We loved Olivia from the moment we met her. While she spoke very little English (still, way better than our Spanish), her work communicated for itself. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that it felt like they (Olivia and her cleaning crew) had hugged our home. In fact, real hugs were exchanged when we would see each other.   

For nearly eight years, we enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Olivia and her crew. Then, things started to change. 

COVID Changed Everything

A few months into Covid, they started showing up late, rushing through the cleaning, and leaving things undone. Sometimes they even came when we asked them to skip, which conflicted with virtual presentations and business meetings. As you might imagine, we were frustrated.   

Hoping to find a solution, we tried switching to another day for cleaning. It didn’t help. Then, we tried sending text reminders the day before. They still showed up late, rushed, and left things undone. Finally, we tried sending a text message in the morning, letting them know the house needed to be done by a certain time.

Finding Someone New To Do The Work 

Still, nothing changed, and we started thinking about finding someone new. The only problem was that we already trusted (and really liked) Olivia and crew. We just didn’t like the lateness, or the stuff they missed when they rushed. 

Sitting in my living room, I replayed the afternoon when I reprimanded Olivia in front of her team. Beyond poor form, it was remarkably ineffective. A hundred apologies didn’t seem like enough for that shittyness. Alas, I’m human, and she forgave me.

Then, I thought about the days I used to send Olivia a text in appreciation for her good work after each cleaning, which I hadn’t done in well over a year. I also thought about the time of day they used to come before Covid, which was in the morning, and we were never home. So, if they were late (which they were), it didn’t bother us.

If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes 

Curious, we decided to try a three-pronged approach to this challenge.   

  • First, we switched the day and time that they come.
  • Second, we decided not to complain about Olivia and crew anymore. Complaining wasn’t doing us any good anyway, so why bother?
  • Third, we started intentionally sending a note of appreciation after each cleaning. “Our home looks and smells great. Thank you!” As it turns out, looking for what they did well is more enjoyable than the opposite.

Sweeten Up The Deal

For fun, we threw in baked goods at every cleaning. While it took time and a few bucks to bake the brownies, it was far less time and energy than all the time we had spent complaining. 

The result? 

Our house has never been cleaner, we didn’t have to find someone new, and we get to enjoy our interactions again. They still show up late… every time. But now it doesn’t matter. If it did matter, we would have needed to find a different cleaning crew.

Before Letting Someone Go, Try This 

Before letting someone you once liked go, and certainly before spending any more precious time and energy complaining about them, consider trying this simple five-step process: 

  1. Remember. Why did you hire them in the first place?
  2. TSD. Look honestly at what is not working, and then Try Something Different.
  3. Eliminate Complaining. Complaining is draining. 
  4. Appreciate. What you appreciate, appreciates.
  5. Generosity. Share the wealth of your time and treasures.

Try it. And, then tell me how it goes. 

Here’s to your greatness, 

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister helps leaders and their team have conversations they keep avoiding but need to have. For nearly 20 years, she has facilitated communication that results in trust, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Make sure your communication is coming across the way you intend, visit https://www.MistiBurmeister.com