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Undercover Boss--Lessons Learned

Tom Ninness
Mar 27, 2010

Undercover Boss—Lessons Learned Each week a different executive will leave the comfort of their corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their company. While working alongside their employees, they will see the effects their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organization and get an up-close look at both the good and the bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their company run. The executive changes their looks/appearance not to be recognized. Some of the companies featured are Waste Management, Hooters, White Castle Restaurant and 7-11 Stores. When I watch a show like this, I’m always looking for gold nuggets that I can use for in my business. Here is just a couple. Being a Customer-Driven Company You must have a constant focus on the customer. To create this focus, every employee must have a clear understanding of how his or her job impact the customer—from the receptionist at the front desk, to you the CEO of your organization. In addition, every employee must be treated if he or she is an customer also. For example, in the mortgage industry, the loan officer must treat their loan processor as his customer and the loan processor must treat their underwriter and closer as their customer. In my position as a regional production manager, I must make it a priority of serving the people within my organization. The same holds true to the vendors that we works with. Having a customer-driven culture with your vendors is so important to the success of your organization. Using the mortgage industry again for another example, my vendors would include the appraiser, the credit report company, the real estate professional and the title company just to name a few. They give us referrals, they speak highly about us, they become power partners, all because they know how their clients and themselves will be treated. Skills/Competencies Needed The corporations featured on this show have thought out and trained their employees on skills and competencies. The CEO also knows that they themselves need certain skills and competencies to move their corporation to sustainable and profitable growth. Even though most of us aren’t the size of Waste Management, we still run a business—even if it ourselves. The following is a list of skills and competencies necessary, no matter what your business size is. 1. Working With People a. Communicate clearly-both verbally and in writing b. Cooperate working with others in their teams c. Build and maintain networks and business relationships d. Advise, coach and empower others e. Deal with conflict situations promptly f. Provide mentoring support to colleagues 2. People Management a. Recognize and reward achievement b. Inspire others c. Holding people accountable d. Strong commitment to employee development e. Evaluate the potential in others 3. Strategic Management a. Adapt to changing circumstances b. Identify and articulate long term vision for future c. Deep understanding of markets, customers and competitors d. Assess the risk and return of decisions 4. Personal Characteristics a. Demonstrate a passion to succeed b. Accept responsibility for success and failures c. Be open to new ideas d. Challenge the status quo e. Display confidence f. Show commitment to continual personal development g. Be sensitive to the needs of others h. Be 100% truthful in what we say i. Integrity is how you run your life Take some time this week and assess where you are in these skills and competencies. As I was writing typing them out, I know I have a few if not many that needs major improvement. I wish you a wonderful and successful week!! Tom Ninness is the Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and Summit Champions, go to: or contact Tom at [email protected] Office: 303-840-0753.
Mar 27, 2010