Sunday, March 7, 2010

Undercover Boss Is A Great Idea

The new TV show called, Undercover Boss on CBS is an interesting show. If you haven't seen it yet, the CEO of a large company goes undercover with a video crew as an entry level employee with the concept of the video crew as documenting entry level employee jobs.

I love the concept of the show of the CEO doing this because it gives the CEO a birds-eye view of how their decisions affect the people who are on the front line. In that and the revelations that follow, this is good. The show is a little too sweet and predictable after the first show was made. Now they all look like the same thing redone.

Speaking to CEO's and managers, when was the last time you really took a good look at how what you do affects what is being done on the front line? How is the phone being answered? How are customers communicated with? How are customer complaints resolved? What is the attitude of the front line employees? How are the managers dealing with front line employees? What are customers saying about their experience with your company? How are things improved?

These are a few and there are a lot more similar questions that can be asked to find out how your company is doing and I highly recommend that every CEO and high level manager find out. As they demonstrate in the TV show, Undercover Boss, there is a lot of disconnect from the top to the bottom. Whatever that can be done to improve this is worth doing for the employees and the customers.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Creating Abundance Instead of Scarcity, Part 1

Every business loves scarcity and would like to have more of it. . . if they had what was scarce in quantity. Think about that. They love to have scarcity as long as they have abundance. It is sort of the definition of selfish: the smaller the pie, the better, as long as I have more than anyone else.

Market share. That is an interesting phrase. I remember when I was young, General Motors used to have over 50% market share. What is it today? Yet, they still spend so much time focusing on that phrase, market share. How big is my piece of the pie? I want more of the pie than anyone else and that will make me successful. . . Why not just focus on being the best that you can be regardless of who is doing what? The public could care less what your market share is. This is ego run amok.

Competition. Some companies spend an inordinate amount of time focused on competing with other companies. That reminds me of follow the leader--of course, that is after you figure out who the leader is. There is a lot of time spent analyzing just that: who is leading? Why not save time, energy and committee's by just leading? Comparing ourselves, our product or our company to others is not helpful. It is a total and complete waste of time, energy and people-power.

Fear. Protectionism. There is plenty of this all around, and no need to manufacture any more of it, yet companies and managers are so fearful of information being obtained by others. Computers are locked down so no one can go to Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, MySpace, and a few million other off-limits places. We protect ourselves from ourselves to the degree that we cannot grow. Rather than think of protecting the company from harm, think of how those sites can be used to expand the company! What if all of your employees were promoting your business through social networking rather than saying that other stuff about how lame you are, etc. Take a lemon and make lemonade?

I've seen a good deal of this kind of thinking in my travels and consulting with truck dealers, body companies and others. There is so much more value to be had by thinking differently and more openly. Keeping the cards close to your vest in an Internet world where information is free is counterproductive. Instead, think like an entrepreneur and make use of this most awesome tool. Open the floodgates and let the games begin!