Some Assembly Required

IKEA is a Swedish company that designs and sells (among other things) ready-to-assemble furniture such as storage units, cabinets, and desks. The company is the world’s largest furniture retailer.

I spent the last two days assembling about 12 units … about 37 cartons… of stuff from IKEA.  I am now fluent in the Swedish language.  Besta, Pax, Inreda, etc…

IMG_3110Stay with me now… there is an analogy coming.  Although it involved quite a lot of complex assembly, and took the better part of two days, everything went together perfectly.  Here is the amazing thing….Out of this stack of manuals (playbooks if you may) there was not a single written word!

All pictures… quite detailed, complex, (3D) pictures… but still… only pictures.


Football is a complex game.  Every play has dozens… hundreds … of variables.  How many words do you use in your playbook? How good are your drawings or diagrams?  What if you included better pictures…  or video… or both?

I am sure IKEA uses pictures (and not words) because their instructions can be understood in any language.  Although you may not have players who speak different languages on your squad, you DO have players who have different learning styles… visual, written, auditorykinesthetic, etc… Written words and simple diagrams are not the only way… the best way… to reach and teach your entire squad.  Look at these posts for ideas on tweaking your playbook, coaching, and teaching with readily available technology:

Other lessons from my two-day IKEA binge…

Believe in the Playbook

Assembly, although complex, was simple… why… follow the instructions (playbook).  Every time I had problems, it was because I made a mistake following the instructions.  The playbook was good… I made some errors.


IMG_3102Each finished unit (team), although beautiful when assembled correctly, was just a bunch of dissimilar unconnected pieces (players) at the beginning.  Only through hard work with each piece (player) fitting correctly and doing its job (assignment), and following the instructions (playbook) did the final unit (True Team) come together.


This door had about 200 pieces and looked nothing like glass sliding wardrobe doors when I began.

Championship Culture

The quality control at IKEA is unbelievable.  I had  37 boxes which included a total of 405 parts.  Each box came with the EXACT number of pieces needed to complete the project… not 1 extra screw, not 1 screw short… exactly the right amount in every box.  This quality has been built from the top, much like Coach Vint described in his post, Building a Championship Culture:

“When you build culture, the expectations have to be clear and concise. When we stood in line, or were in front of the coaches, we had clear expectations. We stand with our eyes and chin up, chest spread, and hands behind our back. When we take a knee, we will put our left knee down with our hands on our right knee. If we said your t-shirt hangs on the right hook and your shorts are on the left, that’s where we expected them to be. If they weren’t, we retrained and reminded them.  That is the expectation. There was no exception.”

I think IKEA is clear on what their expectations are – and they don’t make exceptions.

Hard work pays off!

From what I gather, assembly, set up, delivery charges range from $80 an hour up.  As I mentioned it took me the better part of two days – about 12 hours a day – to finish this bedroom project.  That figures out to be about $1,900 I earned (saved) doing this project myself… and I had fun (really) and learned a lot!  Here are a couple of pics of the finished project…



Jeff Floyd –

4 thoughts on “Some Assembly Required

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