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One of the few Reality TV programs I enjoy watching is Undercover Boss on CBS.  This program exemplifies all the reasons why it is so important for executive leadership and senior management to keep in touch with the front lines of the company.    As a lean practitioner I consider the culture of the company to be the defining difference between the success and failure of any improvement initiatives including lean, quality, or implementing new metrics to manage performance such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Labour Efficiency.

Perhaps the greatest discovery that the CEO’s of these featured companies make is that it is the people behind the product that really define the company they work for.  While this may sound soft and far removed from what it really means to run a business, I contend that it is the very essence of what it means to make a company successful.  The latest Undercover Boss program featured Dennis R. Slagle, President and CEO of Mack Truck.  On one hand, the CEO’s learn some important and valuable lessons about the company and life in general.  On the other hand it is unfortunate that the these discoveries are based on the false premise of posing as a new employee competing for a position within the company.

An article featured on digtriad.com titled “Mack Trucks’ CEO Denny Slagle Featured on CBS’ Undercover Boss“, presents some behind the scenes details and insights from Slagle’s experience.  In Slagle’s words, “The show gave me a very deep understanding of what we do not only affects the employee and their families, but also affects their community.  Fortunately for many of us, we are able to routinely meet with our teams and employees – formally and informally.  The open door policy prevails in many companies today and many more CEO’s are beginning to appreciate that people are truly their greatest asset.

I have read and also recommend the book version of Undercover Boss by Stephen Lambert and Eli Holzman.  You can get your copy by clicking here:   Undercover Boss.  As of this writing, you can get a copy for only $2.41 plus Shipping & Handling.

In the spirit of this post – Happy Family Day Ontario!

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

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