Who’s your Devil? Your teacher? Your boss? Your Parents? Or the Landlord? As threatening as the name sounds, dealing with them can be a cakewalk with just the right attitude.
The movie Devil Wears Prada is a light watch but can reveal several management angles if you’ve got your thinking cap on! From recruitment to creating a leadership pipeline, the script has it all. Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a young graduate who aspires to be a journalist. She takes up a job at Runway, a Fashion magazine where she works as the assistant of the Editor-in-Chief, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).
Let’s look at the hidden management lessons woven into the story from the viewpoint of IMT Hyderabad
Be quick on your feet.
Andy’s interview could have easily gone the other way and resulted in her getting rejected.
“So, you have no style or sense of fashion.” said Miranda trying to throw Andy off her game by pointing out the reasons of incompetence.
Presence of mind and a head strong will to land that job goes a long way in these cases. Andy pulled herself together and explained,
“I am not skinny or glamorous and I don’t know that much about fashion, but I am smart, I learn fast and I will work very hard”.
That pretty much bought her ticket to Runway!
Your first job is not likely to be your favourite.
It’s obvious that Andy, who cannot differentiate between linen and a burlap sack, wasn’t at her dream job or company. She hit dead ends more often than a blind cow. But don’t forget, every step is a step forward.
Be it procuring skirts from Calvin Klein or getting coffee every morning, do not consider it menial. If Andy figured out fashion, I’m sure you’ll master multitasking and time management at the very least.
Always look for a mentor in your organisation.
If you do not understand the culture in your office, you are most likely to be an outcast or in the out-group. Andy found Nigel, one of the leading fashion authorities at Runway, to her rescue when she was on the brink of giving up.
“I can get another girl take your job in 5 minutes, one who really wants it”- He explained how oblivious she was to the weight of the brand she was associated with.
As rightly said by her colleague, Emily, “A million girls would kill for this job.”
Here’s the thing- quitting is easier than finding a new job. You’ve got to be smart and stick it out till you have better options.
Know the industry.
you’re gaining experience in and you’ll pave your way up the right position.
“This is not just a magazine, this is a shining beacon of hope!” said Nigel.
The movie emphasised on the brand value of Runway. It was a lucrative industry and her role in particular was a rather coveted one.
They said, “You work here, and you can work anywhere”.
You must dress the part.
Presentation is a part of your personality and makes the first impression. Power dressing has gained an audience in the last few years. You wouldn’t take an investment banker or a lawyer seriously if he or she turned up for a meeting in denims or chinos.
Andy was a sweater and sneakers girl who made her presence felt only because of oddity. A pair of Chanel boots, some Dolce, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik heels did the trick for her. We all remember the terror of wearing flats in Miranda’s office.
It’s only when Andy started dressing like a fashion enthusiast, that her colleagues started noticing and appreciating her.
Prove your mettle.
Andy started out as the errand girl who made a few too many mistakes at her new job. Miranda, the Hitler of the fashion industry had a reputation for assigning impossible tasks. From getting tickets to fly out during a thunderstorm to the unpublished manuscripts of the next Harry Potter movies, Andy was given every odd job.
However, her tenacity and will to solidify her hand at work, earned her a seat at the Paris Fashion Week. Being proactive helps put yourself on the map at work. No matter how difficult the task is, give it a try before you surrender. An honest attempt speaks volumes about your seriousness at work.
Know where to draw the line.
Miranda Priestly was an ambitious woman. She was dynamic and did whatever it took to get where she was. There is a thin line between legal and ethical which can get blurry too quickly. You must know what you want and how you plan on achieving it. Stepping on your colleagues to succeed will always come back to haunt you.
“Don’t be ridiculous, everyone wants this”, said Miranda in Paris after Andy watched Nigel get stepped on by Miranda.
Andy’s moral compass would not allow her to go down that road. You do not know who you’ll meet on your way down, so it’s best not to cheat anyone on your way up.
Your tenure in any organisation, no matter how long or short, should be enough for you leave a mark. What matters is the ink you use to make that mark- your gracious willingness to try or excuses to fail!
-Sanjana Satapathy (Class of 19-21)