On the season finale this past Friday, President and CEO Jeff Platt went undercover as a contestant on an action adventure show inside his own company, Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park. The company was founded by his father in 2002 and has grown to 50 parks, 200 employees and $52 million a year in revenue. When his mother became sick with ovarian cancer, his father turned the company over to Jeff.
Ultimately, Jeff's mother lost her battle with cancer. Today, Platt is influenced by two factors. He doesn't want his employees to see him as just the boss's son and he hopes to fulfill his mother's dream of seeing Sky Zone grow and prosper. He is driven, passionate and demands the best from his employees.
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During the show he got a close look at the personal and professional lives of four passionate employees. Disguised as a former janitor named "Scott," he spent time as a Court Monitor, Installer, and Maintenance Assistant and worked in Community Relations. Platt walked away with an emotional lesson about the power of second chances. Each one of the employees had suffered serious setbacks, but all had persevered and come back even stronger.
Your Cover is Blown
The most dramatic moment of the undercover mission came when Platt trained with Miles, one of his leads in the Community Relations group. After watching Platt give a tour with only a little training, Miles became very wary. He quietly voiced his suspicions to co-workers. When Platt answered customer service phones with an uncanny knowledge of the company, Miles called him out.
The pair stepped into an office and Platt revealed himself saying, "I want to talk about anything that you feel like needs to be addressed."
Miles doubled down and shot right back, "To be honest, you are not my favorite person," demanding more experienced help for the Community Relations team and more respect from Platt.
However, they quickly found common ground as both have lost a parent to cancer. Miles' dad passed away seven years ago and his life spiraled out of control. He developed a serious drug problem and wound up sleeping in his car for several months before seeking treatment. Sky Zone is his second chance. He is living a clean and sober life and hopes to run his own franchise some day.
Three Tales of Courage
We also meet Keith who did hard time as a young man and lost a daughter just a year ago. He too, has put his life back together and spends 300 days on the road a year installing trampolines for Sky Zone. His only wish is to spend more time with his wife and other daughter.
Cam is a Sky Zone Court Monitor, who dreamed of playing hockey, but career-ending injuries have him struggling to pay medical bills and unable to get the physical therapy he needs. Platt is blown away by his positive attitude and passionate job performance.
Reeling under the weight of student loans, maintenance assistant Breckin hopes to pursue a lifelong career with Sky Zone and find the money for gender reassignment surgeries. He was born a woman, but has lived as man for several years.
After a hectic week undercover Platt assessed what he saw and what he learned. His biggest takeaway was learning to communicate better and understand how his drive to succeed impacted his team.
"While I was focusing on my business' growth, I didn't take into consideration on how my decisions affect the people who work for me."
A Second Chance
Gathering the four employees, Platt revealed himself to Keith, Cam and Breckin. He showered them with gifts and an opportunity for a brighter, better future with the company.
For Miles he showed that he had really listened and respected his feedback, offering him a chance to work on the training team for the new franchises.
But he didn't stop there. He also presented him with:
-$5,000 for a cancer charity of his choice.
-$5,000 for his family.
-$60,000 for the purchase of his own franchise.
Everyone wants a second chance, but not everyone gets one. This past Friday on Undercover Boss, it was all about the courage to come back stronger than before.
Miles summed it up best: "Sky Zone has really been the second chance I needed in my life."
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