By August 6, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Be Your Own Undercover Boss

Be Your Own Undercover Boss

If you’ve seen the show Undercover Boss, you’ll notice that the CEO’s and Presidents who go undercover find out things about their own company that they never would have known otherwise. Many times they are simple things that could have a big impact.  And along the way, they discover staff with skills, capabilities or attitude that should propel them within the company but they are overlooked for one reason or another.

Here are some key things the CEO’s and Presidents of large organizations learned on the show:

  • Managers treating staff so bad that there should have been lawsuits.
  • Software systems that simply don’t work and had to be circumvented to serve the customer.
  • The real impact of their low wages on front-line staff, one of whom lived in a shelter.
  • The incredibly bad customer service some employees gave to customers. And an employee who admitted that he hated their customers. He was fired.
  • How inefficient a maintenance department was because they didn’t have the equipment or training they needed.
  • A better way to give tastings that was so effective, it increased sales at one location significantly, yet wasn’t used company wide.
  • Employees not having important tools to make their job more efficient, including GPS’s for service vans, which some employees had to buy themselves.

The insulation of several layers of management is certainly one reason these things aren’t found and corrected, but you have to wonder why some of the issues uncovered weren’t dealt with already.

In any case, going undercover yourself could provide you with valuable insight. Let’s face it, your front-line staff knows more about their part of your company’s business than anyone does and you could learn a thing or two.

In the past, I’ve frequently done road trips to visit my front-line staff, but never undercover and often with the local or area manager as a guide. I realize i probably didn’t hear the truth from the folks I talked to as a result.

If your company is small or medium size, it may be difficult for you to be truly under cover. If this is the case, simply go alone and spend a shift with various employees. Even if they know who you are, you’ll gain insight into what really happens and have one-on-one time with your employees, who will hopefully be more open with you without their boss around.

For a larger company, try going undercover. If the large, well known national companies featured on the Undercover Boss show can do it, so can you. Since you don’t need a cover story to have cameras with you, set yourself up as a new employee, trainee or transfer from another part of the company.

And even if you don’t do it yourself, get your senior management team to go undercover. Your company will benefit from it.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

Posted in: Management, Performance

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