Are You the Brickman In Your RTO?

Top 7 Lego Bricks Which Must Be In Every RTO
Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to attend Brickman's 'Wonders of the World' Expo where I was blown away by the talent and imagination of Brickman and his team.

His ability to tell a story, just through the bricks, is astonishing when you see it up close. One of the exhibits is a dragon boat race and this could have simply been three boats racing. Inside, one of the boats has broken in half, crew are overboard and trying to get to safety.
My favourites (and I loved every exhibit) was the Titanic where it looks like it is leaning on one hinge, and the Great Barrier Reef with its spectacular colours which makes you feel like you are underwater.
If you love Lego or just want to spend an hour or so marvelling in awe at people's creativity and skill, then check out Brickman's website for current and upcoming exhibitions.

As I loved it so much, I thought it would be timely to bring back one of my most popular blogs, and for those of you've who read it before, I'm still enjoying building my first Lego Set which was last year's Christmas present – and it's very cool because it's the set of the TV Show Friends – one of my favourite shows of all time. Only one bag of bricks to go so I'm working on finishing it before Christmas – and hopefully someone will give me another one – the Friends Apartment or Winnie-the-Pooh's Tree in the 100 Acre Wood would be fantastic!
FOCUS: Grow Your Business

I hope like me, you are a lover of the TV Show Lego Masters. Even though I never played with Lego as a child or an adult (until recently), I love watching this show for 3 reasons:

1. To see the amazing creativity and technical ability of the contestants who build such amazing masterpieces in such a short timeframe.

2. The fun and pure joy which surrounds this show as you see people loving what they do, and the admiration (in a competition no less) of the skills and expertise of others.

3. As someone who wrote a book about building a brick business... one brick at a time, and this is my mantra to anyone I help; it's a bit of a no-brainer.

P.S If you haven't got a copy of the only business book written for RTOs which is a must have for anyone working in RTO Land, then get your copy here.

There are so many lessons and attributes in the show which should be embraced by everyone working in RTO Land.

So here's my Top 7 Bricks which must be in every RTO to maximise its profitability, productivity and performance.

Top 7 Lego Master Bricks (aka Lessons) For Every RTO

BRICK 1                           LEADERSHIP

The RTO CEO MUST be The Brickman - whether you own the RTO or are running it on behalf of the owner.

Brickman is awesome.

Not only does he have amazing technical skill and creativity but as the judge of this wonderful competition, he oozes leadership in his:

• Authority
• Positivity
• Support
• Encouragement
• Calmness
• Constructive Feedback and Advice (with a bit of measured tough love when needed)

So are you actively portraying these Leadership Bricks each and every day to your team, or do you need to add some of them to your repertoire?

BRICK 2                            TECHNICAL

Every contestant has a high level of technical skill in building Lego masterpieces (otherwise they wouldn't be on the show), but the expertise in all things Lego varies from one contestant to another. Eg some are highly skilled in using Technic pieces, others are just learning this skill on the show.

The common denominator though is every contestant is eager to keep learning ... learning new skills, new techniques, new NPU (Nice Part Usage); and not resting on their laurels of this is my ONLY strength and I'll just do that.

So is everyone in your RTO eager to learn and willing to stretch outside their comfort zone so they improve their Technical Bricks; or has complacency set into your RTO?

BRICK 3                           CREATIVITY

Part of the judging criteria is how do teams demonstrate their storytelling ability simply through the bricks, as well as making their build aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Creativity appears in many ways in your RTO – through your training material, the delivery style of your trainers, your clustered approach to assessment; as well as how you market your RTO to prospective students and clients, and your simple systems and processes.

So how is your RTO demonstrating its Creative Brick Story ie what makes your RTO different from another one, through its marketing, website and branding; as well as its training materials and delivery?

Side comment: Please don't tell me your quality training, excellent customer service and student support is what makes you different to every other RTO because that's my baseline expectation as a customer of an RTO so what else do you have?

BRICK 4                             TEAMWORK

I believe one of the reasons just about everyone loves Lego Masters is because even though it's a competition; everyone is driven to working together, admiring other people's creations and helping out where they can.

This is evident as you see teams planning their builds together, sharing ideas, listening to each other, and then working to their strengths. By doing this, it enables the build to come together as one complete masterpiece because everyone worked in their sweet spot.

There are also so many examples of kindness and a willingness to help out other teams including empathy when pieces suddenly break or fall on the floor. None more so than in Season 2 when Summer fell ill and Iona had to complete an elimination build on her own. Both Alex and Stani made some Lego lollies to put inside her pinata because they knew she would run out of time.

So how would your RTO rate on the Teamwork Brick scale; both in people working in their sweet spot (ie the work they are good at and love to do), as well as the kindness and sharing factors?

BRICK 5                            FLEXIBILITY

As much as a plan is essential to help us remain focused and understand the outcome we are trying to achieve, unexpected things often hit us which means the plan won't work and has to change.

And we see this a lot in Lego Masters like in Season 2 when Trent and Josh were making a birdcage and initially they lost a lot of time making something which ended up not working. But instead of giving up, they worked together to come up with a solution which ended up being fantastic – though different to what they had originally envisaged. However, through this flexibility and change of direction, the contestants rarely compromise quality and their brand.

So how willing is your RTO to be a Flexible Brick, to change the plan so it will still work to achieve the desired outcome.. for your business, your team and your students? Or are you dogmatic that this is way we've always done it and we will continue this way regardless?

Side comment: Hopefully, COVID has changed the dogmatic thinking of anyone working in RTO land.

BRICK 6                          EXPECTATIONS

At the start of each challenge, Hamish outlines the brief and the timeframes, and then Brickman states the judging criteria. It is then interesting to see the planning process of each team. Some quickly have a chat and then head to the Brick Pit, others spend the first part of the build methodically etching out their design and who does what.

One of the critical factors which impacts on teams is their often underestimation of how long it will take to build particularly components. And sometimes, their creative flair can get in the way of the task at hand which is to clearly meet the brief within the allocated timeframe.

So how often do you and your team meet the brief (aka the Expectation Brick) within the allocated timeframes in your RTO, whether it's completing daily tasks or developing a training program for a client? Always, sometimes or not very often? And what's then the domino effect of people not being forthcoming in how long tasks will actually take to complete?

BRICK 7                           SYSTEMS

As you know, I believe everything is a system: You just have to find it and then make it simple.

The simplest system we see in Lego Masters is the Brick Pit which is sorted into various bins by colour, specific pieces eg sharks, common pieces at an easy to reach level etc.

So how many Systems Bricks does your RTO have in place to ensure consistency and high productivity?

For example, are the electronic files in a logical order which everyone can find easily; or is there a bit of chaos and hope for the best feeling because time is not being invested to develop the systems which will make everyone's life easier in the long run?

BONUS BRICK                   FUN!

There is no doubt every contestant, Hamish and Brickman love Lego and being part of this show. Even when the stress levels are high, it's the fun of the activity and remembering why they love playing with Lego which enables the teams to keep pushing through to create their masterpiece.

For lovers of the show, who didn't love Jordan sprinting back and forth from the Brick Pit?

So how often does the Fun Brick appear in your RTO... not only in the training room but in the workplace (be it physical or virtual); or do you need to bring some reminders about why you and your team love working in RTO Land?

What's Next?
So how many Lego Master Bricks do you have within your RTO at the moment?

If you have all of them, can they be tweaked to be even better, simpler, easier etc?

If you don't have all of them, which ones do you need and what's your first step to rebuild you and your RTO?

And here's my final thought:

Often in RTO Land, we forget to recognise the Technical Bricks of every one of the team members. Instead, we often focus on the Trainers who get all the glory and we forget about the poor administration staff.

So please remember this: Without your admin team (and yes that could be you), you wouldn't be paid and if you don't get paid, you don't have an RTO business.

Good luck and remember to become an RTO Lego Master, you have to build your RTO one brick at a time.


P.S. If you're looking for RTO Professional Development (PD) which isn't about compliance, then head to my website to check out my upcoming webinars, recorded webinars and my RTO GROW Program.
Author: Tamara Simon
Tamara Simon is Australia's Only Dedicated RTO Business Coach.

For over twenty-five years, she's been providing overwhelmed RTO Owners, CEOs and Managers with CLARITY about what's WRONG, what's POSSIBLE and what's NEXT so they can manage a simple profitable business (whilst juggling everything else)!

You can find out more about Tamara Simon and how she provides Managers with RTO PD which isn't about compliance here.
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