Big bonuses: is that what does it? Not according to Undercover Boss Paul Fisher at the Jockey Club.
Former newspaper delivery boy turned accountant turned COO takes off his suit and dons stubble on Channel 4’s latest edition of Undercover Boss. It’s another addictive business soap, if you love that kind of thing.
“Driven” Paul also removes his spreadsheet goggles and looks through new (contact) lenses re-connecting with the people on the front line.
Sure enough the people he meets impress him (and us) greatly. Two stand-out stars for me are Julie, the catering mother figure, who tells him not to sit down on the job; and Tony the long-serving groundsman at the Carlisle Race Course.
Julie gathers her occasional waiting staff and turns them into 5 star pros in next to no time. How does Julie do it? Is it the money? Nope. Pay’s lousy. No it’s the passion. She loves the job and delights in her people.
Julie understands her customer too and tells Paul to smile more whilst waiting at table!
He, in turn, is impressed by her self-funded reward structure (Easter eggs and quizzes) for her team. The staff work for her they tell us, not the employer. It’s telling alright.
Tony, the dedicated groundsman, is passionate too. The track is his life.
But to Paul Fisher’s horror no-one seems to know much about The Jockey Club for which they actually work! Dedication comes from passion, not so much from money or persuasion.
Paul knows how important family life is and declares he wants to be a better Dad, but the long hours away from home aren’t helping.
In the final part he gets his chance to help another family: Tony’s. Tony is allowed to keep his Course Cottage right next to the track, even after he retires. Nice touch Paul.
All the money in the world can’t buy Tony what Paul gives him: a track actually named after Tony. Brilliant touch, because the Ground itself is his passion.
Unlike earlier episodes of Undercover Boss, the business is already profitable. I must admit it is still a bit unclear, to me at least, what Paul is trying to achieve now. What does making the staff appreciate the brand more, really do?
Perhaps the dedication and passion of the staff is the brand?
Can the Jockey Club replicate the same loyalty by funding the “Easter Eggs”, rather than Julie out of her own pocket?
Surely it’s the fact that she cares which has earnt her their loyalty. The lesson to learn is maybe: care more?
Paul admits he cares about the guys on the coal face. His own father was a working man, not properly valued by his employer, so he knows what’s at stake.
What is the brand then, to me a “non-horsey” person? Is it the love for the sport that his team shows, in all its different aspects, from hosting the Sport of Kings to crossing the class divide.
You certainly need spreadsheets to keep the books in order, but Paul himself demonstrates his own passion for the sport and for the people who make it happen. It’s a winning combination every time.
See also Undercover Boss Harry Ramsden;
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