I was in Dallas with my son for a podcasting conference in August. It was a blast, especially hanging out with my son. We stayed at the downtown Sheraton, which afforded us the ability to walk the city a bit. I also had the opportunity to connect in person with two former guests of the Smart Cleaning School. I went to lunch with Greg Shepard from "Sail Around the World". We had a blast walking around the city and enjoying a quality Mexican meal. Greg is a friend and definitely a mentor. He stretches me big time. The day after lunch with Greg, I had a personal tour and breakfast with Debbie Sardone from "A Buffalo Charges the Storm". Debbie is highly regarded coach in the residential cleaning industry as well as a friend and mentor. Back to my son and walking Dallas. I really, really wanted to visit Dealey Plaza. As a kid, I was enamored with the movie "JFK" starring Kevin Costner. The movie makes a compelling case for a second gunman on the grassy knoll. I have seen the Zapruder film so many times, that I already felt like I've been there. I was wrong. Being there was different. Kenny and I walked into Dealey Plaza. I was in awe. He knew more about the Lincoln assassination than Kennedy, so I described it as best I could. That's when I noticed a guy with a bike helmet and bike showing the Zapruder film and explaining the details of the assassination. Kenny and I walked over to listen. We stood on Elm Street in front of the old Texas State Book Depository as he pointed to the 6th floor corner window. The window is half open with boxes arranged exactly as they were in crime scene photographs. He paused the video on his phone and pointed to the first large "X" on Elm Street. This is where JFK was struck the first time in the neck. He played the Zapruder film. We could see Kennedy grab his neck. It was too surreal. He kept the film running as JFK was struck with the kill shot. He pointed to the second "X" on Elm Street. "On November 22nd, 1963, that's where an American President was assassinated." Chilling. We thanked him for his history lesson and walked the plaza. We stood on the "X" and took a picture. We stood on the grassy knoll and took a picture. We stood where Abraham Zapruder took the movie and yep, we took a picture. It was much, much different in real life. Dealey Plaza is virtually unchanged in 59 years. History is powerful, especially when we can be there in person.
There's a reason I shared this story. In the early 1960's, John F. Kennedy was beloved and respected. He was a member of the Democrat Party and generally regarded to have political views left of center. He considered himself a Liberal, yet he opposed Communism, supported the 2nd Amendment, and voted for tax cuts. Those were positions held by the Democrat Party then. Today, these same policy beliefs would be called Republican. Here's what I find interesting. If JFK were running for office right now, he would likely be a moderate Republican. This is not my opinion. You can search it online and read for yourself. That's not the point of this podcast. Here's the point. JFK didn't change. How could he. He's been dead for 59 years. What did change? Now we're asking the right question. It's called the Overton Window and I find it fascinating.
The Overton Window represents the range of acceptable ideas. If you can imagine a spectrum from left to right, where the far left and far right are labeled "unthinkable". As you move toward center, the unthinkable changes to "radical", then "acceptable", "sensible", and "popular". Finally, the center of the spectrum is simply "policy". In other words, ideas that are inside the Overton Window are considered safe while ideas outside are viewed as too radical for the public to accept. The Overton Window in 1960 during JFK's presidency was offset to the right of center. This means that the range of acceptable ideas in the country favored more right-leaning thought or more towards freedom. This window has moved quite a bit in 60 years. Today, the range of acceptable ideas are more left-leaning. What causes the Overton Window to shift? In this article by the Macinac Center for Public Policy, they say that "think tanks, the media. entertainment, crisis, or historical events. Anything that gets the idea out in the open to be discussed and debated has the potential to shift the window." I would agree that all of these circumstances have occurred since 1960. This phenomenon is how JFK could be viewed differently today.
Let's move away from politics. I wasn't making a statement and I certainly wasn't trying to offend anyone. There is enough of that already. I just wanted to explain the Overton Window. Now that you understand it, I'd like to change politics to 2 other Overton Windows that affect me directly and they likely affect you. The first one is schooling in America. I truly believe that the Overton Window is shifting quickly to the right in the topic of Homeschooling. It used to be a fringe element of society with the view that students don't develop social skills. Homeschooling was outside the acceptable ideas and considered radical. Today, homeschooling is more than accepted. It's encouraged. In 2016, 4% of US students were homeschooled. Five years later, that number rose to almost 7%. For perspective, way less than 1% of school age children were homeschooled in the 1980's. Homeschooling didn't even cross 1% until the mid 1990's. It's remarkable to see this Overton Window shifting to the side of homeschooling and no single event moved the window more than COVID-19. As a side note, check out the interview with my wife Teresa Carfagno called "The Homeschool Whisperer" if you would like information about homeschooling.
The final Overton Window that I would like to introduce is the Cleaning Industry. Check out the statistics on the growth in our industry called "The Cleaning Industry is Exploding". This is the window that is most exciting for listeners to this podcast. The stats show a clear shift in the acceptance of a household and office cleaner. Ed Selkow has bee en around the industry for 50 years and shared the history of our industry in "Conspiracies in the Cleaning Industry with Ed Selkow". Cleaners were immigrants on the outside of buildings that were allowed to come inside. They were barely accepted in commercial buildings during World War II. No one hired residential cleaners. The affluent would hire a maid to cook, clean, and do chores around the house. Did you ever see the Brady Bunch with Alice? That was a portrayal of the 1960's. If we take a peak at the Overton Window for the cleaning industry at the time of JFK, it was not acceptable for homes and slightly acceptable for companies to hire a cleaning service. This sounds ridiculous today as recent stats report that 10% of all homeowners hire an outside cleaning service and virtually all office settings require and budget janitorial services. The window is shifting toward cleaning services more and more. It's forecasted that 80% of homes will hire an outside service within the next few years. And here's a new mind-blowing stat by Allied Market Research. "The global cleaning services market size was valued at $55,715.0 million in 2020, and is projected to reach $111,498.8 million by 2030, registering a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.5% from 2021 to 2030." This is staggering to me as it encompasses all cleaning from office buildings to residential homes to floor care, upholstery, and windows. The worldwide market for cleaning is about to double! That's a major shift in the Overton Window toward us! Can you get excited? Are you doing anything right now to capitalize on this growth? Go for it! It's coming and it could define generational wealth for your family.
Let me end with a word of caution. The Overton Window shifts both directions. The future is always changing. My friend Ed Selkow did a second episode called "Future of the Cleaning Industry". He predicts that technology will swallow up operators and he's not the only one. There will likely come a point in time where robots and sensors and technology that can almost drive people around underground tunnels will oust humans in cleaning. I have no idea on the timeline. I do know that this would shift the window back toward cleaning professionals are outside of the acceptable range of ideas. That's a scary thought, but we do need to consider it. Sorry to end on a downer. Let's capitalize on the next decade in this industry and then we'll see what happens next!
Check out my interview with the CBF Founder, entitled "A Buffalo Charges the Storm with Debbie Sardone". Debbie is offering free consultations to listeners of this show through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page at smartcleaningschool.com/resources to see if CBF could be the right solution for you.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."