Recently I was at an event attended by different school administrators when a business manager approached me and said, “You know Willem, it doesn’t really matter which cleaning company cleans the school, it all depends on the cleaner on the site!”

Although I can understand why someone would say that, especially if they once had a great cleaner at their school or office and then they left and were disappointed by their replacement, however I must disagree with her comment.

Let me explain.

“Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behaviour matches your goals.”

― Ken Blanchard, The One Minute Manager

This quote comes from what I consider the best book on management I have ever read, and it has served me well in the forty years I have been in business, especially for the last twenty-one years we have served clients in the educational cleaning space.

Blanchard’s book outlines three key strategies in leading a team and although his philosophies are applicable across any industry, they are particularly relevant in the cleaning industry.

The three strategies as we apply them at iClean are;

  1. One Minute Goals
  2. One Minute Praisings
  3. One Minute Redirects

The First Secret: One Minute Goals

Setting one-minute goals is the beginning of one-minute management.

We set one-minute goals based on the clients’ top 20% priorities. Utilising the 80/20 rule.

One-minute goals work well when we:

  1. Plan the goals together with the cleaners and describe them briefly and clearly. Managers show our cleaners what good performance looks like
  2. We then have our team write out each of their goals with due dates on a single page
  3. We ask them to review their most important goals each day, which takes only a few minutes to do
  4. We then encourage people to take a minute to look at what they are doing, and see if their behaviour matches their goals
  5. If it doesn’t, we encourage them to rethink what they are doing so that they can realise their goals

The Second Secret: One Minute Praising(s)

It is easier for everyone to do well if they receive clear feedback.

We have found that for cleaners to reach their full potential, the key is to catch them doing something right.

Benefits of immediate praising:

  1. They don’t have to wait for a performance review to be praised. Give a praising soon after something is done right
  2. Shows you know what the person is doing and are sincere (Be specific with praise)
  3. Being consistent

Praising builds confidence.

A one-minute praising works well when you:

  1. Praise people as soon as possible
  2. Let people know what they did right, be specific
  3. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps.
  4. Pause for a moment to allow people time to feel good about what they have done
  5. Encourage them to do more of the same
  6. Make it clear you have confidence in them and support their success

The Third Secret: One Minute Redirects

Everybody needs to be a learner because things are changing so much.

When a mistake is made:

  1. Make sure the goal we have set is clear.
  2. Provide a one minute redirect in two parts.
Part One: focus on the mistake.

Confirm the facts.

Review what has gone wrong.

Be very specific.

Tell how you feel about the mistake and its possible impact on our results.

Be quiet to let it sink in.

Part Two: focus on the person.

Remind the person they are better than their mistake.

Affirm that you have confidence and trust in the person.

Explain that you don’t expect a repeat of the mistake and look forward to working together.

Remind the person you don’t want them or their team to be known for poor or mediocre work.

The goal is to build confidence in people to help get better results.

Encourage people to speak up if you make a mistake.

Learn to laugh when you make a mistake and get over it by doing better work.

If the goal is clear, a one-minute redirect works well when you:

  1. (First half-minute, focus on the mistake)

Redirect people as soon as possible.

  1. Confirm the facts first and review the mistake together. Be specific.
  2. Express how you feel about the mistake and its impact on results. Pause.
  3. Be quiet for a moment. Allow people time to feel concern about what they have done.
  4. (Second half-minute, focus on the person)

Remember to let them know that they are better than their mistake and that you think we’ll of them as a person.

  1. Remind them that you have confidence and trust in them and support their success.
  2. Realize that when the redirect is over, it’s over.

In summary, I have always found that a lot of our time is spent finding and recruiting good cleaners.

However, cleaning can be a thankless task, often our cleaners don’t hear anything until something goes wrong.

One Minute Management ensures that our cleaners’ efforts are not taken for granted and that they are recognised for their good work.

“People who feel good about themselves produce good results.”
– Ken Blanchard