Friday, April 26, 2013


A few years ago a friend of mine with Ecolob Corporation supplied me with a video CD of one of their internal documents that was also the theme of their company that particular year. It was entitled "The Quest For Excellence". It has become a mainstay of many of the workshops I do. I thought I would share with you some of the thoughts of that video. I will not supply the music but there is a beautiful song that goes with it. Let me know your thoughts on the Quest For Excellence.

--Take time to smell the roses.
--Never deprive someone of hope. It may be all they have.
--Don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry".
--Don't be afraid to say "I'm wrong".
--Take a nap on Sunday afternoon.
--Give thanks before every meal.
--Don't interrupt.
--Don't take good health for granted.
--Don't tailgate.
--Listen to your children.
--Leave everything better than you found it.
--Leave the toilet seat in the down position.
--Keep your promises.
--Don't be a quitter.
--Be kinder than necessary.
--Make it a habit to do things for people who will never find out.
--Keep good company.
--Take good care of those you love.
--Learn to listen.
--Be a good loser.
--Be romantic.
--Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, integrity and honor they think of you.
--Never refuse homemade brownies.
--Sing in the shower.
--Don't nag.
--Don't gossip.
--Don't expect money to bring you happiness.
--Be forgiving of yourself and others. (well, most others)
--Never give up on people---miracles happen every day.
--Say please a lot.
--Say thank you a lot.
--Take your dog to obedience school--you will both learn a lot.
--Slow dance.
--Don't postpone jobs you need to do.
--Take responsibility for every aspect of your life.
--Take care of your reputation--it's your most valuable asset.
--Count your blessings.
--Marry only for love.
--Call your mother.
--Do more than is expected.
--Be there when people need you.
--Be someone's hero.
--Exceed your customer's expectations.
--Drink 8 glasses of water every day.

So there you have it. Some great thoughts for living, aren't they? I could probably do a blog on each one, but won't. Anything you need improvement on? If so, today will be a great day to start the process of improvement.

Let me know what you think. Send me a message on Linkedin or through my web site. Would love to get your comments and suggestions for other items that should maybe be on the list for the Quest For Excelllence.

We have a special guest the week of April 29 on our free pod cast. It can be heard at Listen and let us know what you think. You can comment on the web site right after you have seen and listened.

Till next time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I want to talk a bit today about the importance of profiling management and sales people in our industry. I am not talking about profiling cultures or nationalities but rather the importance of having prospective new staff members that you are considering bringing on board complete a profile questionaire that is then graded to determine their strengths and/or weaknesses. It can and will save you thousands of dollars in the long run not to mention the countless hours agonizing over a poor hiring decision. While a profile questionaire of the leading candidates won't totally tell you which one to hire, it sure helps determine where the candidate you do hire will need the most training etc. If you are already doing this, congratulations, you know the value, if not please read on and take note.

Let me tell you of a couple of personal examples we had in my own company. One cost me a bundle, the other one avoided what could have been an expensive hiring mistake.

Example number 1--I was trying to hire a branch manger for one of our offices in the Southwest USA and interviewed this man who had years of experience in the cleaning industry with a couple of large companies. At the time, I was in desperate need in that city as we were growing and I was having to fill the slot myself and I wanted to get on with my other duties which I enjoyed much more.

In this case he did the profile questionaire, I sent it on to my home office for grading with a "hurry up" request. The profile came back as a terrible candidate for the position. " This can't be" I said, "this guy interviewed great and understands the position. Maybe I rushed him in answering the questions, so I will administer the questionaire again".

This time the results came back even worse with a note from my person that did the grading that he was the worst candidate we had ever considered for a branch manager postion. What! He's questioning my professional interviewing skills? Yes he was.

Well, I know better. Something must be wrong with the scoring tables. I hired him and within two weeks I fired him. The areas I was told he would not do well in he did horrible in. But he interviewed so well!!! That was the last time I overrode the test results. I should have known better. Lesson here? Sometimes we are so eager to fill a position that we overlook all the red flags that appear. We feel we can overcome the weaknesses and depending on what they are, it may just not be possible. Besides, we have been in the business for years and surely know more than a piece of paper, right? This mistake cost me a bundle, mostly in company reputation as I was much longer without a permanent manager and the customers were getting restless.

Example number 2--My staff was needing to hire a sales representative in one of our Midwestern cities. They interviewed several candidates and called me to inform me that they had decided on an exciting candidate with all the right qualifications. My immediate response was, "That's great, send me the profile so I can review it". I was then told that a profile had not been done and there was no need to do so because they guy was the "real deal".

I reminded them of our policy and with much discussion they reluctantly proceeded with the questionaire. I waited a couple of days and then called to check on the progress and was told that the person was no longer a candidate. He was all interview charisma but his actual personality and ability would not at all match what we were looking for in a person to represent our company. It took a while but we eventually found a very capable individual. A major hiring mistake avoided.

I recently read a great example of getting caught up in the charisma of an individual and ignoring all the warning signs. The book is  SALES AUTOPSY by Dan Seidman.

He tells the story of a business owner who became friends with a person he met at a convention and they spent countless hours together for an entire week and at the end of that week, the owner offered his new found friend the position of national sales manager for his company. He was excited, provided him a company car, a credit card, expense account, and all the other benefits of a national sales manager.

He goes on to tell the story of them getting ready to present a huge proposal to a major prospect. As they were sitting in the prospect's board room waiting for all of people to arrive, in walked a couple of gentlemen asking his sales manager for identification. After he identified himself, his head was slammed on the table, he was handcuffed and escorted to jail. He was wanted on outstanding drug warrants, physical abuse of a wife and girlfriend and thousands of dollars in missing child support.

They did not make the sale and the sad truth is the man was out of business within a year. Trouble like that gets around and nobody was interested in buying from a company that would hire "those" type of employees.

So, what about you? Are you taking the right steps in hiring your management and sales staff? They are your culture, image, and reputation to the public. Do you do a profile questionaire before making a major hire? Let me suggest it is worth spending a few hundred dollars up front before comitting to the hire rather than spending thousands later, not counting the damage to your company (and your) reputation.

There are several outstanding companies that produce excellent profiling questionaires. A google search will locate them for you. It is well worth taking the time to research and commit. I know it saved me enormous amounts of time and money.

Don't forget our weekly FREE pod casts at We have some great guests coming up that you will want to learn from.

Till next time.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


My subject this week was scheduled to be something entirely different but I can't resist discussing my difficult encounters with a company I am almost begging to do business with.

Our company and my wife and I personally are in the process of moving from our current location and that event is to take place in about a week. In preparation for the move we have had to make the usual amount of phone calls to connect various services etc. You are all familiar with the drill.

Many of you have probably seen the commerical of a certain satellite TV provider advertising how easy it is to move with their service. Just pick up the box, take it with you and they'll hook it up for you at the new location. Something got lost between their operations department and their advertising department. It would serve them well to have a meeting to discuss what is really happening.

I now have completed 6 calls to this company without any satisfaction. I was actually told by two of their representatives that getting the service hooked up at the new location was my problem, they provided the boxes, how I got service was not their problem. Since they have a contract with the building owner, I cannot just call up another service provider, I must work my way through the issue.

It got me thinking about the industry we are in. Do you have any customers that have tenants that would like to switch providers but can't because the building management signs the contract? Do you take some of the tenants for granted knowing they don't make the final decision or have the power to influence the decision? Do you really strive to have everybody in the building happy? I know, I know, that is impossible but the key word here is strive. Do you strive to keep everybody happy? Is there a disconnect between what you are selling and what you are delivering? Have you read your own advertising literature lately? Have you shown it to the operations department?

You see, someday one or more of the people in those buildings you clean may be in a position to purchase one or more of the services you provide and they will remember how they were treated by your organization back when. Do you "strive" to always provide customer satisfaction or have you more than once said "we don't do that".

I remember several years ago sitting in a consulting client's office and heard him say at least 3 times to different customers who called, "we can do that". I asked him about that phrase and he said they made it a company policy to always go out of their way to provide the customer with satisfaction and many times that meant finding a sub contractor to perform some work that he wasn't capable of doing. I remember him telling me that they didn't always make a lot of money on each of these special requests but he had been sucessful in developing the reputation among his clients of 'getting things done". They knew by calling him that the problem would be solved. It helped solidify his relationship and avoided the "going out for bid" process because the customers were concerned that another vendor may not be able to provide all the special services that my client could. Great concept, isn't it?

"We can do that" can be a difficult culture to establish in a company. If you are use to doing "only the specs" and have trained your staff accordingly, it can be culture shock to now say you are going to be an umbrella service provider. I know I had difficulty in my own organization creating that change in thinking, especially among my supervisors who didn't want any more work. It was just easier, when a customer asked at night, to say "we don't do that". For the most part we succeeded in changing to a "we can do that" company but it was a challenge.

What changed some attitudes among our staff was when they saw customer retention increasing because customers didn't want to risk losing their one stop phone call shopping. It sure made missing that trash can that before was a major issue seem like not a very important little blip in the grand scheme of things. about you? Are you taking some or all of your customers for granted? Are you saying "we don't do that" when a phone call to a sub contractor would endear you to that customer? In this day of e-mail and texting it is pretty easy to forget to get in front of the customer and tell them how much you appreciate their business and let them know all the services you can provide and that you want to be their service provider and not just the office cleaners. Let me challenge you to personally visit each of your customers this month and show your appreciation for their business. Some of them may be shocked to see you at a time you are not asking for a price increase.

By the way, while you are visiting with them ask them if their are any other facility services that you could provide that would help ease their workload. I know I just said that in the previous paragraph but I want to see if you are paying attention and it is very important. They might just be struggling with something that would be easy for you to provide and/or compliments what you are now doing. You will never know if you don't ask.

I will let you know how I resolve my issue.

Till next time.