#112 – Undercover Boss

Curiosity compelled me recently to watch a couple of episodes of the TV show Undercover Boss. Some of the best parts, in my opinion, were the creative responses to problems that were discovered. Problem employees were not summarily disciplined or fired, but instead were offered training and development opportunities. I appreciated seeing leaders with genuine compassion, in contrast to most portrayals in the popular media. It’s good to see the challenges of leading a business presented in a quasi-realistic manner, and hopefully the show is educational to those who may have little understanding of the formidable demands of managing a complex organization.

Food for Thought ~

The larger issue the show tries to address is a very real dilemma for leaders – how do you glean accurate information about your company when you are largely insulated by an organizational hierarchy? How do you overcome people’s fears of making mistakes or a tendency to cover up problems? One of the ways is to begin, of course, with yourself, admitting any mistakes you make and studying problems you discover. You purposefully create a culture where mistakes and problems are in a “safety zone” and valued for their learning potential. Little problems now are gold mines for preventative strategies that minimize the likelihood of bigger problems later. (LPN are better than BPL.)

Question of the day ~

What is the prevailing culture in your organization regarding problems and mistakes? Does your company culture inhibit or encourage surfacing issues for examination?

For those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to read my current article in the North Bay Business Journal on leaving a legacy, click here. It details four key points for developing your legacy as a leader.