At the Connections Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas
this year, a colleague presented me with a book to thank me for helping him
with an event earlier in the year. The book was an easy read and was based on
influential words provided by successful businesspeople.
When he presented the book to me he said, “Tell me in a word
what it takes to be successful.” Although I look at myself as more of a
survivalist, I pondered the question and, after a quick trip down memory lane,
To participate is to engage in an activity to achieve a
specific result. In order to drive a car, for example, one must participate in
starting, shifting, observing, reacting, steering and stopping. When you
participate in all of these things and more, you are driving. The motive for
this participation may be to get from one point to another, but driving itself
There are many motives for the professional to participate
in floor maintenance. The technician’s motive may be simply to get paid; the
supervisor’s, to increase efficiency and proficiency; the manager’s to ensure
promises are kept within the constraints of the budget and the owner’s to
engage in profit and/or loss. Of course these are simplified to a fault, but I
want you to understand the basis or motivation of anything is what leads to
A professional technician is precariously balanced on a
three-legged stool, with one leg being chemicals, one leg equipment, and the
third leg the skill level of the technician. Remove any one of the legs and the
stool becomes unstable and the technician comes tumbling down.
The participation of the professional technician is to
understand each leg of the stool and how it applies to the other two. Identification
of the flooring material and comprehending the properties and characteristics
of them begins the process. Recognizing what chemicals will hurt the material
and what will help it is a byproduct of participation in identification. By
extension, equipment, tools and materials can be selected by understanding the
size and scope of the area and the services being provided.
Supervisory participation comes in the form of quality
control and quality assurance. Ensuring the task or service procedures have been
done in accordance with standards or best practices of the industry as well as
achieving efficient productivity rates. Supervisors are also participating in
some report writing. Nightly supervisor reports and some minor policing actions
to ensure the technicians are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Managerial participation engages the tactical and sometimes
strategic planning of the operation to ensure that services are delivered in
accordance with what was sold and within the budget allotted. Floor maintenance
managers are usually the conduit between the building service contractor and
the building or property manager that is in charge of the facility. Both
entities participate in developing a program that will best suit the customer’s
floor maintenance needs and the budget constraints of the company.
The owner participates on all levels of running the
business, and is tasked with the long-term planning of the company. In order to
make important decisions regarding direction of the company, the owner must
engage in the industry of which they are involved. This is the highest level of
participation, as he or she must know everything about their industry in order
to be successful.
Of course, these are very basic areas of participation, and
floor maintenance professionals should look beyond just what they do for
remuneration. Our industry, like all industries, is not static, it is dynamic
and changing daily. Everyone involved in floor maintenance should be actively
involved in staying on top of the most contemporary chemicals, equipment, tools
and materials, as well as methods for performing floor maintenance.
Above all else, the professional floor maintenance
technician regardless of what position they possess should actively participate
in ongoing education and training within their chosen field. Keeping current is
not difficult in this day and age of instantaneous communication; the internet
and other information sources make it much easier than it has been in the past.
Participation will most certainly lead to certification and qualification of
the floor maintenance professional, and this will ultimately lead to more
respect and higher wages.
Ultimately, participation is the only thing that will make
you successful at your given craft. You can’t learn it without participating in
education, you can’t perform it without participating in training, and you
can’t sell it, administer it, or manage it without participating in the
individual activities associated with each area. You can’t even get to the account
without participating in driving. Although participation is only a word without
participation, neither success nor anything else can be achieved.
The moral of the story? However you do it, find the
motivation for participation.