7 ideas to learn about leadership by playing with the Rubik’s cube


5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

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  • The game poses a common goal.
  • Each piece is different.
  • The cube is a system.
  • All the pieces are linked.

It’s there, with its bright, mixed, distinctive colors. Arouse curiosity when someone is manipulating you. It’s exciting when we ourselves manage to fit at least one full face. In short, it has something irresistible: wherever there is a Rubik’s cube, the temptation is to take it in your hands and start playing.

This 2020 the cube celebrates 40 years of world landing. In essence, it is a three-dimensional mechanical puzzle created by Hungarian sculptor and architecture professor Ernő Rubik in 1974. He licensed it to Ideal Toys in 1980 and from there began its path of expansion.

Originally called the “magic cube,” it is considered the world’s best-selling toy, with some 500 million pieces. According to the Guinness Guide of Records the original format is 3 x 3 x 3 cubes, and more recently it has been transformed into a megamix format (dodecahedron, 12 faces), a pyramid, a clock (on two sides, each face with 9 clocks to line up) and even the Frenchman Grégoire Pfennig has made a 33 x 33 x 33 version, the largest magic cube, with 6,153 pieces.

7 leadership lessons with a cube in your hands

As I write these lines, I have at my side the Rubik who is watching me attentively, as if inviting me to an unfinished challenge. And observing it, I became aware of some aspects of team leadership that we can learn to apply:

1. The game poses a common goal

It’s about aligning each face of the cube. In the team this is defined as purpose towards the goal we want to achieve. A team with clear objectives and a strong spirit of influential leadership produces better results.

2. Each piece is different

Individualities make up the whole, each one adds up and has value in obtaining the final result. The role of the leader and each member is to appreciate these differences and manage to reconcile them when there are deviations in order to redirect them without losing sight of the final objective.

Image: NeONBRAND via Unsplash

3. The cube is a system

The hub does not work if a part is missing, defective, or jammed, preventing action. The same thing happens in teams. In itself, the movement, synergy, strategy and ability of the leader to give the right momentum is what will bring about the expected result.

4. All parts are linked

In the cube each one is linked with the others and when moving, they produce a completely different result. It is the same when working together with others, where individual impact influences everyone: every piece counts. Cohesion is essential especially in times of confusion, where it is not known well where to move, and it is precisely that communion that produces the result, based on trust, contribution, creativity and collaboration.

5. Each individual movement affects the whole

As in a team, individual performance is directly proportional to the success of the entire team : when very strong, self-centered individuals appear and disconnected from what needs to be done to achieve the objectives, the teams do not work and they wear out.

Image: Dev Asangbam via Unsplash

6. Pieces drive each other with strategic thinking

Through movement and solution-focused thinking, cube dynamics invites you to learn about how closeness between members of an organization has a direct impact on how the end will be reached. As for the leader, he observes, analyzes, feels, and acts guiding the pieces and motivating them in the alignment that he seeks to achieve.

7. Gears need optimal operation and communication

To finish these seven leadership ideas playing with the Rubik’s cube, a strategic aspect for the proper functioning of any team is communication. In itself, it is a system that has codes, symbols, representations. If the verbal, the non-verbal, the rituals and the flow that circulates are appropriate, the team will be able to better achieve the goal it pursues. Otherwise, performance will be impaired and therefore poor.

There is a meme circulating on the Internet that says ” Life is like a Rubik’s cube, you solve it or you complicate it even more.” It invites us to reflect on the role of the leader and of each member of the team and to ask ourselves: with your participation, do you make the team grow and contribute positively? Or do you generate the opposite? The answer is in each piece.

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