“Undercover Boss” Is Something Every CEO Should Do (Minus The Disguise)

If you could walk in anyone’s shoes, who’s would it be?

When asked that question, I bet a good percentage of the population would pick their favorite celebrity, or somebody they have yet to meet.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to shadow the crazy lives of Jay- Z, Lady Gaga or George Clooney (personally, I’d like to follow the life of Dr. Dre, given our professional kinship), the television show “Undercover Boss” gives this concept a meaningful twist.

In “Undercover Boss,” we see leadership literally step into the shoes of their employees to see what an average day is like at their company – the challenges, the rewards, the areas for improvement.

It’s really an intriguing concept – something that every CEO could do, regardless of their field (but perhaps without the fake mustaches and other disguises).

It’s something that I’ve just begun to do at Henry Ford Hospital.

I know what it is like to be a medical student, a resident, a staff physician and now the President and CEO.

But the amazing team at Henry Ford Hospital is so diverse – both clinical and non-clinical employees all play an important role in the care that every patient receives at the hospital. And it’s important as CEO to know who your employees are and what their work lives entail.

So recently I decided to take a walk in the shoes of Richard Ford, a longstanding employee who is an electrician (among other trades) in the Henry Ford Hospital Service Response Center.

I should also mention that Richard is well-known and loved by many for his wit and character – a trait that, earlier in his life, made him consider a career as a radio DJ.

But Richard instead found his way to Henry Ford Hospital, and we’re so glad that he did.

(And I should note that his great radio voice has been an asset to the hospital. Richard emcees some of our most important employee events, including our recent Men Who Cook event.)

Not surprisingly, I learned quite a great deal in my short time shadowing Richard.

Have you ever walked through the clinic areas and noticed the tube system – similar to those you’d see at a bank drive-through?

Richard and his colleagues maintain that delivery system, which allows our employees to quickly transfer important paperwork to various areas throughout the hospital.

Or how about the music in the hospital hallways, the overhead paging and fire systems/alarms? Richard’s responsible for all of those systems (and sounds) too.

Fortunately Richard’s taste in music has changed from his early years of wanting to be a DJ.  If not, we would be walking the halls and the basement to the surfing beat of Dick Dale and the Deltones, and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

One of the greatest take-aways from my experience with Richard is his “can do” attitude.

If there’s an issue, even if it’s not something related to the Service Response Center, Richard always finds a way to help.

Richard is a shining example for what makes The Henry Ford Hospital a great place to work and receive care.

Above is a video recapping a bit of my experience with Richard.

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One thought on ““Undercover Boss” Is Something Every CEO Should Do (Minus The Disguise)

  1. Richard, did you decide on the lullaby for when babies are born? If you did,I just wanted to tell you I LOVE IT!!! It brings a smile to my face everytime I hear it.

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