Friday, April 27, 2012


This week we focus on two more key leadership qualities and they are

HANDLE PROBLEMS PROMPTLY---This is one of the most difficult areas for most entrepreneurs to attack. Most can handle problems with customers or lawyers or bankers without much difficulty, but handling employee problems, especially at the management level is one area that just doesn't get done well most of the time. Of course it can be difficult dealing with customers or lawyers or bankers but most entrepreneurs will jump right in and address the issues. By the same token if they are having a problem with a management employee they will procrastinate until many times damage has been done to the organization.

As I say this I was guilty as charged when I owned my contract cleaning company. For some reason, I thrived on dealing with pressure from customers and other outside forces but didn't always deal with important and delicate employee issues. As I write this I can recall about 10 instances through the years where I should have acted promptly on an employee issue and didn't.

Now having said that, one of the most frequent issues I am presented with when doing consulting work for contract cleaning companies is the client wanting me to terminate a top management person in their organization. Quite frequently it is the individual with the longest tenure and more often than not it is a relative---a sister, brother, son, or daughter. They just can't bring themselves to "pull the trigger" on the decision that has to be made. If they pay me to do it then they can tell the individual, "I paid big dollars for this consultant and he recommended this be done and if I'm going to pay the big bucks I need to follow the advice". Not true but it gets them off the hook.

I should mention here that I fired my wife twice and she quit once. I also fired one of my sons once and he quit once. How come I could fire my family who I love dearly and not terminate a non-relative who probably deserved to be history for many more serious reasons. Just lucky, I guess.

Incidentally, do you see how closely this leadership quality is associated with the second one on being a decision maker? Good leaders address problems head on and make the decisions needed in a prompt, orderly and most of the time, accurate manner.

MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS---Hopefully you have established a sound business plan and have committed to focusing on customer satisfaction, not just service. You have a huge job as the leader of your company to maintain the focus of where your company is headed at all times.

Rest assured, many distractions will occur as you grow your company. Many so called "opportunities" will arise that you will be tempted to "take advantage of " but it is your responsibility to address the one big issue of DOES IT FIT WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AND WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO GO? Always maintain that focus for your organization.

So far we have covered 4 important leadership qualities-





Next week we will conclude our discussion on leadership qualities with what may be, next to honesty, the most important leadership quality of all. I hope you will join me for this important discussion.

Don't forget to join us for the FREE pod casts every Monday morning at You can sign up there to receive an e-mail to remind you every time a new pod cast is posted.

Also, I hope you are making plans to join me at the BSCAI Executive Seminar in Scottsdale May 11 and 12. You can still make reservations by going to I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at this exciting event.

Till next time and MAKE IT A GREAT DAY.

Monday, April 16, 2012


This week we continue with the next quality of leadership to succeed in this industry and that is,

BE A DECISION MAKER--Here is where so many business people slow down and sometimes ruin their opportunity for success. Some people just cannot make a decision and by the time they get around to making a decision the opportunity that may have been theirs is gone.

This is the area that many times will separate the managers from the leaders. The leaders will gather the facts as best they can and make a decision while a manager many times waits and waits for more and more facts in order to make the decision. Whoops! What happened; the opportunity is gone. What about you?

I know a gentleman that is an outstanding manager in just about every way you could judge him but he just cannot make a decision. He waivers one way and then another and then another. If someone makes the decision and then hands him the program or policy to manage he will do a superb job but don't ask him to make the initial decision. I should also mention that most entrepreneurs are just not very good managers. They are great idea people but have a difficult time managing the ideas they generate. That's not a bad thing. I am sure some of you entrepreneurs will take exception to me on this but I really believe that. It also can sometimes make if very difficult for entrepreneurs to teach their managers because, frankly, they are not very good at managing although they may think they are.

I remember one of my staff members many years ago saying that I had some of the best ideas for our company but needed someone to follow behind me to manage all the details. While they didn't mean it as a compliment, I took it as such because that meant we were moving forward. In almost every situation it is easier to find a manager to manage an operation than it is to think it up and put it together in the first place.

Taking it a step further, as an owner of your own contract cleaning company you will have people coming into your office with the "problem of the day". The natural inclination is to give them the solution because , after all, aren't you the all knowing, soothsayer boss that is suppose to have all the answers? Remember, you are an entrepreneur, not a manager.

It is very difficult to have people make decisions in their job if you are always there to give them the answer. Ask them , "What would you suggest be done in this situation"? Solicit their answer and then coach them if you feel they may be approaching it incorrectly. Let me also suggest that sometimes is is "okay" to let them make the wrong decision if it does not jeopardize the organization and they learn a good lesson from the experience. I am sure some of you will disagree with me on this but I strongly believe that and used it in my company to help managers progress up the ladder.

So, be a strong decision maker, know if you are a leader or a manager, then build your staff based on the needs you have. It is not a sign of weakness to not have all the answers and hiring people that help the organization in the areas you are not as strong. In fact, that shows you are a TRUE LEADER AND DECISION MAKER. Remember, as I said in one of the earlier posts, a successful company needs both good entrepreneurs and good managers.

Next week we'll continue our discussion on focusing on leadership. Let me know your opinions on what we are saying.

Also, don't forget our weekly FREE pod casts at You can sign up by entering your e-mail and clicking the icon.

Also, I hope you are planning to attend the BSCAI Executive Seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona next month. I am hoping to see as many of you there as possible. Go to for all the details. It will be a great chance for you to meet other BSC's and quality vendors to our industry.

Till next time. MAKE IT A GREAT DAY.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Whether you like it or not, your employees look to you to provide leadership in the direction your organization is going. What type of leadership are you providing? It's very important, you know. The people are looking to YOU to give them direction.

For example, what is the dress code in your company? Do do allow jeans to be worn at all times or do you require suit and tie for men and business attire for the ladies? If you require business attire, try wearing jeans to work for a couple of days. It won't take long and everyone is wearing jeans because you have set the standard. Have an alcoholic drink for lunch and it becomes the standard. They are watching you every minute of the day and that is not a bad thing if you are setting a good example.

Let's talk about leadership. As we go through these ideas think about your organization and how it is or isn't performing and if you need changes to occur.

First the definition of leadership from the dictionary--"The art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal".

There's that word goal. Establishing goals is the subject for an entire book so we're not going to spend time here on how to set goals etc.

Going on, I think it is important that we not confuse managing with leadership. You see, there is a major difference and a successful company will make sure they have both. I think the best definition I ever heard or read on this subject is attributed to former first lady, Roslyn Carter who said, "Managers take people where they want to go, leaders take them where they need to go".

Think about that. As a leader of your company you are charged with the responsibility of taking your people in the direction that is needed to accomplish the goals that have been established for the organization. This is not always comfortable. You see, it is more fun and much easier to just make friends with everyone and have a big happy family and try to please everyone, isn't it? You'll probably have a great time but you won't accomplish as much. In fact, you may not accomplish any of the objectives you have established.

Another way I have heard this managing vs. leadership dilemma explained is that managers do things right while leaders do the right things. As I stated earlier, your company needs both and you need to find those people who can do the things right once you have determined what the right things are your company should be doing. There are many good and honest people who want to do things right. "Just tell me what my job is and I'll do it better than anyone else". Know anyone like that in your organization? If you do, keep them happy.

Most entrepreneurs are great idea people and know what has to be done but don't ask them to do the details. They will mess up the details almost all of the time. They do the right things but need key people to be sure that they are done right. Guilty as charged.

I want to finish up this week's blog by giving you what I think is the first of five key leadership qualities necessary for us to succeed in the contract cleaning industry. Later blogs will outline the other four.

1. HONESTY--Here I am talking primarily about honesty AND integrity. I realize this is pretty obvious but look around you in the world today. Look around in the business world today. The government has had to get involved in many of the business empires to save the companies from themselves and sometimes it is obvious the government needs to be saved from itself.

I remember several years ago doing a workshop in the southern United States and we were doing an exercise on the characteristics of a good supervisor. I had filled several pages of suggestions from the audience and hung them (not the audience) on the wall when an elderly gentleman in the back of the room stood up and quietly said, "You have forgotten the most important trait of all and that is honesty. If you don't have that in your people you just as well get out of business". How true.

Interesting isn't it, that we filled several pages on an easel and hung the pages on the wall and not one person suggested honesty as a trait needed in our leaders and managers? That may be one of the things wrong with our country today as we look to our Congress and other "leaders". Maybe they didn't get the message, forgot it, or just don't care. Well, we all now have the message and it is important if you want to become truly successful.

In next week's session we'll focus on a couple more of the 5 traits of leadership. I hope you'll join me. What do you think the other traits of leadership are?

Talking about joining me, I hope you will join me and other BSC's in Scottsdale for the BSCAI Executive Seminar May 11 and 12. It is going to be a great conference and I would like to meet as many of you as I can.

In addtion, don't forget to listen and view our free weekly pod cast at,

Till next time---MAKE IT GREAT DAY.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


During my years of being a member of a peer group and then having the opportunity to do consulting work for many fine companies, the one thing I have noticed with nearly all the successful ones---they have systems and processes in place that enhance their chances of success. What about your company? If you are a new or emerging company the time is now to get the systems, processes, and procedures in place that will assist you in your growth.

Let me suggest the best place to start is by putting together a formal company administrative manual that contains all of your policies and forms. I hate forms but they are absolutely necessary as you develop your company into a full fledged organization. The sooner you begin the better. I wish I had begun when we were small.

In my book "The Do's and Don'ts of Contract Cleaning From One Who Did and Didn't", I outline 12 sections we had in our manual from time and attendance to job descriptions to safety information. It made life so much easier for everyone. Need to know a procedure or need a form for a workers compensation injury?---go to the manual. Does everyone understand all the paperwork needed to hire or terminate someone? Go to the manual. How about company vehicle regulations or supply ordering procedures? Go to the manual. It sure cut down on a lot of conversation and time wasters in our company. Let me also emphasize that the 12 sections we had were not gospel. You can use sections that you need for your company that may be different than what we had but the important thing is to have a usable effective manual.

The advantage in today's business environment over the way we had it in the "olden days" (2005) is that now you can base it on your secure internet site and your staff can draw pages needed for their particular situation in a secure process that you can develop. You can also then make changes as needed to the manual and have an instant update for everyone.

If you have any desires to grow into other geographical areas now is the time to create an administrative manual, not after you have opened your first branch. We developed the manual before we started branching into other cities and states which made it much easier to duplicate ourselves as we grew.

In later blogs we'll discuss other systems and processes I feel are necessary to your success but the administrative manual is where I believe it all begins. If you don't have one, start today. It only gets more difficult as time goes on and you try to grow. In fact, you will have difficulty growing past a certain stage unless you start developing systematic ways you want your company to operate. Contact me if I can help.

Trust me, it is important.

Don't forget to register for the BSCAI Executive seminar coming up in May in Scottsdale, AZ. You can go to to get all the information you need. Hope to see you there and if you go, introduce yourself to me and let me know what subjects you would like to see covered in this blog. We want to help in any way we can.