Saturday, April 24, 2010

Undercover CEO Reality Show

I don't usually watch reality shows, but I caught an episode of Undercover CEO (GSI Commerce the featured company) because my family was watching, and I got interested. I won't go into all the details, but it involved the CEO taking several pretty low-level, blue-collar hourly jobs. He learned a lot, made some changes based on what he learned, promoted a couple of people, and fired another one. All plausible, all good stuff.

It reminded me of something I read years ago in Tom Peters' book In Search of Excellence. He talked about companies making sure that execs got their hands very dirty, with menial work--like having Disney execs direct traffic in the parking lot. I always thought there was a lot to be said for that approach, and that was basically what happened in Undercover CEO.

The other interesting thing was that he uncovered talent in fairly "low skill" workers. Latent talent that was just in need of some nurturing, to make them more valuable and probably much better-paid. I think this is one area of vast, untapped potential in our economy. SO many employees are stuck in dead-end jobs, where nobody is making any kind of investment in them. And the results show.

1 comment:

  1. You just hope that there are good managers above them that allow them to grow and mentor them up the ladder.