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Management And Training

No Fear

May 05, 2011
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It is always surprising to talk to maintenance professionals about new service offerings or markets to explore and hear them explain how they are fearful of these types of new ventures.

They say things like, “I am not sure we can do that” or “I don''t know if we have the right staff for those things.”

Surely, you jest.

Fear of the unknown is a common fear, but most have already overcome those fears just by starting a business or taking a management position in the professional maintenance industry.

The root cause of these fears could be deeper than what is being let on; it could be fear of failure but, more importantly, it could be fear of success or winning.

An explanation is in order.

Frozen By Fear

Some people are just happy right where they are at in their career.

They see no need to get excited about taking more risk with new markets or processes that could put them in a place of higher expectations, even when that move could propel them to higher revenues or earnings, because there is a risk of losing more.

The fear of loss is greater than the potential for gain.

The fear of learning new technology or newer, more effective processes causes them to retreat to the area of current understanding and feel less pressure to innovate.

Case in point: When talking to maintenance professionals about encapsulation carpet maintenance, the response is usually less than enthusiastic.

“I heard it does not work as well as hot water extraction” is a common reply.

Another is, “We already have this other equipment; we don''t need more equipment or supplies to confuse our staff any more than they already are.”

A personal favorite is, “We simply don''t have the budget to train on new products or processes.”

That is fear raising its ugly head; fear of the unknown, fear of causing our supervisor to have higher expectations of our results, fear of doing more with less, fear of change and, yes, fear of being successful.

Overcoming Uncertainty

Finding new ways to do common tasks is what helped our civilization move forward by leaps and bounds.

There are always doubters that will not change their minds about old school thinking; however, the only mind we can actually change is our own.

Start by thinking about maintenance rather than traditional cleaning.

We have been spouting this for years, but do we really practice what we have been preaching?

Ask 100 facility managers about what drives the maintenance process, and about 85 percent of them will say “appearance.”

Appearance-related cleaning is not the same as a long-term maintenance strategy.

Changing this fundamental mindset is about helping our building culture turn the corner of the cleaning/maintenance debate.

New processes and equipment can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year from maintenance budgets by allowing our staffs to cover more square footage in a shorter amount of time.

By servicing our flooring more regularly, we produce higher levels of soil removal, and this makes the flooring last longer in the building and helps your staff reduce fatigue by minimizing more difficult and labor-intensive restoration procedures.

So, next time you decide to just use the same old answer to the same old question from a vendor, ask yourself where that answer comes from.

Dane Gregory is the commercial sales manager for Bridgewater Corporation, which owns Interlink Supply. He works with commercial cleaners to help them build their businesses by adding services without a lot of additional cost. He also helps them with technical aspects of cleaning carpet, tile and grout and stone surfaces. Gregory instructs classes for each floor surface as well as the Commercial Cleaning Initiative, which covers all these floor surfaces. He may be reached at

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