The company that makes Lego building blocks was "almost to the point of destruction" a few years ago when CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp took over. Lego A/S had diversified into too many areas, and had lost its focus on the core business. Knudstorp, who joined the Bellund, Denmark-based company in 2001 and became CEO in 2004, is featured in an interview posted today on MeettheBoss.tv. (Free registration required for access to the full interview). Knudstorp -- the first man outside of the founding Christiansen family to head the company -- explains how he, as CEO, helped guide the turnaround. One key, he said, is that he spent very little time in his office. Knudstorp spent a lot of time in the factory, not to micromanage production, but to send a signal that manufacturing was critical to the company's success. The interview doesn't directly address this, but that emphasis on manufacturing also included a decision to bring molding work back in-house -- ending an outsourcing agreement with Flextronics International Ltd. Now that the company is back on track, it is faced once again with opportunities to diversify. But Knudstorp said Lego won't make the same mistakes that got it into trouble a decade ago. "I think it is a golden rule in business that most companies don't die of starvation, but die of indigestion," Knudstorp said. "There is so much opportunity if you open your eyes to it. One of the rules I stick to is that you can really only build an adjacency to your core business every three to five years, because it's such a major undertaking in terms of culture and in terms of capability." If a company tries to do too much, "You run the risk that people will lose their focus on their core business as they pursue these new adjacencies that have become the 'new and sexy thing' to do," he said. Knudstorp addresses other topics too. For example, check out what he has to say about how important it is to take some time off from phone calls and email from time to time.
Video interview: How Knudstorp rescued Lego
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