Here at Regular Cleaning, we like to recognise strong job performance and allow our colleagues to develop their strengths and progress in their career. Michael Chinakwe, our Operations Manager, is testament to this.
What has been your biggest challenge/s since starting your role as interim Operations Manager? How did you overcome these challenges?
“The global COVID 19 pandemic hit just 2 month’s into my interim role, so my plans to train and coach new skills, improve communication, and look to drive improved standards of excellence were very quickly superseded by COVID response sanitisation cleans, requests to make changes to service provisions, and helping our clients understand how we could support them through the uncertainty of what the pandemic would change for us all.
Keeping my team and my colleagues best informed about taking safe precautions and the steps we were taking as a business to protect their wellbeing meant that communication and engagement was critical. Learning how to do all that, whilst working much of the time from home was a very steep learning curve for me and my team.
I’ve learnt that it’s important to take a step back, take time to think and reflect as well as talking things through with my team and my colleagues. When faced with something that we’ve never faced before, the more ideas and suggestions I can use the better, so that I can make the most informed decision. I then make a plan, and tackle things head on, taking the lead in tough situations.”
How have your skills and experience developed to give you more confidence in the role over the last year?
“The last 12 months required me to be really engaged with all clients in my portfolio. Where this pandemic was new to us all, I found myself getting involved with all my clients projects from amending current agreements, to providing essential businesses with the confidence we can provide a clean and safe workspace as well as assisting clients in planning their return to work spaces. This helped me reach a new level of rapport building, a skill that is very much needed in the FM industry.
Furthermore, the last 12 months has required me to be involved in processes that take place in other functions of the business. Working very closely with HR, Commercial, Accounts etc. has helped me increase my knowledge and technical skills, and become a more rounded and polished operator.
Lastly, the transition from face-to-face meetings to online meetings, meant meetings with my clients, my team members etc. are now attainable at the click of a button. I believe I speak for us all reading this, when I say I have never experience such a vast number of meetings in the last 12 months as opposed to the last 4 years in the business! This helped me gain more confidence in board level meetings within the business as this role requires me to work closely with the Operations Director and the Directors of other business functions.”
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to successfully progress in their career?
“I have always been a huge admirer of Richard Branson. I remember when I stumbled across one of his quotes years ago in my business lecture at university.
‘If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!’
When my Operations Director first approached me about the interim role, there was a rush of excitement that hit me followed by the fear of underachieving. Despite the latter, I decided to accept and remind myself I can perform in this challenging role.
This quote has always stuck with me over the years. Opportunities are hard to come by and when they do come, you may have that fear of failure at the back of your mind. I would advise anyone looking to progress their career to have a strong belief in themselves and to never place a limit on where or what they believe they can achieve. I would also advice the following to those looking to progress:
- Never be afraid to ask for help
- Stay inquisitive, as this will only build your knowledge and understanding in your field
- Have mentors outside of the business that are in positions you aspire to be in
- Sign up to newsletters/read articles in relation to your industry
- Build relationships within the business
- Most importantly, try to be the best at whatever you do
To conclude, it is very important to not only believe in yourself, but it is crucial to have others around you who believe in you and will support you. Having someone who invests in you and helps shape you, really speeds up the process. I developed most quickly when my Operations Director created the best environment for me to grow. I had the ambition and drive but he steered me in the right direction and kept me on track.”