This short blog is a fatherly reflection on the parallels between building a Lego set with a child and coaching in transformational leadership. This got me thinking about the ingenious, “Make your own story” Lego Star Wars campaign from a few years ago and pondering about how much opportunity we have to make our own story when it comes to leading change in health and care. Are we slaves to the instructions, or mavericks that can push the boundaries and demonstrate that things can be done differently?

As health and care change activists, we can draw from the five lessons that Ken Perlman shares with us from this blog.

Firstly, we need to paint a clear ‘awesome’ picture of what the future will look like, involving multiple, diverse people, to encourage our colleagues to ‘fall in love’ with the end product. When was the last time you ‘fell in love’ with a change initiative that was presented to you? Once we are on our journey to the future, we must be wary of grinding to a halt just because a something is missing; rather we should be able to look back to see what ‘pieces’ or knowledge, skills, lessons, learning and accomplishments can be applied interchangeably. Next, an enthusiasm for fearless experimentation (putting ‘pieces’ together freeform) must be encouraged to accelerate innovation and discovery; we must abolish the stigma and fear of ‘wrongness’ and any associated blame or humiliation.

Reflect on your change leadership style. Do you hold up the Lego instruction book and shout, “That’s not how we do it!” or do you get down on the floor with others, toss the instructions to the side and have fun, together to create something ‘awesome’ and new?

Jodi Brown 2


This commentary was written by Jodi Brown @JodiOlden, Senior Transformation Manager in the Horizons Group, NHS Improving Quality.