WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

June 3, 2012

UnderCover Boss WordFood At Its Best

I’m a big fan of Undercover Boss, the CBS program where a CEO goes underground in his or her own company to work as a new employee. They learn the ropes and on the way, they are deeply humbled by the stories of their own people, their goodness and commitment. On rare occasions they see less than stellar behavior but by far and away they are blown away by the generosity of spirit, the personal stories and capacity for giving.

At the end of each program the CEO brings these employees back to headquarters. The employees think they’re going to assess the “newbie” they worked with but instead they meet with the CEO who ends up giving them wonderful WordFood about how they performed on the job. How hard they worked, their commitment to the job, how they give to the community, their generosity to their employees. Then, depending on the individual situation, the CEO may give a financial gift to help with education or a vacation.

The program has grown in popularity and has been moved to the prime Friday night slot. I believe that the reason Undercover Boss has become so popular is that we love those moments when the big boss compliments their people. We hunger for that from our own CEO or manager. We wish someone would recognize us that way. It’s not even about the $5000 vacation they’re giving away- we’d just like someone to notice how hard we work. The times we come in early. The hours we spend coaching younger workers. How dedicated we are to doing good work every day. We’d just like to be noticed. In fact, some of your best people are probably starving for attention.

Time and again the employees on Undercover Boss say the same thing: they never thought anyone would ever notice them. Leaders and managers, pay attention. If you want your people to be engaged, to be committed and truly put their hearts into their work, it doesn’t take much. It takes the WordFood of acknowledgement. Notice people doing things right. Watch people every day and tell them you appreciate their hard work.

UnderCover Boss is a study in how to make people feel like a million dollars. It’s a weekly lesson in how to treat your employees well. And it’s not about giving away money. It’s about how we talk to them every day. It’s the acknowledgement that’s most important. People want to know that what they do matters, that someone is paying attention.

If you haven’t seen Undercover Boss yet, start watching. It’s full of ideas on how to really treat your employees.

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