I coach sales people to work in their client’s business one full day in order to learn the real issues and needs of their customer. Today, I’m telling you as the business owner, to assume the role of one of your employees at least one week per year.
I’ve professed this for some time to sales people. Now it’s time for the managers and owners to pay attention. You may be familiar with CBS Television’s program called “Undercover Boss.” In short, the CEO of a large company goes ‘rank and file’ for a week to see how things run from an employee’s standpoint. It’s usually a large company where the head man is not typically visible or known by the workers. It was quite an eye opener in the season premier for Larry O’Donnell, CEO of Waste Management, as he dressed down for the dirty, smelly and back breaking jobs his employees take to task each day. He saw both the good and bad: bad policies that aggravate good employees, and those workers who inspired others in spite of their tough personal circumstances.
This show and my philosophy clearly open new thoughts for business. One, you don’t have to be good at whatever your company does to be a successful boss. Larry was told he wasn’t cut out for a job picking up trash with his own company. You do, however, need to be a visionary and a problem solver.
Second, it’s important to find out what your employees are doing and how you can work for them. Make sure they know and are invested in the goal. Ask your employees this: “What I can do to make your job more profitable or successful?”
The third part that CBS missed but we didn’t, is to go undercover to find out what your customers think about your company. Mission statements look nice on the wall of the front office, but they don’t mean much when it comes to moving the bottom line. However, a boss who spends a week in the field with workers or customers will likely implement changes that will improve efficiency and sales. Heck, maybe your success story will be featured on TV!
Challenge yourself to get down and dirty and go undercover this year!