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Especially in the janitorial industry, only wet babies like change
Writes our columnist Ed Selkow, who through more than 35 years in cleaning has stacked up an impressive depth of experience and knowledge of the industry.
The saying goes; the only sure thing is death and taxes. Those that come up with profound proverbs are never questioned or doubted.
Except by a few folks like me who do a lot of doubting. They missed an important one, which is, the only thing that will remain constant is the fact that things WILL change.
No one likes change except a wet baby. So with change comes tears. For many of us, the older we get, the more we cry about things changing.
We get comfortable with our familiar routines, our abundance, and our knowledge of how things work. Then someone comes along and changes things.
Our beloved building services industry is full of old crybabies. They were (and many still are) fat and happy but then one day someone said they had to buy a fax machine and that was only the beginning. The floodgates broke open and then came a tsunami. Cell phones, email, websites, and the absolute worst, computers on everyone's desk?
I am not talking about kindly old Wilfred Brimley types, just back from the of the hardware store, smelling of tuna on toast, dressed in flannel shirts, rocking back and forth in the parlour. Some of these people owned large janitorial companies; some even own national ones.
"No one will do any work if I put computers in those offices," exclaimed one company president and more than 30 offices nationwide used 3-part NCR forms, faxing and mailing them several times a week. To make matters worse, they paid rent to have offices to house mountains of NCR forms and a place to stuff them in envelopes.
Here's the deal though, all of the giants of today, will be unrecognisable 10 years from now and some will not survive at all. Ten years from now every single one of the giant companies will be run by someone who understands the changes that are happening all around us. These changes are happening at lightning speed. The time to be in this business, to be creative, to not listen to the old folks crying, could not be any better.
Social media, new message delivery rules, the whole world available on a smart phone that fits in your pocket, the global positioning system, electronic funds transfers, RAM priced below what a magazine or a couple of Happy Meals cost, terabytes of storage, Wi-Fi through entire downtown corridors and competitors that are hungry, all mean the game changers already walk among us.
Innovation, creativity and a "why can't we do this" stream of thought is about to change things again and again. I am one of the old guys but I am not crying at all. I am excited to see what is coming and some of what is already on its way. I have faith and trust the young folks I come across. Just wait until you see what they have been working on.
Think back to that very first time you played "52 Pick Up" with a deck of cards and that makes you smile. Well you ain't seen nothing yet!
3rd November 2011