SOMEHOW I MANAGE. dot. dot. dot.
Welcome back to the weekly series where i (we) analyze the business situations encountered by possibly one of the greatest bosses ever
This week we’ll be reviewing Michael Scott’s approach towards this entire issue called company culture.
What Is Company Culture? How It Affects Employer Branding?
One great way to put it is “everything that happens when the CEO is not in the room” not my original thought but Neil Patel’s, which describes culture the best way possible. I connected to one description specifically and that is:
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, one of the strongest advocates of culture, makes a great point when he notes that the people you hire represent your company even outside of work. If you meet someone and they tell you where they work, your perception of that place will change based on your opinion of the person. If they’re nice, you’ll view the company in a positive light. If they’re a jerk, you won’t view the company favorably. This effect can be even greater when it’s a company you’ve never heard of and didn’t previously have any opinion of. If the person is helpful, you’ll view the company as helpful
For a great boss like Micheal Scott, the way his employees regard thier workplace is very much important. You can say a lot of things about Michael, but he was actually one of the first to realize how much company culture is crucial and what effects it has both insides and outside the workplace — something only in recent years became a ‘thing’ again.
Threr are so many examples, and essentially the entire show is based on this topic, this is why i decided to make it into a series dedicated to a very hot and relevant topic in today’s work environment.
Best Culture Examples From Season 2:
“the employee will go home and tell his neighbour ‘hey, did you get an award today at work?’ and the next thing you know, there’s a funny smell coming from the neighbour home…”
Classic Michael over thinking this.
The Dundies (s02e01)
Why shouldn't people get awards in ceremonies like they have up in the Hollywood?! ok, maybe no that grandiose — but Michael does have a point here. People will feel more appreciative if they get a rewards, even silly ones or funny ones, it’s about the ceremony and the gathering of people.
The fact that these awards are given for things, only noticeable if you work with the person, can create wonders in how employees see themselves in their work environment. Of course don’t go with “Smelliest Bowl Movement” like Michael did, but here are some simple awards that any office would love:
Best dresser (Men/Women)
Most coffees consumed
Most Red-Bulls consumed
Most pungent meal
Best pool/arcade/table tennis/bowling/whatever social actvity you have in the office
Busiest Beaver (just make sure it doesnt spell “Bushiest”)
Most messed up work space
Most clean work space
Best office chef
Halloween, or any excuse to dress-up (s02e05)
Why? because people like to show their true colors and it’s a great opportunity to let the normal guards down. Think about it, dressing up in a way that is not day to day yanks people automatically out of their comfort zone and allows them to open up more than usual.
You can start with casual Friday, Hawaiian Wednesday, 50’s Monday, or any other topic like Star Wars or Game of Thrones — any excuse to dress up.
Yes it will be weird for your employees to walk around in a Stormtrooper costume on a regular Wednesday, but the reactions on the way to work will make any one asking a bit envious that this person works in a place that allows and encourage that kind of behavior, and behavior is one of the cornerstones of culture shaping.
Never! Crash Employees Party (s02e09)
Michael does that in one of the episodes where he learns about the party from an email surveillance software that he had installed, so many bad things going on but then again, its a TV drama, But. But as a team leader, manager, executive, or any type of boss — NEVER crash or invite yourself to any employee activity, on the opposite, encourage that.
While i believe good company culture eliminates these job title unseen boundaries, still, we’re not there yet. This is an opportunity to show true leadership — accept that the boundaries exist and find specific ways to eliminate them WITH and WTHOUT your team, remember — culture starts from the top, there’s just no other way.
Christmas party, or any other holiday (s02e10)
while we’re becoming a more global society, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the less obvious holidays. For example, Micheal celebrated (or wanted to): Kwanzaa, Diwali, Singles on Valentines Day mixer, Scholastic speakers for a bachelorette office party, and more and more.
the genius thing here again is that Michale made people step out of their comfort zone and that in turn made them ore open to other literal cultures and get to know the people they work with better. It’s a great method as most people are usually curious by nature, especially for other cultures and how people live in different parts of the world.
Booze Cruise (s02e011)
Another great example of how to put people outside their natural familiar work environment, although Michael took it literally (i covered it in depth here). Yes, alcohol is a great catalyst when it comes to opening people up, but with time, i became to like alcohol less and less, and for this example, i dont believe that what you gain with people whilst alcohol is involved — is long lasting. But i do like the ocean angle ’cause you have nowhere to escape.
Take Your Daughter To Work Day (s02e018)
Why oh why did this tradition vanished? probably because when people bring kids to work today is because they have to and then they are all apologetic about it as they assume (sometime rightfully) that they’re an inconvenience.
Planning will make the difference here. If everyone knew and even were able to participate at it, maybe they’ll be more accepting of it. Remember that eventually kids bring out other colors out of all us, even the ones who dont like kids at all (p.s., dont make it mandatory participation when it comes to kids, it’s not fair to the kids)
Casino Night (s02e22)
I guess this one is successful because it makes everyone dress really nicely, so maybe we can change the title of this bullet “Dress up event”.
Dress up people, in all your colors, it doesn't have to black-tie or 50’s only, make everyone feel comfortable around a theme or an idea. Another added bonus is to do it for charity, it’s easier to give than to receive and people deep inside always feel good when they’re giving from the themselves.
A Brief Note About Office Olympics (s02e03)
If we look at the employees of Dunder Mifflin, we can find similarities in everything you see on screen, from a reaction to something to how their desks are arranged, to how they dress. Those similarities portray the good the bad and the ugly of work environment quirks, specifically in this episode — what the employees do when the boos is out of the office?
The office olympic the employees arranged in a few short hours is an example of the disconnection between the employees and the boss, and not a good one. The second Michael returns to the office, everyone quiets down and are back at their desks, some reminiscing about the fun they had just a few minutes ago, and some already moved on.
Dont be that boss that everyone quiets down when they enter the room
Tune in next week when we cover the brilliant culture activities of season 3