Scrubbing Toilets

Now that we have our team in place, there’s a new “normal” in the warehouse that’s much different than it was at any time in the past.  There are a lot more people there on a daily basis, doing a wider variety of things.  When this transition occurred we took the opportunity to change a few routines to better fit the company culture that we wanted going forward.

One such example is the routine cleaning around the warehouse: the bathroom, the kitchen area, sweeping, mopping, taking out the garbage, etc.  The stuff you’d have a janitorial service do if you were a huge company.  We didn’t want this to fall back on just our warehouse operations manager or on any one employee (or even part-time employees).  We wanted everyone to share in the work equally.  We all spend a lot of time there.  We all want it to be a clean, comfortable environment.  And none of us have “warehouse cleaning staff” in our job description.

We decided to equally divide up the tasks so that each employee has a specific responsibility.  As owners, we took up arguably the worst task: cleaning the bathroom.  It can be the most disgusting and it needs to be done frequently.

Why did we give ourselves bathroom duty?  To set an example.  We’re all equal as people. No work is beneath anyone if it’s important to the business.  And, most importantly, that every job large or small should be done with excellence.  We expect great work from everyone at every part of their job, not just the glamorous work.

Which is why on my turn I’ve been scrubbing that bathroom from top to bottom as if my job depended on it passing inspection from the worst germaphobe on earth.  I try to remember to do all of the extras like clean the mirror, wipe down doorhandles, stock extra toilet paper and paper towels, and the like.  There’s no better example you can set than enthusiastically scrubbing a toilet.

4 comments on Scrubbing Toilets

  1. Darrin says:

    Love to hear about the equal company culture. Derek Sivers talks about this in his book as well.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Ironically I actually added Derek Sivers’ book to my Amazon wish list a few days ago! Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Tim Coleman says:

    Great example, I’m not too surprised! At my previous business I had the same attitude, there’s no way I can ask someone I’m paying to do something I wouldn’t or couldn’t do myself. As odd as it sounds, the power in your employees seeing you do the “crappy” jobs is very effective. My team would literally take a bullet for the cause because they knew I’d take a bullet right along side them.

    This falls in a similar category to another pet peeve of mine, a former acquaintance of mine would refer to programmers as “code monkeys” and continually talk down their value and them as people in general. This individual could barely turn his computer on let alone actually make technology profitable, but those who did were some how beneath him… While you should never treat anyone poorly, I think this is magnified when you’re talking poorly of someone who’s doing a job that you cannot, totally unacceptable.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      This is also a pet peeve of mine. Whether it’s programming or accounting or sales or whatever, doing it well is never easy. There has to be a healthy respect for everyone you work with as being a professional at what they’re good at, whether or not they’re below you on the org chart.

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