JANCOA featured in Chief Learning Officer

A Beef With Jerky

Read full story by Ladan Nikravan

Employees want to work for good bosses, but many bosses lack emotional awareness and don’t know how to inspire people to perform their best.


Mary Miller, CEO and co-owner of JANCOA Janitorial Services Inc., a commercial cleaning organization, is aware of this chapter out of Jobs’ story, and she said she has promised her employees not to replicate it.

“You’ve got to create value at all times,” she said. “You don’t get customers unless you create value as a company, and it’s the same with employees. If you want great employees, you have to do something about it. You have to improve their quality of life. Work is about a bigger picture than completing routine tasks and meeting the boss’s demands.”

A decade ago, Mary and her husband Tony Miller were not creating enough value. They were faced with high turnover, low morale and $3 million in revenue. After research into what contributes to happiness in the workplace, they discovered the key to motivation wasn’t necessarily the promise of a bigger paycheck but rather the fulfillment of crucial personal dreams.

They created The Dream Manager, a program that inspires their employees to pursue their personal dreams. Through one-on-one coaching sessions and group classes, employees are encouraged to identify their dreams and take action to achieve them with their supervisors’ support.

“A great boss understands that without great people, you cannot create great value for your customers,” Mary Miller said. “You can’t be a boss and just want to dictate how people should do things and say the standard, ‘Because I said so.’ You have to create an environment where people want to work for you, and they understand the results you’re trying to accomplish.”

JANCOA’s turnover rate has decreased from 360 percent to 45 percent. Further, last year the company had more than $11 million in revenue, changes the Millers credit to The Dream Manager.

“You have to give people permission to be excited about the future, happy to come to work and inspired by their interactions with those in the top of your company,” Mary Miller said.

“We’ve doubled our business in the past 10 years, and a lot of that has been because we’re focusing on creating an environment that allows people to grow. When your people are happy, they’re open to learning new ways of doing things. When they’re bored with their lives, they’re just going through the motions, and that’s when trouble boils.”



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