November 1, 2010

Undercover Boss Goes Bananas!

Have you watched this season? It’s really fun to watch the big guy learn about and appreciate the little guys in the corporate world. In my last blog I talked about the first 2 shows of the 2nd season which emphasized customer service. Now, let us take a look at what went down the October episodes of the show.

Having taught empowerment in the corporate world for many years, it was great to see the CEO of Chiquita and Fresh Express learning that productivity and training are important, but it is the enthusiastic people that make the difference for a company. After first-hand experience on how labor intensive factory and farm work can be, Aguirre makes an effort to provide better tools and equipment to help the employees be more productive and he encourages his executives to find ways to increase knowledge sharing within the companies.

So the last one was about individual empowerment, what about empowering teams to do more? The previous week on Undercover Boss, NASCAR SVP/CMO sees how hard teams have to train and work in order to be highly efficient and effective. Phelps also recognizes the challenges employees face related to diversity, process and quality, positive attitude, and work-life balance. As a team-building event planner/facilitator, while watching this, I thought WOW a Pit Crew simulation would make a great exercise. Now I am looking for ways to make it happen in an indoor setting. Anyone have some suggestions? Add them as comments or send me an email!

In episode 4 of season 2, Frontier Airlines CEO acknowledges change management, keeping faith, and recognizing employee commitment is necessary during and after corporate mergers. Bedford asks himself to review a few hard leadership questions many managers face on-the-line. What do we need to get better in the company - time, people, or tools? How does cross-training and recognition influence employee flexibility and the professional image that is presented to our customers?

CEO of DIRECT TV finds dedicated employees providing good customer service, some without the necessary support, supplies, and equipment to do a superior job. The mission White assigns to his leadership team is to find ways to make sure technical and support employees have everything they need to excel in current jobs and provide great service to customers.

Are your company executives learning lessons from Undercover Boss? What are the problems your organization is facing? Encourage they watch it and see what they can learn to better your company without having to spend the time traveling to multiple sites to see what great employees they already have. Watching these shows could be free training and advice for management at all levels.

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