If there’s one person in this world who understands business, it is Michael Scott. Michael Scott, played by Steve Carrell, is the Regional Manager of a paper company named Dunder Mifflin in NBC’s hit show, The Office. For those of you who have seen the show, you may be wondering how in the world Michael Scott understands business. For those of you who have never seen the show, Michael is probably the best procrastinator of all time. Think of the laziest college student you know and multiply it by ten. He absolutely despises doing work. Once a month, Michael is tasked with validating quarterly reports by signing the documents. He procrastinates all day by prank calling one of his employees and fighting one of his employees at the karate dojo. At the end of the day, the rest of his employees must forge the signature for him.
So how then does Michael run a successful branch of Dunder Mifflin? Simple, he manages relationships with all of his stakeholders. Michael often refers to the employees of Dunder Mifflin as his family. He will do anything he can to create a positive work environment for these people so that they enjoy coming to work. Although his employees always complain about coming into work, they always end up having an eventful day, full of surprises with Michael around. He often hosts company events to help increase company morale. For example, he has an event every year at a local restaurant where he presents “Dundies” to his employees. Michael Scott acts as the dashing host where he presents awards to each employee. The awards are absolutely hysterical. One of the employees receives a Dundie for having the “the whitest shoes”.
Michael also knows how to manage relationships with his clients. This is where he thrives at being a boss. He personally knows each and every one of his clients. He makes it his responsibility to know all about his client’s kids and their activities. (Side note, he wanted his username on an online dating site to be “Little Kid Lover”) In one of my favorite episodes of the show, Michael personally delivers gift baskets to former clients in order to get them back. Although, his plan doesn’t work, it does show his dedication to always being there for his clients. Here is his absurd reaction to being denied.
His desire to know about his clients on a personal level shows in their sales. Dunder Mifflin Scranton constantly outperforms the other branches. When the company faces bankruptcy, Dunder Mifflin-Scranton is the only branch to maintain a profitable quarter. This is revealed at the annual shareholder meeting for Dunder Mifflin. Shareholders are outraged because the price of their shares has dropped dramatically. Michael is honored at the annual meeting for having a profitable quarter. CEO, David Wallace, whispers to Michael the the company is going bankrupt at the shareholder meeting. Michael, clueless about this, reiterates into the microphone, “We’re going bankrupt?” Shareholders and the general public find out about the company’s financial struggles. However, the CEO was not planning to tell them about this struggle. This reflects a firm’s willingness to lie to the public. It reminded me of Lehman, when Erin Callan was pretty much lying to the public about earnings.
Michael reminded me of a boss who valued the stakeholder which contributed to his success. The series was truly fantastic from start to finish.