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Earth Day - Everyday

Push Yourself with Paul and Matt

Yvonne-trans Anyone else hooked on the new reality show, Undercover Boss? I watch it with a critical eye, hoping to find mistakes and areas where the gray of life is presented as black and white. But, I think it's well done and I find the employees credible.

The men who are the "boss" are credible to a point. Obviously, they have editorial control over what gets aired. And, I'm not at all convinced the employees don't know exactly why they're being filmed. Honestly, some of the things they share with this "new" employee, someone they've supposively never met before, is out of character.

Still, they say confession is good for the soul.

Which leads me to this post, today. I'm focused on inspiration. I'm not as interested in the marketing side of things, lately. I'm adopting a view on the personal - where stories people share (like the ones in Undercover Boss), become the truth of how to reach out to clients and customers.

Where stories, inspirational because they are true and they relate tales of overcoming the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune, form the basis for how to be in a relationship - how to be a good listener - how to make your customers and clients your focus.

A very good friend of mine from high school sent me an email recently and shared a story that is sure toCar keys make you stop and pause. It's not about her. All the more powerful - it was something she felt she had to share, and I agree. That's why I'm sharing it here. In hopes that it will inspire you to pay it forward.

This is the story of Matt. Matt was "That Guy" who grew up achieving in every area of his life. He was a role model, active in his community, excelled in academics and athletics, earned himself a full scholarship to Temple University, and eventually signed a professional contract as a soccer player.

Now, Matt is "That Guy" - a drunk driver who killed an innocent man and who now resides in prison.

For want of making the right choice, the right decision, Matt will pay for his mistake for the rest of his life. He is trying to deal with this by keeping a blog which is a worthwile read. I am not sharing this to excuse him, nor to give him attention, and not even to help validate the senselessness of what he did. I do not suggest you model his behavior or accept the message in his writings.

I'm sharing this because Matt is a human being, like us, and we need to hear from others who make major tragic mistakes - all the more to understand that our little wrong turns on the way to work, or our forgotten lunch left in the fridge, are minor and not worth our tears. And, we need to understand that it's in looking inward that we will find the right answers.

Another reason I'm sharing is because within her email, my high school friend also shared another link. This is to her son Paulie's website (you see, we still call him Paulie - as if he were still a baby; we Moms do that)- where his focus is on inspiration, courage and motivation. All the things that give life promise. Paulie recommends that you Push Yourself - here's his homepage intro:

Philosophy

To inspire, encourage and motivate people to make a difference. "Push Yourself" is the act of stepping outside of your comfort zone to stir and cultivate a movement that changes the world. If everyone pushed themselves to do more, the world would be a better place. One person going above and beyond can be infectious to those around them, creating a ripple effect of positive and uplifting actions. "Push Yourself" is not just a movement; it's a way of life.

What have you done today?

And so, what HAVE you done today? Are you undercover or standing with arms open? What can you do today to pay it forward? What can I do to help?

Comments

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Yvonne DiVita

Interesting, Bruce. Are we to assume then that a company which realizes its faults should just ignore them? Are we to believe the U.S.'s Fortune 500 companies operate the way you describe? Are we to believe that CEOs will/are/have the character to meet and greet all employees? Or that employees should concern themselves with the CEO because, after all, he or she is the reason the company exists?

I think you miss the point. I think you have great insight - a bonus in a world where relationships are of prime importance in business. But, I also think the show makes a point that says employees are not just numbers on a chart, and CEOs cannot know them -without getting out to meet them. And most big companies, like the ones on Undercover Boss, provide little opportunity for the employees and the CEO to interact.

The show gives all of us a reason to be better than we are. Because, in the end, we are not all we can be. "Great companies foster great employees that do great things regardless of who's looking"... I would agree with that but few big companies are great enough, today, to do that.

Maybe Undercover Boss will inspire them. And maybe it will be a lesson to new companies on the verge of greatness, today.

Bruce Peters

Not hooked at all on "Undercover Boss" for it conveys a couple of messages of what is wrong with how businesses might be lead. Two questions stand out.
The first is why don't the employees know who the boss is. Shame on them and the boss. Isn't it incumbent upon the leader to be at least visible to those that follow. Indeed, isn't it part of the leader's role? And, shouldn't the employee have some responsibility to know? I did a mini personal study a few years ago of asking Rental Car Employees the name of their company CEO. None knew. Yes, that is "none".
Secondly, if the leader needs to go into hiding ("Undercover") to learn what is going on in their organization what does that tell you about the company character and trust? It seems that great companies foster great employees that do great things regardless of who's looking.
For my part I will not watch the show and hope it has a limited shelf life. Nor will I do business with a company that feels the need. Wouldn't you rather do business with a company where the leader is well known and visible to employees ( Yes and clients) and where the character of the company is built on trust to do things right?

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