Undercover boss – was it rubbish?

Not at all! Although the business dealt in recycling rubbish – see Channel 4’s latest episode about Viridor.  

CEO Colin Drummond goes undercover to work in the gritty front line of waste disposal.

Two things captivate me watching this series, and this episode was no exception:

First off is the people. It’s hard, noisy, dirty, unglamorous work. Colin’s crew is pretty impressive. One guy makes drudgery divine by meeting, dating and proposing to his future wife he met on the rubbish sifting lines.

Another uses up his holiday entitlement, to save taking time off for treatment for a very serious illness.

The star for me was Paul, a chirpy motivator with a fruity tongue and a neat line in customer service. Surely his skills with the customers are what can help differentiate the highly competitive business?

We catch a glimpse of Paul introducing the new boy (undercover Colin) as “Steptoe” – hilarious! But watch the customer: they don’t want to lose Paul. That’s actually good news for the boss even if he is the butt of the joke.

Second thing that captivates me, is what motivates the CEO to get where he/she has got.

With Colin he describes with real feeling just how devastating things were in Belfast as he grew up. But it was not the Troubles, it was unemployment. He saw at first hand how this destroyed self-respect in men.

Colin’s family is really important to him, and we learn that his wife of 35 years, describes him as a “driven perfectionist”. This drive comes from those deep childhood feelings.

It has propelled him to “work hard until the job is done”. Going undercover reveals more work required. The site at Filton has squalid conditions for the team there, and he sets out to put this right.

Colin’s been to Harvard and Oxford but does not forget his roots in the shipyards of Belfast. He seems easily to connect with the working man.

I’m left wanting to know more. Wanting to know what the Board really thought; wanting to know if the changes he made were effective; wanting to know what impact they had on the staff and the bottom line…

Perhaps that’s the secret of these business “soaps”? I for one am hooked!

see also who says money motivates – Jockey Club;

why be an undercover boss;

About drstevelewis

Good leadership is essential for any project to succeed. I specialise in the most difficult leadership challenges; those involving the way we relate to other people or the way they relate to us. With a background of many years in business and an earlier training in medicine I combine the two in a unique consultancy.
This entry was posted in Driven, Finding success in business, Getting to the top, TV reviews, Undercover Boss and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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