As "The Office" Wraps, Lessons in Company Culture
Tonight, NBC will tie a big bow on The Office, wrapping up the series for good after nine seasons. Dunder Mifflin fans will desperately begin the search for another show that induces both laughter and that particular, indefinable cringe-worthy element.
The impending series finale has already prompted a number of reflective articles from the web’s biggest fans—my favorites include Forbes’ management lessons from Michael Scott and Buzzfeed’s predictably perfect compilation of key Office moments.
But perhaps there’s room for one more. The Office celebrates the notion that company culture is critical; despite Michael Scott’s antics, he ran Dunder Mifflin’s best-performing branch. Over the course of nine years, the show gave us a peek into the pillars of Dunder Mifflin’s success, leaving viewers with five key lessons about maintaining a strong company culture:
- Be clear about your organization’s mission, and reinforce it. When Michael Scott held the managerial reins, there was no question about his mission: to sell paper and create an office environment where everyone felt like family. While implementing the latter was often more challenging, he never stopped trying—through (often misguided) humor, dinner parties, and unexpected field trips. After seven seasons, when Michael finally parted from Dunder Mifflin, it was clear that he left a family behind.
- Enable your employees to put their talents to work in the office. From encouraging Pam to develop the warehouse mural, to inviting Andy to share his musical talents with the sales team, the Scranton branch knew that by enlisting their colleagues’ skills and talents in the workplace, employees were becoming more invested in their jobs.
- Professionally develop as you go. Michael imparted his wisdom through a series of impromptu meetings, often ignited by a simple wave of the hand and shout of “conference room!” Although these sessions often lacked real content, the idea of short, frequent, effective professional development sessions does resonate for companies with busy employees.
- Give the well-deserved shout-outs. Michael knew that publicly recognizing employees’ accomplishments is an important morale booster. Although the execution was a bit off, Michael’s homegrown award program—the Dundies—gave employees a few moments to celebrate their contributions to the office.
- A little time out of the office never hurt anyone. Unless, of course, you’re aboard Michael Scott’s second season “Booze Cruise.” But seriously, some of the show’s most beloved characters had their strongest moments at offsite team-building events (think: Pam championing a barefoot hot coal run during “Beach Games” and Toby Flenderson winning the “Fun Run” to fight rabies).
While the series finale marks the end of a very special era in comedy, Michael Scott’s wisdom will continue to live on . . . although perhaps most notably in “that’s what she said” jokes.