Team Report: Parks and Rec


Hear that? That’s the sound of happiness. We love, love, love Parks and Rec at Flerish. It’s our go to show when we need a pick me up, and we’re not even going to pretend that we’re trying to find fault with the Parks and Rec crew who graced us with seven seasons of great comedy.

So, let’s spend some time with Leslie Knope and crew, and find out what made them special as a team, and what we can learn from them, shall we?


Leslie and her boss, Ron Swanson, disagreed about everything (other than that breakfast food is the best kind of food…)

And yet? They were able to not only work together but collaborate professionally throughout their time working together. Ron and Leslie were diametrically opposed on practically every issue but were able to find common ground because they mutually respected each other’s ethics and commitment towards principles.

The result of which was a beautiful working relationship with a foundation in respect. Leslie and Ron showed that you don’t always have to agree with someone, but if you have respect for them, you can find common ground. That’s a lesson that seems very applicable in 2018. It’s also a great idea to embody when dealing with people on your team, and in life—you don’t have to agree 100%, but if respect is there, you can find a way to make it work.

Treat Yo Self

Tom and Donna’s annual “Treat Yo Self” day is the stuff of legend (and memes)

Sure, it made for some great episodes, but it also drove home the point that you can work really, really hard and go after what you want, but sometimes, you just have to take a step back from the pursuit of your goals and “treat yo self.” All the better when you can cut loose and do it with a team member who knows exactly how hard you’re working, and how much you need a break from the grind. It’s a way to step away from the day to day, and take stock of what you’ve done, and celebrate what you’ve accomplished.

Just make sure you’re treating yo self with someone who is equally appreciative of the finer things in life. We’ll let Tom and Donna, explain…

In real world terms, are we telling you to spend a day spending a lot of money with your coworker? (Um, only if you want us to…we’re not going to tell you no!) but we are most definitely telling you that it’s a great idea to spend some time with your colleagues taking a step back and appreciating the work you’ve done, and sure, maybe treating yo self to a nice lunch just because.

Know Who is a Friend, and Who is A Colleague

Possibly one of the biggest mistakes anyone made in Parks and Rec was when Tom Haverford tried to make club kid, and general nuisance, Jean-Ralphio his business partner. The results were exactly what you’d expect. (Spoilers: their business failed to a spectacular degree.)

Tom learned his lesson pretty quickly (ok, probably not as quickly as he should have, but eventually he did) and when it came time to launch another business, he dropped Jean-Ralphio as his partner (but they remained friends) because he realized Jean-Ralphio wasn’t as serious about the dream of entrepreneurship as he was.

They were able to maintain the friendship, and Tom went on to have a semi-successful business that he took seriously.

In real-world terms, not all relationships you have are meant to be flexible and ambidextrous. Some will be able to straddle both friendship and professional. Some will stay professional; and in the case of Tom and Jean-Ralphio, some desperately need to stay as friendship and nothing more. No relationship is one-size-fits-all, and Parks and Rec does a great job of illustrating that—and showing how relationships can rebound when you try to make them something they’re not. It’s a great lesson to learn, and one we hope you don’t have to learn as hard as Tom through a failed business partnership with absolutely the worst person possible.

(Don’t touch Ron Swanson’s food, ok?!)

So, what did we learn, other than that we desperately want to work for the Parks and Rec Department in Pawnee, Indiana?

That respect, understanding, and accepting your team mates for who they are and what they can reasonably offer can go a very, very long way.  It’s really that simple, and we suspect, a major reason why Parks and Rec is so beloved, still.

Agree? Disagree? Have a problem with the distinct lack of Andy Dwyer gifs in this post? Let us know in the comments!