I have a new favorite television show. It’s called Undercover Boss. The whole premise of the show is the CEO of a giant corporation steps down from their post and thrusts themselves into the nitty-gritty aspect of their business. Depending on the type of company they run, depends on what type of work they do “undercover.” For some of the CEOs it is hard to remain unanimous (perhaps because they’re the face of the company). In these cases maybe someone else from their executive team steps down from their position and inserts themselves next to an entry-level worker.
The exectutives almost always end up seeing things from a different perspective by the end of the week. They meet interesting people, learn about how hard it is to work in an entry-level job, and sometimes are surprised by the quality (or lack thereof) of work these individuals do for their company. It is pretty obvious during some of the episodes that certain employees should not be working certain positions. Sometimes, a member of management displays poor taste or behavior in how they treat their employees, and in some instances, a lowly hourly worker displays behavior that is indicative of “management” material.
When the executives are introduced, they pretend they’re being filmed for a documentary about entry-level jobs. In some cases the employees are told they will be training a couple of other individuals that same week, as to not look suspicious. They try their best to disguise themselves, and at the same time they try to learn about their employees, what drives them to work, and more importantly, what they can do to improve their time while they are at work. Some of the individuals have great talents, good ideas, and positive outlooks. Others, on the other hand, have a lack of work ethic, and the executive is put in a tough position because they cannot break their disguise.
At the end of each episode, the employees the executives worked with throughout the week are summoned to the company’s headquarters where they think they will be giving a review of the employees they trained throughout the past few days. Imagine their surprise when the same person they may have just fired three days before opens that door and sits behind their big desk. The shocked faces are priceless as the true identity of their “coworker” or “trainee” is revealed. In most instances their CEO has actually listened to their concerns, about their family, or school, and has set up a nice gift for them. Some of the employees are granted a vacation for their family, some are offered new positions, some are asked to work with different teams in management to better their workplace. Some employees are actually rewarded with their own franchise and the CEO becomes their personal mentor. Those who displayed less than ideal behavior, are asked to be re-trained.
Anyways, it’s a great show, and a fantastic idea. If everyone had some accountability in not only their jobs, but their personal lives because we were unsure whether or not our boss was around might actually do some good. Especially if we knew there could be a possible reward for our hard work.
So, thinking about this for awhile, I thought how awesome would it be, if we, as parents, were able to go “undercover” in our child’s school. I would be very interested to see just exactly what techniques are being deployed to get them to listen, do what they’re told, and behave. There has got to be a system in place that is better than at my house. I’m just saying…