Undercover Boss - For the Truth, Get in the Trenches

Yesterday 38.6 million people watched the premier of CBS's "Undercover Boss" after the Super Bowl. And they didn't watch it just because it was after the Super Bowl - though true that helped. But also because many were shocked, awed and could unfortunately relate.

In large companies, especially in service industries, there is often the brutal reality of the large gap between the dream of the CEO to create a successful company and the nightmare of the implementations to achieve that end - at any cost, often at any employee cost. A company who abuses their employees cannot ethically self-identify as a successful company. We all know that money sought without ethics and morals is simply greed.

The obvious lesson learned is in order to get to the truth, get in the trenches. Not only will you earn your employees' respect, you will understand them on a whole new level. It is very likely that your compassion and gratitude will deepen for them. And one thing is for sure, taking time to experience hands-on the basic skills/activities that make the donuts for your company, will lead to better decisions. As well as to employee respect, satisfaction and loyalty.

Most entrepreneurs who have built their businesses have done every job in their business and know what to expect, as well as what is realistic for employees to achieve. However there are many leaders who run a businesses they did not build and hence do not know the down and dirty difficulties of the ground floor.

I'm a perfect example of this.

When I was the CEO Exodus Moving & Storage, I didn't have moving experience on my resume. I'd never moved a piano, gun safe or hot tub, just my belongings from my parents' house to a college dorm to an apartment and later to my own home. Many of these first moves were in the hatchback of my Suburu. I struggled to gain the full respect of my movers because I didn't "KNOW" how it felt to be a mover. It was just a concept for me.

Looking back, I wish I had spent time in the trenches getting to experience and understand on a gut level (not an office intellectual level) the difficulties that my employees faced on a day to day basis.

So don't look back and wish, take the opportunity now, put it in your calendar to take a whole day - if not two or three, within the next month and get on the ground floor.

Walk in your employees' shoes. See through your employees' eyes.

Guaranteed you will be a better leader for your new found awareness.

Culture Works

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