There are many business reality television programmes’, I recently watched the Channel 4 show Under Cover Boss http://www.channel4.com/programmes/undercover-boss/. My clients typically have less than fifty employees, and the Managing Director Owner (MDO), usually started the business from very humble beginings. The MDO usually really understands their market sector. I discussed the programme with a client of mine, at the same time as talking about all the wonderful sport that is on this summer.
He felt going ‘undercover’ would be irrelevant for him, as he works with all the staff, on a daily basis, a very fair comment. We then discussed the last time he discussed non critical operational issues with his staff. Like all small businesses, there are daily critical issues to resolve and it is difficult to focus on any issues other than keeping the business going and providing an excellent service to clients. Also there are only so many hours in the day for the MDO.
In my business, I used to have operational meeting every Monday morning, discussing what needed to be delivered that week. This meeting involved the heads of the various departments. We decided as a management team, that the first Monday of the month we would invite all staff to this meeting, we had about sixty people then. We then had an agenda item, where we discussed with the staff if they had ideas where we could we save money and be smarter. Without exception every meeting, there was one idea that was really good, that we subsequently executed within the business.
So an undercover Boss in a SME company is not possible, however a forum where the issues an Undercover Boss may discover, if he was undercover, can really help the efficiency and staff morale within a SME business.