Inside Out E-Column: Aligning Employee Engagement with Marketing Communications

Lessons from “The Lego Movie”

You just never know when and where you’re going to run into business insight and inspiration.  If you’re lucky – or maybe just tuned in to signs from the universe – it can be anywhere and anyplace.  Even at a film for kids like The Lego Movie.

lordbusinessIt wasn’t that big of a leap, actually.  The film’s antagonist is Lord Business, and he’s definitely not the kind of enlightened leader that employee engagement proponents look to as a role model – at least not at the beginning.  He’s basically your kick-butt drill sergeant with a mean streak a mile wide.  His singular obsession is world domination where everyone follows instructions and does exactly what they’re told to do.

The film’s hero is a construction worker named Emmet.  He is mistakenly identified by the downtrodden as “The Special” – the person destined to save the world from the evil Lord Business and his wicked weapon, the dreaded “Kragle,” which immobilizes any effort at divergence.  The “prophecy” proclaimed at the beginning of the movie sets up the adventure like this:

One day a talented lass or fellow,
A Special one with face of yellow,
Will make the Piece of Resistance found,
From its hiding refuge underground.
With a noble army at the helm,
This Master Builder will thwart the Kragle and save the realm,
And be the greatest, most interesting,
Most important person of all times.
All this is true, because it rhymes.

emmett-legoWell, as such movies go, the hero faces countless hurdles and comical misadventures along the way (it is, after all, a cartoon).  In the end, of course, he prevails. But not how you’d expect.  At the climactic confrontation between Emmet and Lord Business, Emmet melts the villain’s cold, hard heart and turns him into a pussy cat with the following verse:

You don’t have to be the bad guy.
You are the most talented, most interesting
and most extraordinary person in the universe.
And you are capable of amazing things.
Because YOU are The Special. And so am I.
And so is everyone.
The prophecy is made up, but it’s also true.
It’s about all of us.  Right now, it’s about you.
And you … still … can change everything.

And he does – beginning with himself.  Suddenly the Kragle-fied characters are released from their bondage, and imagination and free will reign supreme.  If you’ve read my book, “Getting to the Heart of Employee Engagement,” you know why that’s so important.  Those special qualities that exist in ALL of us are what differentiate humans most from all other living creatures on the planet – and they give us the power and the purpose to do truly amazing things.

Want to learn more about the importance of those wondrous qualities?
Then …

Read my book, and you shall see
Why human beings must be free
To let imagination thrive
If they want to feel alive!

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