Back to the Shop Floor
Reconnecting With Your People
Chances are, you've seen an episode or two of the hit TV show "Undercover Boss," where senior executives of major companies disguise themselves as lower-level employees, and are put to work in different parts of their own organizations.
It's often an eye-opening and humbling experience of life outside the boardroom, as the undercover bosses hear the unvarnished truth about what their people really think of them and their company's leadership.
But the executives also learn valuable lessons about working conditions, team morale, and where processes could be improved.
So, should managers and leaders swap their suits and swivel chairs for hard hats and work boots more often? In this article, we look at the advantages and pitfalls of getting back to the "shop floor."
Unlike the TV show, we are not suggesting that you go back to the shop floor undercover or in disguise! What makes for good television viewing could lead to accusations of spying or deception in real life. This article is about being yourself and learning firsthand about the issues that your people and customers face, and what opportunities there are for improvement.
What Is the Shop Floor?
The shop floor can have a number of interpretations, depending on what type of organization you work for and your level within it. Traditionally, it means the factory or manufacturing area where assembly or production takes place. It is also used to describe storage or warehouse facilities.