CBS premiered a new reality show Sunday night called Undercover Boss. I watched the last half of the show when it aired, then went back and caught the first half online. I must say I was impressed. I’m typically not a fan of reality TV, but this one is great. The concept is ingenious. The top executive from the selected company goes undercover and works various jobs within the organization to see what the employees go through in a typical day. You can check out the first full episode by clicking the link below.
In this episode, Larry O’Donnell, President and COO of Waste Management, worked alongside employees doing a variety of undesirable jobs, including cleaning port-a-potties and running a garbage collection route. In each job, Mr. O’Donnell was able to learn exactly what his employees did day after day and the challenges they faced, often caused by policies he had implemented. He saw how these policies, for example a productivity quota for the garbage collection route, actually made the employees’ jobs more difficult and less enjoyable.
At the end of the show the boss brings each employee he worked with in one at a time to reveal his true identity and explain why he went undercover. After seeing how many policies handed down from the corporate office negatively affected employee morale and productivity, Mr. O’Donnell promised to make changes. By getting in the trenches and learning exactly what his people do, the boss was able to better understand and connect with his employees. What a great concept!
I am looking forward to the next episode, which will air Sunday night at 8:00 PM CST on CBS. I think every CEO in the country needs to do something like this. There are far too many bosses out there who have no idea what many of the people who are the backbone of the company do on a daily basis. Undercover Boss is giving executives a chance to really connect with their employees and create a more positive work environment. Kudos to the creators of this show for a very well thought out and interesting idea. I love it!
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