I was one of the many millions who stayed tuned to CBS after the Superbowl this last Sunday to watch the new reality show, Undercover Boss. To me, it was a hit - at least this episode was, since I've been thinking a lot about it ever since.
In this first episode of the new series, Larry O'Donnell, President and C.O.O. of Waste Management, went 'undercover' in his own company to find out how his corporate policies affected workers on the front lines.
According to the show, as a result of this exercise, O'Donnell:
- Learned that some cost-cutting and productivity initiatives didn't necessarily work as well in practice as they did on paper
- Identified some 'rising star' employees within the firm and learned about the issues and challenges confronting them on a daily basis
- Saw first hand what a difference a positive and caring attitude could have on both workers and clients alike
- Began working with his employees to institute change as a result of his experience
What can lawyers learn from the show and from O'Donnell's experiences?
Whether you're a big firm manager or a solo practitioner or somewhere in between, you are setting policy and developing procedures on a regular basis.
How often do you check in with the people on the 'front lines' of your practice to see whether they agree with your policies, whether they think those policies help or hinder them in their day to day work, and whether they have any suggestions for improvement?
Do you get your employees involved in setting policies or researching ways to improve their service?
If you're a solo, when was the last time you checked your own stats to see whether you are as productive and effective as you could be, and which policies foster your core business values?
Are your policies and procedures helping you to provide your clients with an exceptional client experience, or are they getting in the way of establishing relationships that could lead to future business and referrals?
Are the people who work in your firm positive and enthusiastic about their jobs and the service they provide to your clients, regardless of their education and experience level?
Are you positive and enthusiastic about your work and your clients?
If you missed the first show, you can watch Undercover Boss here.