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What an ‘undercover boss’ can teach

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Much has been written about the show “Undercover Boss” and what managers and leaders can learn from it. But managers aren’t the only ones who can benefit.

Administrative professionals, who partner with those same managers and leaders, can benefit from glimpsing a business through the eyes of top brass. It’s a reminder of how to bring value to your organization.

For example:

In a recent episode, Joe DePinto, the CEO of 7-Eleven, discovers that one store routinely throws out day-old bakery items. It’s a huge waste. Even though employees may not like doing it, they follow the process because it’s what they’ve always done.

Once the CEO witnesses the waste, though, he takes quick steps to make sure the day-old goods are donated to charity.

Lesson: Try to see things through fresh eyes. Where there is inefficiency, look for a way to streamline. Where there is waste, eliminate it.

Another example:

When DePinto visits one of the chain’s highest-grossing stores, he finds a light bulb burnt out. With so many franchisees to support, maintenance says it could take up to a month to fix.

Lesson: Question a process that doesn’t make sense, especially when you can quantify the cost and potential gain of changing it. In this case, wouldn’t it make sense for the company to prioritize a repair in one of its top-producing stores?

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