I am skeptical that this reality show (Undercover Boss) will actually do any good but the webclip looks fun. It will premier right after the Super Bowl on CBS.
The concept, if done right, could actually be interesting. But even in that case, I would be skeptical it would do much good. I may be wrong, but I would think we will get a whole bunch of thoughts based on one single data point (no appreciation of a system, no understanding variation, no understanding psychology – just playing to psychology, and no understanding of how we form beliefs). My guess is the show will largely be having fun with making bosses actually do physical and customer service work. And probably the bosses trying to appeal to the common working man with admiration about how hard this work is.
They then will go back to their overinflated salaries and continue to limit the rewards for those they spoke so highly of while TV cameras rolled, and in general practice disrespect for people not respect for people. If it actually gets a few MBAs to stop managing by spreadsheet and start actually managing with an understanding the business systems they manage that would be great.
Going to the Gemba, where the rubber meets the road is great. But unless the management systems are in place to improve it is more like a site-seeing trip than a management tool. More like those people that go to a working ranch for a vacation (where they work on a ranch) to experience something new before returning to their normal life.
via: Dan McCarthy, How to be an “Undercover Leader”. He is more hopeful than I am about the show.