Functions of a Janitorial CEO with Jordan Tong
Janitorial CEOs face a unique challenge. Not only are they running smaller, entrepreneurial businesses, but the people who are part of their company are usually friends, family and community members. 2019 Contracting Success Conference speaker Jordan Tong recently sat down with BSCAI to discuss his upcoming session and what he thinks makes a great janitorial CEO.
BSCAI: Your session is on the “7 Functions of a Janitorial CEO.” What do you think makes a CEO of a building service contracting company different than, say, a bank CEO?
Jordan Tong: Most cleaning company CEOs are running a small company in comparison to banks or other large corporations. In fact, when we think of the term CEO, we envision a big-shot executive on Wall Street. But 99% of janitorial CEOs are running companies under $30 million, and most of those under $10 million. This means that we are more entrepreneurial and in-touch with the happenings of the business. Additionally, our stakeholders are not only owners of publicly traded stock, but they are our family, team, and community. In short, it is a very personal role.
BSCAI: When you break down what the functions of a CEO are, how did you come to the seven you outline in your session?
JT: For nearly seven years, I have been part of a coaching group called C12. The seven functions come out of material I have learned in this group. I think it is important for all of us to realize that running a business, while looking different in a variety of contexts, basically requires the same overarching principles.
BSCAI: What do you think are some common mistakes CEOs make?
JT: As I see it, there are three common errors CEOs can fall into. First, you can get so involved in the day-to-day business that you don’t allow your team to lead, and you neglect the weightier matters of executive leadership. Second, you can become so detached from the company that you neglect your leadership responsibilities. Third, as an owner or CEO, it is easy to think about yourself, your money and your empire but great leaders are focused on the well-being of the people and the corporation.
BSCAI: Company culture can make or break a company. Do you think CEOs value culture enough?
JT: I honestly don’t have enough data to answer that question with any level of certainty. However, I do think we are living in a time where culture matters more and more to workers of all stripes. Every worker is a whole person, and it is not enough for a business to just provide a paycheck. We need to cultivate environments that tap into the whole person. When this synergy takes hold, it really is amazing what a team can accomplish.
BSCAI: For a new CEO entering into the business, what piece of advice would you give?
JT: A key character trait for any successful CEO, but especially in the janitorial industry, is humility. We are a servant-oriented industry. If you want a thriving service culture, you must model that from the top down. The CEO must live it, model it and believe it. If you are unwilling, in principle, to get out in the field and train an employee how to clean a toilet, then you may not be ready for the job.
BSCAI: What do you hope people take away from your session?
My passion is to see building service contractors thrive, and specifically, for small and mid-sized companies to get to that next plateau. Our industry is one where people of all backgrounds can build a great business and have massive impact. I hope this session can cast a vision for what that would look like in your business. I want to give you the tools you need to take your leadership and your company to the next level.
It’s not too late to register for the 2019 Contracting Success Conference! See Jordan Tong and a slew of other experts speak at these educational sessions designed for BSCs by BSCs.