undercover boss

Did you see this show? It aired after the Superbowl so we ended up watching it. If you missed it, the premise of this new reality TV show is that CEO’s and presidents of major corporations are going undercover as regular employees in their own companies to get an idea of what happens in the “real world” outside of the corporate offices.

In the first episode, the President and COO of Waste Management (the largest trash hauler and recycler in the world) goes undercover for 7 days to various Waste Management facilities across the country to experience life as one of the worker bees. He comes in incognito as a new employee to the facility and receives some quick training and then goes right to work. The second day, he actually got fired because he couldn’t pick up trash fast enough that was blowing around a landfill. In short, he learned a tremendous amount about what some of the policies he had put in place from the top had affected people at the lowest levels of his organization. It was a very intriguing show!

As I watched, I couldn’t help but think that this is exactly what God did in sending His Son Jesus. Philippians 2:6-8 tells us that Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!”

The second thought I had was the passage in Matthew 20:26-28 where Jesus says, “whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

It was a leadership lesson for me. I saw the President & COO of Waste Management clean out porta-potties and ride around in a garbage truck emptying trash cans. First, I was pretty impressed that he was a humble enough guy to do that and, second, he actually learned a great deal from the experience and was changed by it! I’ve witnessed too many leaders who seem to thrive off of “ivory tower” leadership practices making decisions and edicts and simply expecting those underneath him to comply without resistance. I pray that I never become such a leader but that I will have the heart of a servant.

Did you see the show? What were your thoughts?


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