the following "Gold Bricks" to ensure success.

Brick 1 - Allow for growth in team roles
While job descriptions are great at outlining what is expected in any given specific role, they often don't fully capture the outer boundaries that come into play when trying to harness the "What if…?" In other words, hiring the right people is one thing, but being able to ensure their continued growth requires playful vision that strategically allows each team member to up their individual games while leveraging their own innate strengths to collective benefit.

Brick 2 - Hiring is a network effect
Picking the right people for your team creates the baseline from which all other team members will be measured. Remember to ask yourself if these candidates will be able to grow in the role and adapt a year from now. There are tons of great team players out in the market, especially now, who know how to do what is asked of them very well. When looking to scale a team for growth, though—a team that holds innovation at its core—you will need to bring in people who can learn fast, have high energy and aptitude for adaptability over time. Creative energy begets creative energy, and the first 10 people you hire will actively determine the next 50.

Brick 3 - You must pounce on any bad habits
Essential ingredients, such as allowing for growth in roles and hiring the right employees who can adapt on a dime, are important health indicators to leadership. Whatever your team looks like at this stage is how it will be, floor to ceiling, when your organization is older and bigger. To ensure that every team member produces great work, you must course correct any bad habits as early as possible. This requirement will be necessary to scale for growth across the board as it permeates the culture and can have deep ramifications if unhealthy habits take root. To make sure this doesn't happen, make sure it's crystal clear whose bricks are whose. There are no such thing as bad bricks, but some builds can be unstable if not supported or corrected early on.

Growth requires you give away your job every few months
As your organization looks to scale, there is one fundamental truth that any leader needs to embrace: growth requires you give away your job every few months. A week ago, one of your team members might have said they're bored of their current set of bricks and want to pass them off to someone else. The same team member may then turn around as you make the hand-off and suddenly want to hold on to them because it's what they know. Your job as the innovative growth leader is to empower and enable your teams, making sure that the right bricks are ready to be used with the right person at the right time.

This can seem a little frightening at first—we don't all start out as "Master Builders"—but it's crucial to helping your team members build themselves and, by extension, the delivery to market.

In the end, innovation takes moxie. It's about leveraging your resources, creatively setting a vision for the future, and strategically turning what has traditionally been the fringe into reality. There are a lot of moving parts, and you will be met with a lot of scrutiny. The best way to walk this adventurous path is with the talents of your people in full force as you build the future together, brick by brick.

  • Matt Everson

    Matt Everson

    Author, Director of Innovation, Ignition, Growth & Strategy

    Blog articles

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