Undercover Boss just shook my cage. I have been following the 4 Hour Work Week low information for over 4 years now. I own a TV but I don’t have cable so it keeps things simple – every now and then I log onto Hulu and watch the shows I remember liking from back when I was watching TV. Every now and and then I hear about a show from a friend that they tell me I need to watch. Mind you, it has been a while since someone makes a great recommendation. The show is Undercover Boss on ABC, I watched five episodes on TV.com
TV should inspire and inform and create some emotion but I never expected to actually get teary eyed watching the show. For those of you who don’t know about it – CEO’s of major corporations who have been separated from the actual processes and people that make their organizations run take a week off and go undercover. They strip themselves of titles and rank and head to the trenches to work with honest people who are just trying to make a living. Think of it as a lesson in reality for the big bosses.
The Undercover Boss gets to work along side a typical worker doing the typical job of the company. Most of the time they fail miserably at the line or production work – these are muscles and skills that they have not worked in a long time – and for some of them, they have never used these skills. But the one think that each Undercover Boss does get other than a lesson is humility is a lesson in humanity. It is the understanding and the personalization of the people who they have never met. Think of it as a way to “walk a mile in my shoes” and learn how your business really operates.
Most of the people that we are introduced to have a story, be it medical issues like kidney problems, money issues, mortgage problems, deaths in the family – and this is before they even show up to the office. I have always been a softy, but this is tear creating television. A huge dose of reality.
I have been the CEO of a small company and I know how tough it is to understand the problems in a small organization – these guys have huge companies, they are just too insulated. My feeling is that all CEO’s should take a lesson in humility and learn how the processes or procedures that they put in place impact personnel, productivity, the customer and the business as a whole. Your business is really never to small to understand how to make it better by listening.