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The Office’s “Sweet” Mistake

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 by Slaughter Development

The hit NBC comedy The Office features a neurotic, naive and often unruly character in “boss man” Michael Scott. The show is famous for uncomfortable workplace moments and many of the scenes feel as if they are based in reality. Yet behind the entertainment, the premise begs the question: how do leaders emerge and how could incompetent fools become the boss? 

In the latest Office debacle, Michael Scott comes up with a new way to enhance business revenue. As shown in the clip below (direct link), this “innovative” idea is embarrassingly unconventional:

Though ingenious in Michael’s eyes, his idea turns sour when Dunder Mifflin’s largest and most lucrative client receives all five of the golden tickets—rewarding them with a fifty percent discount on an order. Faced with potential of being fired, Michael attempts to abandon his leadership responsibility by coercing his most loyal employee to take the fall.

The character of Michael Scott, although an overwrought stereotype, is a great example of the destructive power of bad management. In Leadership Competence: An Oxymoron, The Methodology Blog covered the theory that leaders are selected for their vocal skills more so than actual ability. Judging by Dunder Mifflin’s standards, Michael Scott’s reign as branch manager did not stem from any actual management skills. Fortunately, this choice is a comical twist of fiction for the benefit of entertainment rather than office productivity. Tragically, the joke hits home because many viewer offices are eerily similar to The Office.

If you are concerned your company is becoming the “Dunder Mifflin” of real-life business, consider contacting Slaughter Development. We help organizations focus on the actual process of work instead of the eccentricities of personality and the frustrations of countercompetence. Painful office interactions might be great television, but companies and individuals would prefer for the workplace to simply be a realm where work gets done.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

The Non-Language of Offices - A recent article from the BBC lists fifty different phrases that permeate the modern workplace. But does this type of language actually help businesses be more productive? Read on »
Simple Process, Sweet Outcome - Nowadays, million dollar contests seem to be popping up everywhere. Whether answering trivia, surviving the great outdoors, or even completing silly games,victors can earn major prizes. For one recent winner however, path to victory has led to controversy. Read on »
Leadership Competence: An Oxymoron? - The boss is supposed to be the person with the answers, who is decisive, well-informed and supermely confident. Why then does it seem like so many managers are clueless? Read on »
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