The television show Undercover Boss continues to yield great management lessons, but each episode is less and less cringe-worthy. I don't know if I should be happy or disappointed.
Last Sunday's episode featured Bill Carstanjen, COO of Churchill Downs, Inc., going undercover to get a glimpse of what's really happening on the front lines. Bill seemed to get it right while sidestepping the sort of scandal shown in other episodes. He found out his employees' jobs were really hard, but the employees he worked with were very passionate and dedicated. He was touched by their personal stories, but resisted the urge to meddle in his operations or burn one of the employees' managers on national television like other bosses have done on the show. Bill even provided a gem of a quote as the show was wrapping up:
The most important things in life start with human interaction.
Unfortunately, the episode didn't have the kind of shocking (a.k.a. entertaining) moments I saw on other episodes. There weren't any openly disgruntled managers trying to lead the mutiny against corporate (see White Castle). I didn't see any corporate edicts being ignored (see 7-Eleven). No employee on the latest show used a coffee can for a restroom (see Waste Management). I know, 'yawn', right? Well, it was still an interesting show.