Last night I watched the show “Undercover Boss” on CBS for the first time. The premise of the show is for a CEO to go undercover in their own company to do a variety of manual labor jobs. Along the way the CEO meets amazing people with incredible stories.

Steve Joyce, CEO of Choice Hotels, went undercover on last night’s episode at several different Choice Hotel properties around the country. Along the way he met 4 incredible people with 4 unique yet amazing stories.

I’ve never seen the show, but it was pretty interesting to see a CEO barely be able to clean a hotel pool. Each person he worked with had a unique story. It was inspiring to see people working so hard at everything from fixing toilets to changing sheets.

At the end of the episode, Steve met with each of the 4 people he worked with and revealed his identity. For each person, he did two things that I think will change their lives:

Gave Encouragement Each of these 4 individuals were not top level management. One was in sales, one the front desk, one in maintenance, and one in housekeeping. He made sure to accentuate the positive traits for each person, and give encouragement as the CEO of their organization. One lady said (after being given an opportunity to significantly advance in the company and receive a week vacation all expenses paid) that she just needed someone to tell her she was doing a good job. Wow.

Gave an Opportunity Each employee was working hard at their job, no matter how miniscule it may seem to the rest of us. Their passion and skill was obvious. Steve wanted to reward that passion with an opportunity to advance in the company. This small move has changed the life trajectory of entire families now.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the two things this CEO did are two things we can do on a daily basis. I wonder how many people I interact with daily who just need someone to tell them that they are doing a great job. Or how many people are capable and eager to do more if given the right opportunity.

I may not be the CEO of an international company like Steve Joyce, but I can change people’s lives in a small way, just by providing encouragement and opportunities. And you know what? So can you.

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