On Super Bowl Sunday, following the game and the usual evening ritual of putting the kids to bed, I made my way back downstairs to our family/TV room. Our son’s room is in the basement and we committed long ago that one of us, my wife or I, would hang downstairs until he falls asleep.
I usually take this time to catch up on my TV watching – I don’t know how we ever lived without a DVR – but not this night. In a matter of minutes I was sucked into the new CBS reality series, UNDERCOVER BOSS, which follows high-level chief executives as they slip anonymously into the rank and file of their companies.
The first episode was an eye opener for me and, I think the series should be required viewing for every chief executive in America.
We have all heard the leadership saying – don’t ask anyone to do something, you are not prepared to do yourself. I think we all know that the higher we get on the proverbial corporate ladder, that mantra seems to get lost in the shuffle. I know I’ve been guilty of this – letting my position as a manager or leader – dictate what I will do and what is beneath my station in the corporate structure.
I’ve worked for leaders with egos so big they got in the way. I’ve worked for leaders and managers who made decisions that were convenient for them and detrimental to their organizations.
I get the fact that it’s easy to get caught in the glamour and glory of the corner office … but at what cost?
It may just be a reality series on CBS, but I am convinced that as leaders, we need to go undercover. We need to go back to the front lines of our organization and see how the decisions or edicts we’ve made and proclaimed impact our employees and our customers.
Going undercover may not be realistic for you, but…
- Spending a day on the factory floor is doable;
- Taking a shift in the call center is doable;
- Being at the registration table signing people in for your company’s sales event is doable;
- Staying late to clean the toilets or vacuum the office is doable;
Reconnecting with your company and the experience it provides by doing a frontline employee’s job for the day is completely doable.
We know it’s doable, but the question is this … will you do it?
Leaders – we need to go undercover every day. What are you waiting for … let’s go!