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Chris McCann, President of 1-800-Flowers was an undercover employee on Undercover Boss. He went into the highest performing store in their system looking for the “secret” to this high grossing store. He met and worked with the employees, undercover mind you, and when his week was up, he recognized them all because he found the “secret”… them.

  • He gave one designer an opportunity to be on the national Design Council, her dream since working there.
  • He gave the young team member his personal promise of mentorship AND $25,000 toward becoming the youngest franchise owner in the company.
  • He gave the store manager an arrangement named after her and the paradise customers feel when they walk into the store,  “Dee’s Paradise”
  • Then he shared a video of his mistakes, his lessons learned, and his realizations as an undercover employee at an all company meeting.

There were tears, cheers, and incredibly loyal smiles and inspiration on the faces of nearly all employees and team members present. Do you think they have a new appreciation for their leader? Think they’ll go anywhere anytime soon with this new show of interest in the front line from the top down?

To the entire company at the meeting, Chris said: “We as leaders are in a position to impact people’s lives. I lead a company that is in the business of being thoughtful. From this day forward, I am going to make every effort to be more thoughtful about you, those I lead.”

The crowning moment of the Undercover Boss episode was when Chris admitted it wasn’t about proving to his older brother that he could lead, it was about proving to himself that he could lead. He proved to himself that he could, as long as he stayed in touch with the people.

Do you come up with creative ways to reward those team members who are the “secret sauce” to your great service or high numbers?

Do you share with the team when you learn something new… from them… or that you didn’t realize about the company or their contributions?

Who will you be more thoughtful of in recognizing, helping, learning from, or leading in your organization?

Maybe you don’t have to go “Undercover” to see what is the secret of success in your organization. Maybe you can simply emulate the incredible leadership Chris just showed the team of people he has the privilege of leading…

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