1. Entertainment

Undercover Boss Begins With Waste Management Boss Larry O'Donnell

By February 7, 2010

Follow me on:

Undercover Boss Larry O'DonnellUndercover Boss makes its CBS debut after Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday night -- not a bad night to begin what CBS hopes will be a great run for the much-hyped reality show.

On Undercover Boss, high level chief execs experience what it's really like to be the average worker at their companies, as they anonymously work alongside their employees in low-paying jobs.

For example, the season premiere follows Larry O'Donnell, the President and C.O.O. of multibillion dollar company Waste Management, as he cleans toilets and picks up garbage. Larry O'Donnell will not reveal his identity to his unsuspecting Waste Management employees until the end of the episode.

Undercover Boss was previewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show last week. Larry O'Donnell appeared on the show to discuss how the experience changed his life. More about that here.

On future episodes of Undercover Boss, which will air Sunday nights after The Amazing Race, bosses including the CEO of Hooters and the president of 7-Eleven will get a taste of what their employees do every day.

What do you think of the Undercover Boss premise? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Comments

February 7, 2010 at 10:27 pm
(1) Patsy Bolding says:

Thank you Larry!! I’ve only seen the first 15 minutes and am very impressed with you!

February 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm
(2) kim says:

what a humble guy…thanks Larry!!

February 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm
(3) Scott says:

What an outstanding organization you have!!

February 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm
(4) Marissa says:

Wow, I’m impressed! FINALLY a good reality TV show.

February 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm
(5) Lorraine says:

How about some face shield and better gloves for cleaning your odd houses. That was terrible that you cleaned toilets and have employees clean toilets without proper shielding. You should not be smelling or possibly being sprayed with such toxicity. And instead of bucket and brush why not a power washer quicker and better for employees.

February 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm
(6) Mike says:

Larry, You RULE!!!

February 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm
(7) Dan says:

Larry is the Man!

February 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm
(8) isis says:

What a fabulous concept for a show, Love it Love it Love it

February 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm
(9) Vic says:

I was very impressed with Larry. He is a man with exceptional character and that explains why he’s the boss. Congratulations Larry on such a fine job. The company I work for has Waste Management as the rubbish contractor they do an excellent job.

February 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm
(10) Patty says:

I think every boss should experience this.

February 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm
(11) Derek Thaxton says:

This show is very heart-touching. I work at an entry level job, and am also a full time college at the age of 18. I don’t know what I would do if our CEO came to work with me!

February 7, 2010 at 11:00 pm
(12) Heather says:

Larry is a STAND UP guy! His family, company but more importantly, he should be proud of himself. He has genuine concern and empathy.

Thank you Larry for giving the kids of todays society a decent role model to look up to.

February 7, 2010 at 11:02 pm
(13) Allison says:

This is my new favorite show. Every boss should do this!

February 7, 2010 at 11:02 pm
(14) Gena says:

OMG…. Larry,you are not the boss of all bosses,wow I saw a heart…. you see what us “pee-ons” do, if my boss did I wouldn’t be on unemployment. Thank you Larry for giving me hope, and I’m saying this before the show is even done.

February 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm
(15) T. E. says:

Thanks Larry,
I work for a large food co. and we’re all doing the work of 3 people. I love my job, the folks I meet; however you can never do 100%. It leaves me feeling incompetent and I’m not. Quality time with customers and interacting with consumers is rewarding both for sales and the positive promotion of our wonderful products.

February 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm
(16) Gena says:

Hey Larry, my 18 yr. old is watching too, just watched the game with about 8 of his 18yr old friends, they are discussing the show more than the game…..thank you!!! They are awe’d by you. None of them can go to college and they work for NY wages, which are well NY wages.They now think they want to start a company…again thank you!!!

February 7, 2010 at 11:10 pm
(17) Marie says:

Hello, Randy and Larry,. This is my 1st time on here. But I had to write.
Your humbleness made me cry. The way you talked about your daughter. I am a server and it is all about customer service. I commend you so very highly on your knowledge and skills. I think you deserve a raise immediately, because, obviously, you have IT from the start !!! As for your trainer, she is just as humble and deserving !! She is sooooo sweet. I wish my waste management people were as worthy as you. Please keep up the good job, as your job is soo important to the community. I have not been able to afford trash service for th past 2 years. So, I have to get rid of it the best way I can. boils down to THE ECONOMY. PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM SOOOO PROUD OF all the work you and your trainer do for us !!!

February 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm
(18) jim huish says:

I love your show…all big corporations need to learn from you!

February 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm
(19) Broderick Stewart says:

I think you are the best C.E.O ever, you are a real man , a model man and my God continue blessing you and you family.
Thank you

February 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm
(20) sherry says:

Larry, not only are you handsome but your personality is the same!

February 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm
(21) John Witt says:

I just watched the program and as the owner of a small business in Canada with 32 employees I was indeed touched and inspired by his efforts in finding out what’s going on in his company and how to make things better for all concerned.

Well Done Sir

February 7, 2010 at 11:15 pm
(22) cindi allen says:

Larry…when we lived in Calif. Waste Management took over in Fairfield and you guys are great……good service and the whole 9 yards! Now we live in Las Vegas and the company we have here is not very good………sooo.will you consider looking into taking over here??? Larry we NEED YOU.
Thanks,
Cindi

February 7, 2010 at 11:15 pm
(23) David says:

Great show, really a great idea! Wow, talk about creating a positive company image. Last share price was $31.82, it’ll be interesting to see if it goes up tomorrow. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=WM

February 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm
(24) De Edra Smith says:

Mr. O’Donnell, bless you for showing us how we are to care for each other. Especially when you are in a position to make a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you for the heart felt lesson.

February 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm
(25) oscar haya says:

i love it amaizing show

February 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm
(26) Dan says:

I was a VP at a large firm for years and saw first hand how the top execs behave as self-serving, ego centric, abusers of power. Watching this show was truely refreshing. Larry is unique being an exec that is also human.

February 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm
(27) Judy says:

Just finished watching Undercover Boss. In awe of Larry O’Donnell. Thank you for being the person you are. What an inspiration. You a model for all who supervise. Such a touching show. I can’t imagine anyone who watched this and didn’t shed a tear. God bless Larry O’Donnell, his company and the people in the show. What an inspiration.

February 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm
(28) larry says:

Dear larry ,great show. What about the small guy like me larryspaperrecycling. In seattle. I have a love for recycling paper every day .with my recycled wood recycling paper bins .I pay for all my repairs,gas ect… I lift all. By hand my self. 40 tons about a month .I. need to make my bins metal , and have a lift for my truck .I also drive truck for freight company full time. Is there light at end of all my hard detacation to what I belive in. Larrys paper recycling. Greater sea. area.

February 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm
(29) Frank says:

I am glad I stayed up to watch this program. Larry seems genuine and real. I think he connected with his employees becauses he respects people regardless of their economic and educational status. He finds something of value in each of his employees

February 7, 2010 at 11:29 pm
(30) George Couch says:

A reality TV show actually based in reality. Loved it, and I hope other organizations learn from it.

February 7, 2010 at 11:31 pm
(31) PATRICIA WILLIAMS says:

WONDERFUL SHOW TONIGHT!!!! IT MADE ME CRY.GLAD TO SEE YOU CARE LARRY. YOU SEEM LIKE A NICE GUY!!!! MAY GOD BLESS YOU!

February 7, 2010 at 11:31 pm
(32) Yvonne Davis says:

Mr. Odonnell, you are trully a God send. I really respect how you took out time to see first hand what it take to run your company. It mean a lot to your employees i’m sure. I pray that other CEO’s will take heed and follow your footsteps. It’s one thing to see and count your cash flow but it’s another when you actually see how it is made. I pray that God keep you and your family. Keep up the good work and God will continue to Bless you.

February 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm
(33) Liz says:

Larry you are an inspiration to all! It is apparent that you are a wonderful person and boss. My father is a COO of a hospital and I am going to propose something similar. Thank you!

February 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm
(34) Sherri says:

Larry, We were so glad you went into the real world and made necessary changes.I hope that others learn from how you operate. My husband company needs a Larry to show up. He also does three jobs in one. Over worked and under paid. Your geniune compassion for others touched me. Love Love Love ya!!!!!!

February 7, 2010 at 11:38 pm
(35) Bradley Hill says:

Larry,
I was greatly inspired to see the series, “undercover boss” tonight. I am 59 YO and have owned two companies over my lifetime. The last job I worked was United Rentals Inc. with over 700 stores nationwide. I worked at the Bellingham, WA store for 3 years out of the 13 years with this company. As business and the economy spiraled downward, my young boss of 39 YO found a way to move me out of the company and give my position to a younger person and with only a few years in this company. I was not given a hearing and it has been 18 mos since I left there. People are being treated as cattle and they remove the ones who have been in the business for years as they make the top wages and have the built up vacation and sick time. It has been my observation over the past decade to move these people out first
I am happy to see that in your position, you have found a way to go below the deck and see what people really do for the company structure. I commend you for your caring spirit and I know you will do something about the many concerns that employees have as they strive to do their jobs in this less than good circumstances.
Thank you for your willingness to do what most CEO’s won’t do…To care about the people who make things happen in a great organization.
Sincerely,

Bradley Hill
WA.

February 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm
(36) jenny says:

Larry, you are amazing! Because of you, the waste management team that comes by my house every week will know how much they’re appreciated–especially at Christmas time!! I have gained awesome respect for them, and hope for corporate America. Thank you!

February 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm
(37) Gloria Woods says:

“Undercover Boss”. Two thumbs up! Every CEO/COO need to watch this show and take a page from Larry O’Donnell’s book. I look forward to next week “Hooter’s”. I hope CBC air an encore presentation of tonight. Most people were partying due to the Super Bowel.

February 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm
(38) ajay63 says:

Larry O’Donnell (aka Randy) you are truly an amazing human being!! I had my BB ready to jot notes on twitter actually looking for something ridiculous to happen and instead I fell in love with this new show UNDERCOVER BOSS!

I admired you for going to work with the front line and dropping “the suit” and really getting your hands dirty. I especially liked the fact that you addressed your “male bosses for the day” by SIR– If all bosses did what you did even for 1 day companies w/b a much more happier enviroment!

You have set the bar for companies all over (and maybe even the next episode) you have shown Presidents / COO /DEO (and the like) are real folks with feelings and will take the time to listen to non-management employees. You have also shown that upper mangement have the ability (if they choose) to make change on the spot!!!
Larry O’Donnell I wish you were my boss! Blessings Sir!

February 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm
(39) Marty says:

I was very motivated by Larry and the stories that came from the show. I made my 14 year son stop watching Dewayne Wade highlights in order to watch this show. I am a person that tries to show people that hard work pays off. I am a coach and our player’s will be watching this. I have recorded the show for when my wife and daughter return home, they too can watch it. I will continue to watch/record every weekend. Larry, you truly are the man!

February 7, 2010 at 11:50 pm
(40) Geoman says:

Larry, All I can say is that after watching “Uncover Boss” on CBS with WM as its premier, you were so considerate of your employees welfare that you even made me want to go work for your company! Outstanding show that showed a lot of heart and what really makes a company run…its people!

February 7, 2010 at 11:56 pm
(41) Tony says:

This is a great example of a true leader of a company. Not like other heartless greedy bosses that everybody sees taking home outrageous bonuses to the insult of the general workforce and specially the unemployed.

February 8, 2010 at 12:02 am
(42) Chuck says:

There is something to say about walking is a persons shoes for a day. Glad you took the time.

February 8, 2010 at 12:47 am
(43) Connie Rodriguez says:

I love this show! I’m 44 and always worked menial jobs. My current one has this year frozen wages, cut hours and laid off employees of 17,18,19 years. Doesn’t inspire company loyalty! In all my jobs a common conversation has been how we’d like to see the suits do our jobs for a week, and here’s one who did! My hat is off to him!

I know Mr. O’Donell has the best of intentions but I wonder how much he can really do? It’s not like he can just say “I’m changing this” Sure he’s the president but from looking at their corporate profile there’s a CEO above him. I would also bet there’s a board of directors that has to approve things. Will they be willing to sacrifice a bit of profit for happier employees? I think in the long run it would pay off with less turnover and therefore less training costs, but most companies don’t look at the long run, only short term costs/profits.

I would like to see UB do follow ups like in a years time. To see if the employees have seen changes, if they’re happier. Also interesting would be how the changes might have affected profitability. I’m assuming this was taped awhile back so I plan to ask my companies WM guy tuesday what changes, if any he’s seen. I hope there are some!

I hate reality shows but I thoroughly enjoyed this one! I think it may be able to make a difference for some people who need it. Who knows if employee oriented companies become the norm maybe companies like mine will have to fall in line! Ahhhh, in a perfect world :)

February 8, 2010 at 1:01 am
(44) Jim Ploechl says:

First off great idea and great show. I’ve worked in plants before both as a temp. and a union employee in construction. Yes, I’ve seen people abuse their jobs by wasting time but for the most part I think most of them just want a good pay for a job done good. The problem I’ve seen is greed, maybe if more bosses did what you did maybe they would share the wealth a little bit. Anyway, great show and good luck.

February 8, 2010 at 1:10 am
(45) Chuck McCafferty says:

Mr.O’Donnell YOU ARE THE MAN.I can tell you love your job.I also can see in your eyes that you LOVE your Family.Dont forget your EMPLOYEES are also your Family.New we have to get the employees to Belive in them Selves. So they too can LOVE they JOB’S.I’m 66 and you made me CRY. God Bles You& God Bles American. Hope to meet you some day. Chuck

February 8, 2010 at 11:00 am
(46) Bill says:

A leader is only as good or bad as the people doing the everyday job. A person that will step down to do the everyday job shows great leadership. By doing what he did he earned the respect of the everyday worker at Waste Management. He needs to get rid of some of the managers and assistants he has and do more promoting within the organization

February 8, 2010 at 11:35 am
(47) Linda says:

Hello? Doesnt anyone else take notice of how STAGED the whole thing was? Big businesses (or small) cant afford to catch any bad or embarassing stuff… employees sue. This was a big Waste Management commercial. Come on! Didnt the lady coming out of the house with a hand written note cue anyone in? How about inviting a brand new employee to dinner the first night?? Use brains!

February 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(48) Tony says:

Great show, I love the idea but it is a TV show. Larry’s, “I had no idea” comment was the reality. Managers don’t have a clue. He created the productivity issues not having a clue what problems it created.It’s all about the bucks.So what’s he going to do now, create a committee of management to look into the issues. How about a committee of line employees. Who are employees like Jacyln going to go to when her manager won’t hire and she needs a job in this ecomomy and does 3 or more jobs.She is typical of the employee who can’t talk to her manager because he is part of the problem so she vented to Larry. These were only 5 employees can you imagin how many more stories are out there with 45000 employees.

February 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm
(49) Nell Clayton says:

I am 65 years old now and have always remembered my first boss in a big company who would roll up his shirt sleeves and work with all departments in order to see what and how we did the jobs and improve situations both for the workers and the job. A lasting impression and I have always done the same with employees.

February 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm
(50) Farmerjohn says:

What a pathetic, sleazy (and poorly executed) attempt to program the general public that big daddy corporation is looking out from them. Ifthey just stay working under horrible working conditions long enough, they will hit the lottory and be rewarded.

He mentioned that he was making the company more woman friendly. How about giving everyone enough time to take bathroom breaks so that men and women both dont have to pee in a tin can. How is it excusible that he let himself get this out of touch with his company and how it is ran?

Some of these employees should have been able to sue for the terrible working conditions.

February 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm
(51) Teresa Stancil says:

What a great show. I loved it. I have worked for Waste Management for 4 years and am very proud to say so. Thanks Larry, sure wished you could have came to our landfill.

February 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm
(52) Dave L says:

Thought the show was great, however I recorded it via tivo, and thanks to the superbowl I never caught the end where Larry met with the employees at the end of the program. Wish there was a way to catch the ending on the net.

February 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm
(53) Jessie says:

great show thought it was awesome. Larry/ Randy you rock.

February 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(54) Dawn says:

Undercover Boss, really interesting show!A film documentary featuring young entrepreneurs in their 20s who had begun their business journey in their teens.

Movie name : The YES Movie (by Louis Lautman)

February 12, 2010 at 10:16 am
(55) Jim Hudson says:

I waited for some of the hipe to slow down…

I wanted the network and Larry to know that for the most part I have viewed the :Reality Shows” as way less than REALITY… This show is as close to REAL as I have seen as I saw no EXTRA HIPE and I have been in companies that have similar problems but the people that make the decisions are “Clueless” …Yes $$ are important but in so many cases slower (Especially for an inexperienced person) is better, Speed will come with experience and this causes less mistakes eventually increased speed.
Dedication— Like respect— is earned.

I have been out of work for over a year due to many things but; when a quota is expected …training is limited and rules are not clear, problems arise.
Thanks for the oportunity to express my thoughts about “REALITY SHOWS” as I do not watch most of them …as long as this one stays with REALITY I will probably watch it. JIM

February 12, 2010 at 9:59 pm
(56) Cham says:

The show seemed very fake like it was a show designed for PR or public motivation. I understand that times are hard, but how can it be undercover with cameras around. It not like it was undercover dateline. It seemed totally rehearsed.

February 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm
(57) Paul Helmer says:

watched the show was very impressed with what he did wish i could have the oppertunity to work for a company like that. but was turned down

February 13, 2010 at 8:09 am
(58) Johnathan Wilke says:

Very well done Larry, You did the right thing. You went out into the field, did what you had to do, made some changes, and a better impact came out of it in many ways. Keep up the great work, and keep watching out for your team/ employees. I was very impressed, and pleased by what you had done.

February 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm
(59) Kathleen says:

Thanks so much for restoring my faith in humanity. I have been laid off as a production planner in manufacturing. It seems no one cares about the amount of work people are having to do these days. I love you Larry

February 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm
(60) Allan says:

I watched the show and it brought tears to my eyes on how sincere Mr. Oddonell was. I think it was a great idea for a show and I will be watching more of them. I was really impressed with how Mr. Odonell approached the undercover role and he has a lot of class for the top dog. Keep up the good work..

April 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(61) Tonia says:

Wow! What a great guy. We should have more bosses like Larry. Recently, I was told by my boss that I am going to be laid off. There was no sympathy or anything. Larry you are the best. Keep up the good work. When your a good boss, your staff don’t mind going that extra mile.

April 1, 2010 at 7:26 pm
(62) annemarie says:

Larry – Wow, you are a humble man, great to know that your prepared to invest in your people! Your handsome too!
Enjoy your family! I wish your daughter all the best!

June 28, 2010 at 9:52 am
(63) Glenn says:

After reading these comments, I had to write this. I can tell these comments were left from people who never had to deal with Waste Management.
About 2 months after this show, I called Larry O Donnell. They told me to send him an e mail and gave me his e mail address. They said he answers all e mails. I sent it to Larry O Donnell about a very serious issue my parents had in the past as well as now with Waste Management. I received an auto reply stating out of the office. Since than I have not received anything. From what I can tell, Larry O Donnell is a fake and so was his performance. He made a few concessions on the show to make it look as if he or this company cares only to promote business. For all I know, even the concessions were fake. A better way to put it, all he did was talk trash !
If you need a trash company, find a small one who needs the business and will give you better service.

September 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(64) Izella says:

Larry thanks for being a great boss, you have a heart of compassion.I wish more bosses would give more personal attentions to those who help to make them great! I admire you for being a great family man.I am looking forward to a time when I can have a person phone call or a hand shake from you I have much more that I would like to say.
Thanks: \Izella
Sept. 13, 2010 12:05 p

October 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm
(65) Ellen says:

Hi – Just watched it here in UK and was very impressed – well done.

October 31, 2010 at 11:55 pm
(66) Ismael Ruiz says:

Buenas me llamo Ismael Ruiz i espero que el senor larry odonnell pueda escuchar mi letra es con gran pena informarle que yo fui victma de una conspiracion de desunida por representar a la comonida ispana en kutztown PA yo enpese en3/12/2006,y me despieron en 2/14/2009, y cuando les pregunte porque su contesta fue por jevarme una luz roja cuando les tate de esplicar que asta el policia se dio de cuenta que la luz no estaba trabajando,su contesta fue que no le interesaba todo porque sinpre fui la vos de la comunida ispana,asta el dia de hoy sigen con su precion con los trabajadores ispano, si desean mas information fabor de llamar 610-9699359

November 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm
(67) willie says:

I guess this Fool didn’t spend enough time, as a plebian, within his empire. Have a look at any job posting with waste management. It all stinks of yuppie self serving, litigation, and corporate parasitic, infestation.
Go on Strike!!!!!
teach the yuppie parasites a lesson.

O’Donnel mugged for the camera, didn’t learn a thing, nothing but a college educated, thief.

November 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm
(68) willie says:

Gee what a shock, this yuppie O’Donnell, steps down, guess the real world Stinks. What a parasite. So who’s the next weasel, who thinks their worth 50 million a month? while others do the real work????

willie.

Leave a Comment


Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.