Business Lessons I Learned from the Movie “The Intern”

During my career I’ve worked on a variety of jobs and realized that business lessons can materialize from a variety of places. For example, your mentor, manager or friends can inspire you to do great things. You can also learn from your business experience, books such as the collection of Harvard Business Review and maybe a movie or two.

I recently took a break from catching up on work over the weekend to take in a movie titled “The Intern” with some friends. While watching the movie, we saw some resounding business lessons and ended up discussing them at the end of the film. The movie stars Anne Hathaway as the founder of an e-commerce business that recently began hiring senior citizens as office interns. Robert DeNiro plays Hathaways’ office intern. The light hearted film included everything from the complex office dynamics, teamwork, to inter-generational communications and collaboration that offered a few stark similarities to the federal workforce today.

Business Lessons Inspired by the Movie “Intern”:

  1. Take the time to learn something new from a person outside of current generation at work. Sometimes it is just easier to work with the same “go-to-crew” at work because you’ve developed certain patterns of teamwork. However, you may miss out on new ideas if you don’t step outside your “clique” comfort zone and try a new project with someone you have never worked with before. You may be surprised what you may learn from inter-generational peers seeking to collaborate on any level.
  2. Engage in dual perspective to see how others perceive leadership priorities and collaborate on a plan to implement effective change. Sometimes we get to close to a topic that we miss the important aspects of it. It is okay if the good idea that someone offers and is implemented is not yours. Take a step back and see what you can learn from it. Some feel they need to lead everything in order to be perceived as a productive member of the team. However, try taking a step back to let others guide the group’s efforts. You may be surprised what happens when you truly embrace the vision success from a colleague’s perspective.
  3. Get to know the people at your office. Take the time to genuinely find out your peers motivations, “dream” projects and goals. Also learn about their interests outside of work such as hobbies. It will help build trust, boost morale and remind you that your job isn’t just about task management.
  4. Welcome rookies and seasoned veterans input on problem-solving. On occasion people want to focus on resolving work place issues in a vacuum. Open up the opportunity to trouble-shoot to the office “newbies” and the work place veterans who may share a unique and unbridled perspective on fixing things at work.
  5. Try to be mindful of  work place communication and language styles. Some of us are so used to office jargon that we forget that it is a completely different way of communicating than with those who work outside our industry. Communication miscues may occur because we overuse jargon or verbiage that is part of our peer group and not readily understandable to the larger team. Take a moment to consider your target audience when communicating at work to avoid too much jargon, message overload or potentially offensive word to ensure you your communications are delivered effectively and accurately.

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Terrence Hill

Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. Sounds like we all could learn a thing or two not only from this movie, but from each other, if we only keep and open mind and get to know our co-workers. Maybe we should try a little role-reversal among senior management?

Tracey Batacan

Terrence, thanks for the comments. I agree that the lessons learned can benefit employees at all levels. We just need to take some time and do it.

Becky Latka

Hey we both saw the same movie around the same time, and both saw applications to our daily work lives! 🙂 Good post!

Tracey Batacan

Hi Becky, thank you for the comments. I find it great when shared experiences result in learning something new for business.