searchbar icon white


Learn how to have conversations that get results

Extreme Beach Ball


The other day, I happened to catch an episode of Oprah where she was previewing a new CBS show called "Undercover Boss" (premiering February 7th). The show has C-Suite executives go undercover within their own organizations to experience the jobs of their front-line employees. I was immediately intrigued.

The first executive profiled was Waste Management's President and COO, Larry O'Donnell. Larry bravely takes on roles from picking cardboard off mind-bendingly fast-moving conveyor belts, to cleaning up Honey Buckets. In each scenario, he not only learns how hard the job is but, more importantly, he becomes aware of a corporate policy that has backfired or created less-than-desired and downright unpredictable consequences. The one that comes to mind is a female garbage collector who urinates in a can as a result of intense pressure to complete her route quickly and being in a traditionally male role.

Throughout the show, Larry resolves each one of these issues as a result of having gone through this experience - one that I would consider Extreme Beach Ball. How wonderful if each officer or policy maker could have a hands-on experience of each employee's "stripe". It's an immediate reality check. And I would now encourage Larry to continue exploring this new found territory by holding regular Beach Ball meetings that include front-line employees whenever a new policy, directive, or mandate is being considered.

For those of you who could use a "Larry" to experience your reality, what would he discover?


Related Posts

Fierce Newsletter

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get blogs, ebooks, and more delivered straight to you.

Continue the Conversation...


Fierce Newsletter

We're glad you liked it!

Keep the conversation going. Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Get blogs, ebooks, and more delivered straight to you.