4 Important Lessons From Michael Scott’s School of Business

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on May 30th, 2012

Even though it’s been over a full season since Michael Scott’s departure of NBC’s The Office, I’m still mourning his loss in my own way (by watching his seven seasons on DVD). I may be biased, but there is some great television contained on those discs (or within Netflix’s archive, for those without antiquated DVD players.)

As I watched several episodes this past week, I noticed there were a few Michael Scott quotes that could be aptly applied to the business world. So I decided to collect a few of these gems and the lessons we can obtain from them in a blog.

Lesson #1: You cannot please everyone

“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like a compulsive need to be liked. Like my need to be praised.”

You will save a lot of frustration and heartache if you come to terms with this now, rather than later. At some point in your business, you will come across a customer that you cannot please no matter what. Just look at the online reviews of any business. Some companies, like Michael Scott, are unable to come to terms with this and it detracts from their ability to provide outstanding customer service to the rest of their customers.

Lesson #2: It’s okay to make work enjoyable

“Ed Truck, yuck, Ed Truck was the manager before me. Horrible. He hated fun. It was like, oh Ed Truck is walking toward us, stop having fun. Start pretending to do work. What a jerk… I swore to myself that if I ever got to walk around the room as manager people would laugh when they saw me coming, and would applaud as I walked away.”

While Michael is undoubtedly unaware of the hidden meaning in the last part of this quote, it does bring up something we take to heart at Rocket Media: work should be fun. Yes it is work, but if you are going to spend the majority of your waking hours doing it each weekday, you should at least be able to enjoy it. Enjoyment fosters creativity and increases productivity.

Lesson #3: Set specific, achievable goals

“Yes, money has been a little tight lately. But, at the end of my life, when I’m sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No. I’m going to be thinking about how many friends I have, and my children, and my comedy albums. I mean, I have a yacht, so I obviously did pretty well money-wise.”

In business, as in life, you need to set small, achievable goals in order to get where you want to go. Michael seems to forget that where he is now will play a role in where he is in the future. When we speak with businesses, they often know they want to be successful, but forget to define a clear strategy for achieving that success.

This is also important when creating a website or any other marketing material. Without a clear direction and definable goals, how can you measure success?

Lesson #4: Business is about human connections

“Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me the choice is easy.”

Here is the quote that inspired this blog. Michael says it perfectly (at least until he displays his cyberphobia.) New technologies are great because they can make business easier. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the most basic part of business: human connections. People like doing business with people. Use technology like social media and blogs to humanize your company or brand and attract customers by engaging and interacting with people.

Now you have another reason to watch The Office – to glean Michael Scott’s many words of wisdom. He truly is the greatest manager ever to hold the position of general manager at a mid-size paper company.

Rocket Media provides internet marketing and web development services for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.