Undercover Boss Analysis of Catherine Monson: CEO of FASTSIGNS International
Name: Catherine Monson
Title: CEO of FASTSIGNS International
Headquarters: Carrollton, TX
Product or Service: Signage, Visual Communications
In this week’s episode of “Undercover Boss”, Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, goes undercover as “Louise Steely” to see the company from the employees’ perspective.
Position 1: Site Survey
Overview: Jenn leads Catherine around to two sites – a warehouse and a gym – to investigate potential signage opportunities.
Result: Catherine begins the day complaining about how cold it was, concerned that Jenn had to be outside often. Catherine comments that the first building they survey could use a paint job – a comment that Jenn hopes is not relayed to the client as it would be quite rude. They venture on to a client at a gym, take sign measurements, and call it a day without much trouble.
Jenn has been married for a few years, and struggles to find time to be with her husband. Jenn also states that she feels the corporate email blast advertisements look like spam, and do not do the franchisees any good. In her free time, Jenn is an avid bowler.
How she made amends: FASTSIGNS will be unveiling new branding very soon, and Catherine cannot wait to show Jenn the updates, including some to the email blasts. Jenn is awarded $10k to spend on a romantic vacation with her hubby, and another $20k to spend however she wishes.
What she should have done: Catherine listened to her employees recommendation, and made a change to resolve it. Sometimes, it really is just that easy.
Position 2: Production
Overview: Sheldon shows Catherine how to cut out and shear various signs.
Result: Catherine tries her best to assist with production, but comes close to ruining a few of the signs while cutting out lettering.
Sheldon, a FASTSIGNS employee of more than a decade, recently proposed the love of his life, after she recovered from a bout with cancer. Before then, he was a single father.
How she made amends: FASTSIGNS is going to develop a new website and Sheldon will be part of the test group (and will be paid for it). Catherine awarded Sheldon $10k to spend on a honeymoon of his dreams, and an additional $50k to assist him with medical bills.
What she should have done: Again, an employee has a great suggestion, and Catherine decides to implement it. She knows that they are behind the times technologically, and knowing is half the battle. The other half is winning.
Position 3: Installation
Overview: Gary and Catherine install a few logo stickers on a truck, and then a large banner on a building.
Result: Catherine underestimates the difficulty in placing stickers on vehicles without bubbles, but Gary helps her get the job done.
Gary, who commutes over 2 hours to work each day, came from an early life of crime. He considers it a miracle that he did not end up in jail, and now is a man of the church, working at FASTSIGNS to help support his children.
How she made amends: Catherine asks Gary to attend a personalized week long corporate training session (all expenses paid) to put him on the fast track up the corporate ladder. Gary is given $15k as a donation to his church, a new car to help with his commute, and $50k to help pay his mortgage.
What she should have done: This was one of the few segments where the job itself had few, if any, issues. Gary did not once complain about the job (just maybe the commute). Still, Catherine realizes Gary is a talented and loyal worker, and she hopes to capitalize on her findings by training him for bigger opportunities within the company. She was also incredibly generous.
Position 4: Franchisee
Overview: Scott takes Catherine to new heights on a lift, so that they can install a new sign for an energy company.
Result: Catherine is intimidated by the view and instability of the lift, but manages to make it through the install. Her arms give out about halfway through the 30 holes that they had to drill for supports, so Scott takes over.
Scott recently adopted a child, whom he cares for dearly. He often works 60 hour weeks to help support his child and wife. He knows how to do just about every job in the business, but notes to Catherine that he essentially taught himself everything, as the training was minimal.
How she made amends: Catherine is starting a new training program at FASTSIGNS, to teach franchisees many of the skills that Scott had to learn on his own. Scott is given $10k to start a college fund for his daughter, and another $15k to allow him some more free time to spend with his family.
What she should have done: Improve corporate training – which is exactly what she said she would do.
Catherine Monson earned an “A” grade for her appearance on Undercover Boss.
Catherine listened to each employee, took their complaints into consideration, and acted on each one – essentially the ideal undercover boss approach. Even though she has no children of her own, she was very empathetic to those her employees that do. She understands the importance of work-life balance, even though she personally is more work / less life (and she hopes to change that).
Catherine, sign us up as fans.
Don’t like our grade? Drop us a rebuttal, and leave a comment below.