The leaders at 4M want everyone to have the same opportunities as Crain to move up the ladder, and that's the purpose of Lead 360, a program Crain and 4M have recently begun using in an effort to empower team members throughout the company — especially those who lack the education traditionally needed for career advancement.

Crain describes the program as a curriculum involving the day-to-day operations of the business. Those selected to participate in the program are trained in various facets of the 4M business, thus expanding upon their current skill set. They are also taught how to train new hires in cleaning practices.

"A large portion of (cleaning) they already know," says Crain. "They know how to clean a restroom but can they train someone to clean a restroom?"

Other training involves safety management and leadership development — the latter of which requires participants to pass six classes for certification.

Regardless of the speciality, the hope is that the courses will give team members the training required so that they can get a job that pays well enough that they never work a second job again, says Crain.

"It's personal to me because being in the business so long we have so many people working for us that sometimes we overlook (them for positions)," says Crain.

The first class of Lead 360 participants were introduced on Aug. 1, the majority of which are on pace to graduate from the courses in December. Those who do graduate will be granted an associate manager position.

More broadly speaking, Lead 360 is just another way that 4M works to further improve its culture — something that's been a goal of the company since its founding. It's a word that was brought up early and often when Contracting Profits spoke to Crain, Murch and Cline for the story. In a way, culture is what most of the company's goals seem to circle back to.

When asked what culture means to him and what his role is in defining 4M's culture as president, it was no surprise that Crain provided a concise and confident response.

"It's listening," says Crain.

So how does leadership go about "listening" to its team members? How does someone in a position of power go from making important decisions to allowing his or her opinions to be influenced by the voices of staff, regardless of rank? For Crain, it's as straightforward as walking up to an employee and starting a conversation.

"When I'm out in the field with team members, I'm taking the time and having team member engagement circles," says Crain.

Listening is asking the team members what is going well and, more importantly, what isn't. Crain says it sometimes hurts to hear what isn't working, but finding out what's going wrong ultimately helps the company to improve. Listening also helps leadership to understand the work and life of its team members. It helps them to become aware of their issues, whatever they might be.

"So many folks in the industry are working because they have to and you have to understand that," says Crain. "It's these workers, the hourly team members, that are at the foundation of the business. And because of this, they often times have the answers management has been searching for."

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