Movie B-School: Get cultured with The Breakfast Club

3 minute read

A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal were all able to stand together on a fateful Saturday in Shermer, Illinois, in the Spring of 1984. An unlikely group at a time when high school stereotypes rarely blended, their shared experience of detention and combat with “evil” Principal Vernon created a bond that defied those cinema tropes and made a lasting impression upon the movie’s audience.

Much like The Breakfast Club, most teams are made up of a diverse group of personalities. They are thrown together in the same space for 40 hours a week and expected to get along fabulously…which can be hard without opportunities to connect. That connection is essential to having a well-tuned team, which leads to the very loaded question: How can I foster a better internal culture?

Movie B-School: Get cultured with The Breakfast Club1. You see us as you want to see us

Stuck in a room with each other on a Saturday, there’s not much else for them to do, except talk and fight. As they air their thoughts, feelings, and preconceived notions, the group ultimately begins to connect on a deeper or “real” level. They go through each other’s bags and wallets, learn hidden truths about their detention partners, and become playful and friendly as the day wears on.
Letting your employees get comfortable with each other outside the cubicle is ten steps forward in improving your office’s culture. Give that latitude that allows them to take off their blazer and let a little loose to get to know their colleagues on a “real” level.

Movie B-School: Get cultured with The Breakfast Club2. Could you describe the ruckus, sir?

In order to give employees that time together, you’ll need to create an opportunity. Nothing brings people together like a shared experience, and it’s a crucial piece of any getting-to-know-you plan. The breakfast club’s shared experience may have had the sinister overtone of Principal Vernon, but those joint memories created an instant bond that endured as they said goodbye outside the confines of the school.

Set up a fun event outside of the office that requires an experience: Miniature golfing, bowling, bar hop scavenger hunt, bicycle bar….anything that forces your team to work together to get somewhere. Or, literally turn your team into a breakfast club and take them out to breakfast once a month, mimosas optional.

Movie B-School: Get cultured with The Breakfast Club3. Wouldn’t I be OUTSTANDING in that capacity?

The gang finally comes together when they let go of living up to their stereotype. Claire (Molly Ringwald) puts herself in an uncomfortable position by showing the others her secret talent, but it aids in letting the others know that the popular girl can be just as weird as they are. Bad boy Judd Nelson finally, finally brings his walls down toward the end and shows a softer side that goes against his tough image. As Andrew the Athlete says, “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.”

If you want to create new relationships, it’s imperative to put some effort and elbow grease into the cause. As the leader of this venture, you’ll likely have to be the first to do it, but showing your employees your super secret, stupid human trick is worth the rewards of a deeper bond.

Movie B-School: Get cultured with The Breakfast ClubDoes that answer your question? Sincerely, the Breakfast Club

The group starts out not getting along, but as they talk and fight, and air their thoughts and feelings, they become an oddball group of friends who never would have spoken to each other if it weren’t for detention. You can create your own unlikely team by creating opportunities for your employees to get to know one another, and understanding that you’ll have to step up and make the first move. Create your culture, it won’t happen on its own.


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About the Author
Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


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