This phrase is one of the most used when I'm training a new C3 Team Member along with "We don't clean everything every time. We clean everything over time". I wanted to dive into some mindset to encourage you, regardless of whether you're on the C3 Team, a solo cleaner, or a cleaning company figuring out the basics of growing a team. Let's first explore what it means to put in your reps as I lay out the construct known as the 4 Stages of Competence. I will use cleaning vernacular and share bits and pieces of the C3 training system to help anyone listening.
Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence - You just started cleaning professionally and barely know what you're doing. You're just doing what you think is right. If you don't have anyone training you or mentoring you through this stage, you'll never get out because you won't ever know that you're terrible! Most solo cleaners and cleaning team members start here. This stage doesn't exist in the C3 Experience.
Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence - You know you're not a good cleaner. This awareness is conscious. You want to get better to make your business viable or make your employer happy they hired you. You're following checklists and training videos and everything is still confusing. I talk about this stage in "Where is the Flavored Water?". This is me in the grocery store. I want to be better at finding items. But I'm woefully awful and my wife knows it. This is where most cleaners truly begin. Don't fret at how slow you clean or how poorly you do it. Are you following the system, the checklists, the training? You will improve. Be okay with being not okay at cleaning yet. This stage represents a brand new C3 Team Member going through orientation, training videos, and in-person training. In the case of a standard 3-hour office in the C3 model, you're probably getting Excellence scores around 6 and taking 5 hours to finish.
Stage 3: Conscious Competence - Ah, you are finally a quality cleaner. You've been following the cleaning checklists and training videos. You get it all done and you do a good job. You're competent at cleaning. Congratulations! Don't rush the process. Don't try to get faster yet. Just keep following the checklists and training. You will continue to become more competent and at some point it will just CLICK! Your brain will store the program and you'll move from conscious to unconscious competence. This stage represents a C3 Team Member after a few solo cleans. In the case of a standard 3-hour office in the C3 model, you've achieved the Excellence score of 8 but you still take 4 to 5 hours to clean! You're doing great! Remember, excellence before efficiency.
Stage 4: Unconscious Competence - My wife is at this level with the grocery store. She just walks in and grabs what she needs without thinking about it. Have you ever had a job where you just arrive at your desk in the morning and have little recollection of leaving your driveway and driving to work? This sounds scary, but it's just our brains working subconsciously on the daily programs we gave it to complete. I've been cleaning houses and offices for close to 20 years. I don't think about it anymore. It just happens. I clean with excellence without conscious thought. Once I got to this point, I was able to speed up tremendously while maintaining the quality. Can you relate to anything in your life like this? Okay, good. You will get to this point after the cleaning system CLICKS. This stage represents the point a new C3 Team Member stops using the training sheet and constantly checking the checklists. They know where to go and what do without thinking about it. This dramatically speeds up your cleaning while you increase in competency. In the case of a standard 3-hour office in the C3 model, your Excellence scores are consistently over 8 and probably hovering between 8 and 9. Your time starts decreasing from clean to clean by 5 minutes or 15 minutes or possibly 30 minutes. Let me give you some real numbers from the C3 Team. I've seen times increase from 5 hours on clean #1 to 4.7, 4.6, and 4.4 hours on cleans #2 - #4. It CLICKED on clean #5 and they hit 3.2, 3.0, and 2.4 in successive cleans. Here's another example of someone who took longer to CLICK. 5.1 hours to 5.0, 5.0, 4.4, 3.5, 3.3, 2.5, 3.2, and 2.8 hours. In each of these examples, our C3 Team Members retained Excellence scores over 8. They came off training and switched to commission at the CLICK point. From there their average hourly pay increased from $15 per hour to over $20 per hour. We have some C3 Team Members that get so efficient that they earn over $30 per hour. This is part of the process of crossing the CLICK point of Conscious Competence to Unconscious Competence.
Do you now understand what it means to achieve excellence before efficiency? I'll summarize. Learning is a process. You will start out bad and slow! Over time, you will get your reps and improve to good and slow. Put in more reps and you'll improve to good and fast. That's the sweet spot for any solo cleaner whether you work on our team, on another cleaning team, or you are a solo cleaner. You will do just fine. Be a willing student and grow into the cleaner you were meant to become!
If you're a new solo cleaner or just starting to grow a team, check out the many free resources of the Smart Cleaning School including 300 podcast episodes and counting.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.