Zenith Cleaners
  • My friends Tolu and Ronke run a cleaning company that is unlike any cleaning company I have ever come across. They see Zenith Cleaners as a vehicle through which they can create the kind of world they want to live in, a world that is not just healthy and aesthetically beautiful, but deeply rooted in caring relationships and personal growth.

    What I find particularly inspiring is their ability to translate this philosophy into a daily practice. One of the practices that struck me when I worked for Zenith was the equal reverence they had for clients and staff. In every other service job I’ve experienced, the mantra that was drilled into my brain was “the customer is always right.” But at Zenith, Tolu and Ronke made it clear from the start that if I was ever treated poorly by a client, I was to tell them immediately and they would not hesitate to intervene and even discontinue the relationship with the client if necessary. For them, a clean and healthy world does not stop at what you can see, it includes healthy human relationships. If the space looks clean, but human beings are hurt in the process, the space is not truly clean.

    Recently, Tolu took to blogging some of his reflections on their business and so I thought it would be fun to bring them into this space. Here are a few nuggets from the Zenith blog and website that resonated with me:

    “We came into this knowing that it was a ‘lowly’ occupation but we chose to be ‘lowly’ instead of ‘exalted’ and while we had a sense of it when we started, we realize in retrospect that there are many things you learn in lowliness that you cannot learn otherwise.”

    “Cleaning is not just about keeping someone else’s space clean. Depending on one’s perspective, the cleaner may benefit much more from the process than the beneficiary of the cleaning task and I think understanding and experiencing ways a cleaner may benefit from the activity makes it much more rewarding for everyone. As a cleaner, you probably will not be cleaning for the rest of your life but while you are doing it, why not fully participate and experience what makes cleaning rewarding for you.”

    “For me, cleaning is not just about cleaning. It is about relationships, it is about working out, it is about meditation, it is about seeing the world through a different lens and being in a different role than my training and background has prepared me for. I cannot describe what it feels like to be a cleaner doing high dusting in a clothing store one night and the next morning be speaking to a graduating MBA class at HEC Montreal. It tends to enlarge your frame of reference, at the very least.”

    September 16th, 2010 | Tana Paddock | 5 Comments

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5 Responses and Counting...

  • Marianne 09.16.2010

    I agree with the approach that is braided into the philosophy of the Zenith Cleaning company. I wish we would teach our children as they grow up that it is not the job that defines who you are but rather how you do that job. I constantly repeat this to the people who help me out at my stand. I remind them that they are helping me out because they need some income at the moment and that I know they are on their way to becoming whatever, and I insist that they begin to realize that while they are involved in a task to do it to the best of their abilities. In doing it that way, every task has a meaningful purpose and that everyone who stops to feed their cravings is supported via relationship building. Although there are a few people who are less than desirable as customers, they are so few and I think it is because the people who stop at my hot dog stand receive kindness first, which helps the building of relationships and opens up all possibilities.

  • Thanks for this lovely post on Zenith Cleaners. I love your choice of words – “equal reverence” for clients and staff. No one is of more value than another. Everyone of us is equally invaluable and filled with infinite possibilities. We just have different roles, whether we are priests, poets or garbage collectors. As Rennie stated in his post on Oneness, “we seek the same essential things”. Everyone deserves reverence. Everyone deserves to be treated with ‘Namaste’ or ‘Shalom’ whether they are the cleaner or the President and we just want to create a space for that kind of experience. Thanks for the post.

  • I was so encouraged to see this blog entry about Zenith Cleaners. As clients of this company I can say first hand that they in fact deliver on their philosophy – it isn’t just words on a website. As their client I was the recipient not only of their exceptional cleaning, but also their kindness and thoughtfulness as a caring service provider.

  • Je suis vraiment fire de Zenith Cleaners. Les patronts sont des gent qui n’utilisent pas leurs pouvoir d’être patront pour utiliser des gent. Ils sont des personnes qui pensent à les autre. Avec la façon que les patronts pensent, ça me donne toujours l’envie d’aller plus loin dans la vie. J’aime où je suis maintenant dans la vie. Grace à Roni et Tolu et à Zenith Cleaners. Namaste, I salute the god in you.

  • […] have a sense that we want to treat them as whole human beings and in the words of my friend Tana Paddock, we have “equal reverence for clients and staff”. Our clients are not more important […]

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