“The Devil Wears Prada” and Communicating Organizational Purpose – Post 1

"Wake Up Sweetheart!"

Andy Sachs has the job that "a million girls would kill for", but actually hates her boss and is close to quitting. In the 2006 movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) is an assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor of a fashion magazine called Runway, and power broker in the industry. Demeaned and overworked by her boss, Andy feels that no matter what she does, she cannot please Miranda, portrayed brilliantly by Meryl Streep.

Throughout the first 30 minutes of the film, Andy clearly does not buy into what she believes are the indulgences of high fashion, believing she can perform her job professionally while maintaining her values as a down-to-earth girl of practical values. But after some particularly hard feedback from Miranda, Andy seeks comforting words from her mentor Nigel. Nigel, however, is not sympathetic, and believes that Andy is ignorant of the standards of excellence, and the inspiration to others that the magazine Runway represents.

"You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls, and what’s worse, you don’t care," says Nigel. "Because this place where so many people would die to work, you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn’t kiss you on the forehead, and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up sweetheart."

So many people wander about the hallways of companies, even good ones, wondering why they come to work every day. Pay is important. Good colleagues are important. Having the tools to get the job done is important. But very often, having purpose beyond oneself is the most important. Why does your organization exist? Is it to help people? Is it the pursuit of excellence? Is it to change the world?

Nigel does what good managers and leaders should do – remind people of why the organization exists! People need purpose. And it is in this scene when Andy begins to realize that even fashion magazines can have powerful purpose, and that it is one she can believe in.

The full scene described runs from 30′ 15" ~ 35′ 30" in the DVD version. Enjoy! Click on the image below to see it on YouTube.

  

MIRANDA: Do you know why I hired you? I always hire the same girl. Stylish, slender, of course, worships the magazine. But so often they turn out to be…I don’t know, disappointing. And…stupid. So you, with that impressive resume and the big speech about your so-called work ethic…I thought you would be different. I said to myself, “Go ahead. Take a chance. Hire the smart fat girl.” I had hope. My God, I live on it. Anyway, you ended up disappointing me more than…more than any of the other silly girls.

ANDY: I really did everything that I could think of…

MIRANDA: That’s all. MIRANDA DISMISSES ANDY WITH A WAVE OF THE HAND. ANDY WALKS IN TEARS TO NIGEL’S OFFICE.

ANDY: She hates me, Nigel.

NIGEL: And that’s my problem because….Oh. Wait. No. It’s not my problem.

ANDY: I don’t know what else I can do because if I do something right, it’s unacknowledged. She doesn’t even say thank you. But if I do something wrong, she is vicious.

NIGEL: So quit.

ANDY: What?

NIGEL: Quit.

ANDY: Quit?

NIGEL: I can get another girl who can take your job in five minutes. One who really wants it.

ANDY: I don’t want to quit. That’s not fair. But I… You know, I’m just saying that…I would just like a little credit for the fact that I’m killing myself trying.

NIGEL: Andy be serious. You are not trying. You are whining. What is it you that want me to say to you, huh? Do you want me to say, “Poor you, Miranda’s picking on you… poor you, poor Andy”? Hm? Wake up, Six. She’s just doing her job.

Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists fo the century: Halston, Lagerfield, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created, was greater than art…because you live your life in it. Well, not you, obviously. But some people.

You think this is just a magazine? (He holds a copy of Runway.) This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for…Oh I don’t know. Let’s say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers …pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class, and reading “Runway” under the covers at night with a flashlight.

You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls, and what’s worse, you don’t care. Because this place where so many people would die to work, you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn’t kiss you on the forehead, and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up sweetheart.

ANDY: OK, so I’m screwing it up. I mean, I don’t want to, I just wish that I knew what I could do. (ANDY SIGHS.) Nigel, Nigel, Nigel. (ANDY LOOKS AT NIGEL WITH A SMILE.)

NIGEL: No. (THEY WALK INTO THE DRESSING ROOM AND BEGIN PICKING OUT FASHION WARE FOR ANDY TO TRY ON.) I don’t know what you expect me to do. There’s nothing in this whole closet that’ll fit a size six. I can guarantee you that.

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One Response to “The Devil Wears Prada” and Communicating Organizational Purpose – Post 1

  1. Lizzy says:

    Thank you…

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