An interesting conversation took place recently at a classroom session: A veteran professional cleaner stated to no one in particular, “I am tired of playing around with my company. I want to get to the next level of being successful.”
It was an interesting thought, to say the least.
What can a leader do if they feel they themselves need to be led?
There is probably no leader in any industry that does not have this type of thought every now and again.
One can only imagine just how difficult it must be to admit that we all need help from time to time when our level of frustration begins to turn our inner voice slightly negative.
That is the time to find someone as a mentor, guide or consultant.
It is amazing how someone peering into your company from the outside can see the roadblocks you think are insurmountable as just a slight bump in the road to success.
This, perhaps, is because many professional consultants and business coaches have been in your shoes and know how to guide you through the labyrinth of choices necessary to come away from the problem with a positive outcome and psyche.
Using a mentor is an age-old remedy for leadership development.
These people have been in the trenches, have been where you are and have navigated through the swamp — in some cases, many times before.
These consulting mentors have found several different scenarios for the most common problems facing building service contractors (BSCs).
Many of these mentors have found solutions to even more uncommon problems.
The main theme of each of these mentors, consultants and coaches is building a company devised of systems.
The Systems Thinking Approach
Systems, installed in your company, create certain behavioral outcomes.
For example, an employee retention and recruitment system causes management behaviors that will keep a constant flow of new applicants at your disposal and, because of the retention part of the system, causes lower turnover rates, which results in the need for fewer new employees.
Development of this system causes the management team to behave in a certain way, using skill sets made necessary by the employee retention system.
Development of these types of systems is just basically looking at a problem from every possible angle — not just from the management perspective, but also from the employee perspective — and finding workable solutions for each potential problem before they occur.
Systems include, but are not limited to:
- Employee systems
- Customer systems
- Production systems
- Sales and marketing systems
- Administration systems.
Many of the consultation/mentoring programs available to the professional cleaning industry have some form of these programs as their basic template for success.
It is because most of the consultant/mentors have gotten to the frustrating part of the industry and have seen how these systems helped lessen the amount of frustration they experienced and want to share their joy — yes, joy.
The reason we get frustrated in the professional cleaning industry is because it is different from what we expected when we started.
It all seemed so simple then, didn’t it?
Just get some help, find some customers, produce clean buildings, get paid and retire, right?
Well, something happened along the way we did not expect: Frustration.
The cause of our frustration is the human element.
Whether employee, customer, government or even our own shortcomings, the human element adds to our frustration level every day.
Harnessing this element with proven systems for overcoming frustration will help make our original dream more attainable.
Since finding these mentors or consultants is not very difficult, you should have a list of questions available to weed out the mentors that do not have the answers you seek.
Many off-the-shelf programs try to fit your company into a model of what the mentor believes is your road to success.
Find a coach that asks for your definition of success.
This one question will help determine if that coach is willing to help you get where you want to go.
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 Dane.Gregory@Charter.net.