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A Life Changing Experience?

The article “Undercover Boss’ role opens Republic Airways CEO’s eyes” describes what Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford learned while participating on the show “Undercover Boss“. In the show, CEOs go undercover and work on the front lines as a DORK in disguise.

Here’s one thing Mr. Bedford said of his experience:

“What was eye-opening, the most noticeable thing was just the disconnect and (poor) communication between the management team and front-line employees,” Bedford said.

I don’t know what was so eye opening about it. As usual, I just don’t get it. Do you? Do you now understand the meaning of one of the profanely endearing acronyms, CGH, that I often use in this boisterous blog?

Moving on, here’s some more unsurprising (at least to me) commentary :

While working in different roles for the company — including cleaning aircraft, checking baggage, dumping aircraft toilets and standing at the ticket counter — he asked fellow employees why they didn’t take their complaints to management to implore change. The same response came time and time again: “No, I’ve talked to management about this stuff, and they never listen,” Bedford said.

Wow. Huge surprise, no? Why won’t the BMs, BUTTs, and CCRATs in the fatty middle org layers listen to, and act on, DICforce inputs? Because it would require hard work and it could make them look bad. You know, their image of being infallibly in charge might suffer: “Damn the org, it’s all about me and my success“.

“Are you here to build a career or to build an organization?” – Peter Block

I’m almost done with this rant, so bear with me just a couple of more sentences. Summing up his experience, Mr. Bedford relates his epiphany:

When you are actually working side by side and hearing about their struggles, it’s very personal. It’s life-changing. You can never go back to thinking of them as anything other than family.

So, six months from now, after returning to the same-old, same-old business as usual (operating off spreadsheets and powerpoints, communicating solely with his hand picked yes-men junta, caving to pressure from Wall St. and shareholders) do you think Bryan will remember what he said? I hope so, but I doubt it. He’s human just like you and (maybe) me.

How about you? Even if he/she wanted to, would your CEO, or even your immediate manager, be capable of doing your job in order to experience your frustrations at the inefficiency, dysfunction, and red tape that engulfs you?

  1. fish wrapped in newspaper
    October 19, 2010 at 7:44 am

    People screw family over all the time.

    And since people are elevated to the level of their incompetence, my boss couldn’t do my job, because he lacks the skill-set. If he could, he wouldn’t be my boss, and I’d be out of a job.

    • October 19, 2010 at 9:16 am

      Good family-screws-family point.

      In the “old days”, bosses used to be able to do the DIC-jobs when holes needed to be filled and/or the DICsters went on strike. The trouble is, in the “new days”, too many front line bosses (but not ALL, PhilN) want the DORK-force to still believe that’s true – so they can appear competent “directing and supervising” what they don’t have a clue about.

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