Why the “Undercover Boss” demonstrates the golden opportunity for IC


Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard

I am sure you know the reality TV show “Undercover Boss”. A CEO works in disguise alongside employees to reconnect with what is going on in the business. The CEO gets surprised about the reality in the company, and often decides to do whatever possible to change the reality in both the short- and long term.

Is “Undercover Boss” just a reality TV show – or does “Undercover Boss” display the unpleasant truth about how disconnected CEO’s are from what happens in their companies?

I am convinced of the latter, and I believe this is the golden opportunity for IC professionals to move the needle inside their companies.

Water Melons, Mum’s, and the illusion of the org chart

Firstly, let me share a few organizational insights with you that I believe will convince you of the same.

Water Melon cultures has become the norm. In a “Water Melon” culture the unpleasant truths are hidden from the CEO, as his/her reaction is feared. The messenger may be shoot for delivering bad news. Regretfully, the “Shoot-the-Messenger”-syndrome happens every day in businesses across the world. For the same reason, staff color all KPI’s green, so they look nice on the outside. Yet, if you cut through the surface, it is all a big mess, and should have been communicated as a red KPI.

Is the real