The definition of Attitude is, “A complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in a certain way”. Your attitude is the very foundation of your business and it needs to be sound and solid or the whole structure can collapse. Cliche? Maybe. But twenty-five years in the janitorial business has taught me the value of attitude…
Whether you’re the owner, manager, crew leader or front line housekeeper, your attitude will dictate how far you’ll go. I’ve hired over a thousand employees throughout the years and I’ve selected the zero experience person with a great attitude – (“I’m willing to learn and do anything required”) – over an experienced person – (“Yeah, yeah, been there, done that, when’s payday?”) – hundreds of times.
What is your attitude towards business and how does it impact your bottom line? Not sure? Well, the first step is just making the commitment to develop the “right” attitude, one that will support your business growth. There’s countless books and expensive seminars (which are fine and helpful) on this topic, but let me share the mindset that has served me so well in this great janitorial industry!
Top Ten Attitudes of a Janitorial Business Leader
- BE GRATEFUL! Every day is an opportunity to be grateful for what you have and the countless opportunities that are in front of you. Count your blessings, every day is an opportunity to rejoice and be glad in it. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.
- BE AN EXPERT! Just like when a customer calls an Electrician or A/C company out to provide services or a proposal, they expect that they’re experts in their field. In the same way you should be an expert in yours. Do you know the difference between an alkaline and acidic chemical and which to use on what? Do you know what a “green chemical” is? What’s the OSHA requirement for chemical labels? What’s your recommended floor care maintenance program for waxed floors? How many coats of wax, what the best floor finish % solid content for floors that are burnished? What does your production rate need to be when cleaning a school to be competitive? Be committed to ever learning. Knowledge is power!
- WHATEVER IT TAKES! Commit to being that person that finds solutions. Every problem and situation has a perfect solution. Some tougher than others. Are you willing to fulfill a customers last minute, 4pm request to wax or polish floors tonight because their corporate boss is visiting tomorrow? Will you miss a little sleep or work late to provide a solution? Expect the unexpected and do whatever it takes to provide professional service that exceeds your customers expectations!
- THANK CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY COMPLAIN! Yes, you heard me right, you shouldn’t be happy about complaints and you should have systems and procedures in place to minimize them, but you should say, “thank you for bringing that to my attention, I apologize for that issue and we’ll take care of it right away”. Issues and complaints are virtually impossible to completely stop, but when they arise and your customer points out the little things that bother them and you correct them, you solidify to them that you’re a professional company that cares about them and their facility. When you always respond to complaints like “no way we missed a trash can last night”, you come off as belligerent and hard to deal with. Just thank them and say O.K. we’ll take care of it!
- BE THE EXAMPLE! Understand and embrace that you set the bar. Purpose in your heart to act the way you want your team to act with your customers. Don’t talk bad about customers, employees or co-workers in front of your employees and don’t condone it when they do. Be an exemplary Janitorial Business Leader!
- MAKE THEM KNOW YOU CARE! It’s true that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, about them! Make your customers, co-workers and employees feel appreciated, heard and valued by you and your business. The more they know you care, the more you solidify your relationship with them!
- OWN IT! Own it when you make mistakes. Take responsibility and don’t make excuses when problems arise. If you knock something over and break it, don’t hide it or throw it away and hope your customer doesn’t notice the next day. Leave a note or call first thing the next day and apologize and pay to fix or replace it. They may not like it if you break their favorite desk trinket, but they’ll see you as responsible for speaking up.
- NOTHINGS IMPOSSIBLE! Reacting to situations with statements like, “this is hopeless, this is impossible, no way good things can come my way” are all self fulfilling prophecies. I’ve found, seen and experienced in my life that nothing is impossible as I’ve put my faith and trust in the One who makes all things possible.
- IT IS MY JOB! When an employee comes to me and says “they asked me to clean out the break room refrigerator last night. Is that my job or on our checklist”? My answer is always the same, “yes, if it’s cleaning related it’s our job”. “If it’s not on our checklist and a significant labor expense to me, like dusting daily when we have a customer service agreement for dusting 1x per month, then we simply talk with the customer, add it to our agreement and increase the monthly price accordingly if need be.
- HAVE A SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE! If you have a mindset of “it’s good enough, they’ll never notice, everyone cuts corners”, I know 4 coats of wax would look awesome, but 3 is enough for tonight”, then you don’t get it. When I used to ask my Floor Techs how a job came out and they would say “good”, I would ask them “do you know who the enemy of excellence is”? They would say “who” and I would say “good enough”. They quickly got the point! They then starting sending me cell phone pics of every job, and yes they were excellent work! Average Spirit, Average Business. Excellent Spirit, Excellent Business!
In business as in life, attitude is everything!