Creative Leadership from “The Office”

Posted on March 15, 2009



As a fan of the hit TV show The Office,  you can pretty much count on Michael Scott’s managerial style as how NOT to creatively lead. This past week however, he did something innovative. In the spirit of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, he sent out 5 ‘Golden Tickets’ to various clients. The winners would get 10% off their order. Of course the sales tactic was not well received and it was expected to bust. When their largest client accidently received all 5 tickets (=50% off!) resulting in a potentially huge loss for the company, Michael Scott panics knowing the Willy Wonka idea will be traced back to him. He spends the episode trying to cover his tracks and place blame on his subordinate Dwight before his boss finds out. His boss arrives but breaks good news to the company instead of bad. Because of the generous ‘Golden Ticket’ gimmick, their largest client decides to make Dunder-Mifflin their exclusive paper provider yielding a huge windfall for the company. More comedy ensures and of course, Michael Scott masterfully ruins everything at the end. 


The last thing you want to do is take tips from the “Michael Scott School of Creative Leadership” but there is an important lessoned learned; You never know what is going to work. Instead of sending 5 tickets to 5 random clients, would you have had the guts to send all 5 tickets to your one biggest client? Would the thought even occur to you? Although this is an improbable fictitious scenario, you never know what can impact your community, business or church. What’s your latest ‘Willy Wonka’ idea? Surprise your people with something unexpected and you might get unexpected results.

Get crazy and try something new. It’s a broken world we live in and it will take new ideas to help put it back together. I believe God has placed each of us in positions of influence to experiment with new things, Willy Wonka things. If we don’t try, we might all end up working for a real ‘Michael Scott’ someday- and I got a feeling it’s only fun to watch The Office, not work in it.

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