Inspiration Friday: Think of the cleaners



This week I had the pleasure of presenting and facilitating business development workshops at Games Business Conference in Aalborg. I had great conversations with Christian from HandyGames, Tobias from StarDoll and James from Many of the of the conversations over the two days revolved around team, finding the right people, building the right culture and not limiting your progress, scale and market by the size of your company.

Later, one of the conference participants talked to me about an experience she had as a 21 year old intern. It brought the whole conversation about team right back into focus and inspired me greatly.

As an intern in a Government agency in Denmark, Anna came in early each morning and greeted the cleaning crew. As the pattern continued, she being early and friendly, the team sharing their coffee with her, something unexpected and wonderful happened.

Her office got cleaned first, thereby changing the pattern of how offices in the whole building had been cleaned for decades. The cleaning crew changed their schedule, a well engrained, habitual habit, to help her out. Pretty nice right!

They did this not because she was the CEO, she was an intern on a 6 month project – they did this because she appreciated them and treated them as part of her team, her valued colleagues.

Too often we take our colleagues for granted. Like Anna’s example, we don’t think of the cleaners, the very people who make the environment and the atmosphere around us conducuet for us to do our jobs.

Anna’s mantra is “everyone counts”. Everyone’s jobs, their contribution, their dedication and their talent. Even if they do not earn as much as others or their ‘value’ to the company is not recognised.

Business owners and CEO’s worry what it will take for their team to change track when business moves in a new direction. We all know that change management is very difficult.

In Anna’s example, a new work methodology developed overnight. It did not cause any stress or any worry. It was done as a practical, thoughtful response – Anna’s colleagues arrived in later than she did.

The question is, did anyone else in the organisation see this lovely gesture and the changed work practice?

Decent human kindness is a very powerful thing. Maybe we all should trust in it a bit more and give a little time, encouragement and goodwill. You never know what great things will happen as a result.


– Be observant
– Give people credit for the jobs they do
– Engender a culture of gratefulness and appreciation
– Find ways to capture everyone’s feedback and suggestions
– Foster ‘ground up’ thinking
– Give your team space to develop and implement their own ideas

Image thanks to Leo Reynolds