Learning that Gets Put to Work for Customers

By Matt Ellis


AffinEco Managing Partner Michael Diamond at BSCAI Conference

When it came time to decide how many team members should attend the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) 2019 Contracting Success Conference (Nov. 20-22 in Las Vegas), the general partners at AffinEco conducted a brief cost-benefit analysis. They settled on nine.

“If one person comes away with one nugget that impacts what they do, it’s worth the price of admission,” said General Partner Michael Diamond. “It really can impact us in a significant way.”

Among the chief takeaways for Diamond, General Partner Paul Senecal, and the rest of the AffinEco team attending this year’s conference and trade show in Las Vegas was understanding the value of trust. “If you increase the amount of trust you have in your organization by just 10%, that is the equivalent of giving each person a 36% raise in pay,” Diamond said, quoting conference keynote speaker Stephen M. R. Covey, author of the bestselling book The SPEED of Trust.

Covey said “producing results today in a way that inspires trust” is crucial for all businesses and organizations. “We take a pragmatic approach to leadership and trust by focusing on practical actions and behaviors.”

His presentation examined trust in five categories:

  1. Trust of yourself
  2. Trust of your relationships
  3. Trust of your organization
  4. Trust of your market
  5. Trust of society

“Trust is manifest in each successive wave, the effect of trust becomes cumulative and exponential,” Covey said.

The concept resonated with Diamond and Senecal, whose approach to leadership has always involved imparting trust to managers to make decisions. “It makes sense if people feel trusted, they do their job better, and they have ownership and pride,” said Diamond. “We trust our people with a lot of the day-to-day decision-making and, when they come to us for assistance, it is because they need to.”

Every year, BSCAI recognizes building service contractors that exemplify excellence in the field of safety. For the second year in a row, AffinEco received an award for its commitment to safety training and safe practices in the workplace. AffinEco has made safe operations a part of the company’s DNA, according to Diamond. “With over 700 accounts and 2,000 employees, it’s a major commitment for us to ensure every employee is properly trained. We are truly thankful to our managers because they make sure what they learn is implemented in the field. Our job sites are safer and our workers are staying safe.”

The men and women servicing AffinEco’s accounts are getting new tools to help them do their jobs even better. According to Diamond, the company is looking at bringing powerful, cordless vacuums on line in some AffinEco buildings in 2020. The vacuums “improve the quality and consistency of our work. Plus, the experience of cleaning is better because the equipment is better, and that helps us keep our employees happier,” Diamond said, adding the company is examining other new technologies that can further improve operations and employee happiness.

And, while the tools of the trade are on display at the BSCAI trade show, it is the insight people gain from speakers at the conference — on issues like trust, employee retention, and achieving goals — that is often the most valuable takeaway. Diamond, whose tenure as president of the association will come to a close in January 2020, believes BSCAI has improved what it offers its members, even beyond this annual event.

“We’ve really focused on membership engagement. We want people to be more active in the organization,” Diamond said. The association is an educational resource that arms managers with more knowledge and skill, which benefits employees and customers.”