March 1, 2010

Lessons in Leadership from Undercover Boss

This post is a simple review of the February episodes of the television show Undercover Boss, along with opinions by viewers. From this show upper management learns how their attitudes and policies can affect the company bottom line and lower rungs of the career ladder. It is meant to make managers think and acknowledge the value of employees at all levels of the business. The primary episode summaries here are merely my expressed opinion using a little more text than available for 2bproductive tweets. Also includes a few comments from other people on Twitter regarding their feelings as they related to a particular episode.

If you want to check out someone who made a Twitter comment, please click on their Twitter name at the beginning of the tweet to view their profile. If you want to see a longer review of an episode, please click on the company featured to link to an on-line story featuring the company’s participation on the show. If you missed an episode of the show Undercover Boss, check out video clips and reviews at
http://www.tv.com/undercover-boss/show/76698/videos.html?tag=page_nav;videos

Episode 1 =
Waste Management story was about the guys who pick-up our garbage and recycle the stuff we put out on our curbs. This show emphasized breakthrough improvement ideas and true customer service come from the bottom up and that C-levels should listen. This show was very popular although no one who commented on it mentioned the “green” aspect related to the recycling part of that business. We got to see that the COO thought recycling was important, but it is an expensive and labor-intensive business to be in. Has our appreciation for the man on the back of the truck increased? I hope so…What a few people said on TwitterKellyFerrara: #UndercoverBoss - perhaps my new favorite show! Featured Waste Management President and COO Larry O’Donnell...like reverse Apprentice.BGdoesPR: Same here, would work for the COO of #WM after watching #undercoverboss. He is ethical and real, qualities rarely seen in todays execSoSoulfull: *wiping my eyes* It’s so sad how companies will work the life outta folks. This Waste Management Exec really gets it! Kudos #undercoverbossginavergel7: Especially multitasking. This Waste Management CEOs mind is blown! #undercoverboss
Episode 2 =
Hooters story was more on the people aspect of the business. The CEO had the right idea that employees were a key part of the brand. If mutual trust/respect exists between employees and managers, it can motivate work performance and company loyalty. Customer service and employee attitude says a lot about the business the people are working for. However, the show seem to take a different turn than what the CEO said for his main goal of changing minds about the brand and hopefully resulting in broadened customer base. Did being on this show accomplish his goal since it spurred a Blog and Twitter campaigns to fire one of their managers? Would promoting that they have more than wings and beer on their menu have been a better way to get in new customers? How about specially-priced quick-lunches to attract professionals working nearby like many of their competitors are doing?
What a few people said on Twitter
mrobin032009: Anyone else disappointed w/ how the Hooters CEO handled the inappropriate manager on #UndercoverBoss last night? Even hubby said "fire him"!mariva: #Hooters CEO may not be able to #FireJimbo because of corp. bylaws/contract w/franchise. Maybe franchise OWNER is the prob.? #UndercoverBoss404techsupport: Hooter’s #UndercoverBoss instead of just giving the female manager a vacation, should have built a mgmt class from her style.worknclassbunny: This new show is an amazing insight on American companies. Every CEO/President should do this #UndercoverBoss
Episode 3 =
7-Eleven story appeared to result in the goal stated at the start by their CEO. He noted that employees are the key to the business and their attitude supports the business processes and affects customer service and support. He recognized his best workers at the end of the show and emphasized how many people are loyal customers based on how they are treated by the employees at the store they visit regularly. It wasn’t just about how many cups of coffee and donuts are sold, it was about building customer relationships. Isn’t relationship selling the new buzz in business? What is your company doing to build the best customer relationships possible? Can customer service and better relationships be what turns the tide in the success of a company?What a few people said on TwitterChareeKlimek CEO Joe DePinto of @7eleven is the real deal. Humble, genuine, passionate about EE's - the heart of every successful biz #undercoverbossmelindamusil: This #undercoverboss show is so moving! I mean- he improves his company, he gets some free pub, but most of all he improves PEOPLE!childsplayx2: The secret to greater sales is creating relationships. Dolores at 7-11 knows that. #UndercoverBossjingstri: I LOVE Igor on #undercoverboss. He’s so passionate and upbeat about his job. It’s nice to watch. Igor: "Big boss comes to the plain worker. Only in America."JLWNEO: Imagine how many great employees with real capabilities who go unchallenged/unrecognized everywhere. Every boss should be an #undercoverboss
Episode 4 =
White Castle story where the owner looks to the youth at his restaurant to find new leadership as well as ideas for future business improvement in various areas of the business. Hopefully the new managers don’t forget where they came from, like one on the show seemed to, and will continue to look to those who work for and with them for process improvement. After all, the people on the front-line know the business the best and can find quick, easy improvements that save time and money. Every business can benefit from building teamwork between peers and supervisors as well as encouraging upward movement and career planning within the corporation to keep the talent and get return on their investment in training employees.
What a few people said on Twittertericee: Kudos to @OfficialWC for pursuing corporate change instead of just individual employee solutions! #undercoverbosscindybutts: Lessons after 60 min of #undercoverboss: have employees write the procedure manual, have wellness programgenochurch: I guess I’m a helpless romantic… but it’s great to see regular folk getting the limelight for just doing their jobs #undercoverbossteresamhauck: Thank you Dave for putting faces on the numbers! Others should do the same! It’s the people #undercoverboss //agreed

If you want to see another nice boss story, view the ABC News video story where Red Mill Natural Foods owner gives company to 200 employees at
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/boss-company-workers-9881720.
Tweet as reference http://bit.ly/dCbJmb

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