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#1 - Make Your Bed

Article by Michael Bouwens

CEO & Founder bij bouwens&

30 January 2020

In the coming months I want to offer you an insight in how we at bouwens& view hospitality, service, teamwork, and personal development. This is the first in a series of posts.

One of the most noticeable characteristics of these times is that we have become more impatient than ever. Everything has to happen quickly, and it has to happen now. When we want something, we expect to find it online within two minutes, and we want to have it delivered within a day. If not, we quickly find another supplier or retailer. When in a parking garage, a little wait swiftly leads to a symphony of car horns, and a busy waiter with twenty tables to tend to knows not to expect his guests to be understanding. We’re simply always in a rush.

"In my experience, resistance triggers development and self confidence."

It’s not much different on the work floor. Impatience and haste seem to become more and more in style. People take less time to master a skill, are hungry for fast promotions, and less resilient to resistance and disappointments. People think that resistance slows down and demotivates, while I see every day that resistance, for instance constructive criticism, stimulates development and self-esteem.

Haste and impatience come with a few quite unpleasant side-effects. Sloppiness, lack of substance, absence of personal growth and progression; if you never take the time to really dive into a subject, you’ll never truly master it. You’ll have to practice, see how the best in the business do it, be willing to start all over again… This is the roadmap towards excelling at your job.

Once you show that you actually want to know how something works, how you can be better, how to do it perfectly, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the competition of the facility industry. Our best people have made an art of opening and closing car doors, as they have of welcoming guests in an office lobby. This has clients regarding them as the best the business, and rightfully so. And because it is simply more fun to do something right, our people go to work with a smile.

If you think that opening a (car) door, or welcoming guests is insignificant, you’re quite wrong. In a speech that has been watched millions of times and can be found in a nice little book called ‘Make Your Bed’, American admiral William H. McRaven explains the following: “If you can’t do the small things, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.” As you might expect, McRaven uses making your bed on a daily basis as an example. If I can paraphrase: if you won’t allow yourself to fully master greeting guests, chances of you becoming a manager, a leader, are slim.

Great news: as an employee you largely control your own development. Employees should facilitate the circumstances – calm, time, space – in which employees actually dare to grasp their opportunities. A place where they don’t feel pushed, but considered, guided, and stimulated.