May 9, 2011

Undercover Boss gives new perspectives on old concepts

What else can we learn from the TV show Undercover Boss besides leadership lessons? I think the end of season had some new perspectives for management and us. As always, click on the company name in the descriptions below to review the video of the show for yourself.

Having been an Education Manager at a large corporation, I found Tim White’s finale episode interesting. He is the Chancellor of the University of California in Riverside. His personal lessons in leadership of course were an emphasis on continued education; with a few surprises on how budget cuts can have negative results on both employees and customers (students in has case). I liked that he recognize leadership potential in employees and students, understood the need for role models to future generations, and importance of everyone having goals to work towards and plans for achieving them.

Shelly and J.D. Sun, co-founders of BrightStar Care visit at-home childcare and elderly care facilities to see how things are going. This was a delightful and heartwarming program with the emphasis on quality and having the right people doing each job, and building loyalty to the brand’s reputation. Not much more I could say about leadership lessons though. What did you think?

David Kim, CEO of Baja Fresh Mexican restaurant chain reminds everyone what hard work really is. What I found most endearing about this show was not so much leadership lessons, as the “American Dream” is still alive. Immigrants still see the U.S. as the best country to live in, follow their personal beliefs, and succeed in business while maintaining the importance of family. That makes me proud. I was so impressed with their “freshness” and customer service promises I wanted to try out this place, unfortunately they did not show any location near me on their website.

President and CEO of Synagro, Bill Massa goes to gross and disgusting waste water treatment facilities that recycle waste into useable fertilizers for farming and home gardens. He really learns hat dirty work is hard but you have to do it fast and try to keep safe too. Working in sludge - Yuk! If you like the Dirty Jobs show, you might find this episode fun to watch. Main lesson – make sure your employees have what they need, not just for doing the job but for comfort during breaks.

These were the last 4 shows of this season. To see the last season, go to Undercover Boss Dances thru Holiday Season and work backwards to the other shows. To review more of this year’s season, Start with Undercover Boss Continues Lesson Learned for Corporate Strategies. If I get a chance later this week, I’ll look at the March shows I missed on-line to see if there is anything new or worthy of blogging.

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