- ESS Clean CEO Turns Challenges into Success Stories
BSC Proves Hard Work Pays Off
- Paul Taylor Built a Foundation for Business Success
With the company in expansion mode over the years, Taylor was required to adjust his leadership style. He had to learn to step away from aspects of the job in order to tend to other priorities. It’s a process he’s come to embrace.
In the early years of ESS, he was often the one cleaning on the frontlines. Those tasks would eventually evolve into supervising cleaners, and then managing those supervisors. While he now spends far less time cleaning and more time leading and targeting future opportunities for growth, Taylor believes those early days on the frontlines set the tone for a hardworking company culture.
“Early on, I was very hands-on, and I think it worked. People respected me because I was willing to get my hands dirty and work hard, even through the night many times. I was young and I had to earn trust and respect,” says Taylor. “My role is different now. I try to provide people with the tools, training and resources they need, and then get out of their way.”
Despite taking a step back from the frontline, Taylor never lost his servant mentality. As a man of faith, he takes pride in the opportunity to contribute to any degree; whether it’s picking up some trash in a parking lot or cleaning the ESS office building during the pandemic. It was one of many frontline-related tasks Taylor found himself returning to during the pandemic — but reverting to those old ways was a mistake.
Taylor was involved in too many things and needed to refocus on leadership duties. He acknowledged that mistakes are part of the job — to be expected and forgiven, as long as the person takes accountability and strives to improve.
“One thing stayed consistent through the transition from cleaner, to supervisor, to manager, to leader; I am flawed. I do stupid things and I say things that I have to take back, but I do my best to emulate Jesus. Jesus was a servant leader. He cared for and loved people,” he says. “Our management style is to always treat people well, no matter what.”
For as much as Taylor enjoyed building his business and watching it grow, it required him to be put into challenging situations. While he enjoys striking up conversations and meeting new people, at a certain point those interactions become daunting. But Taylor has learned how much of an impact those conversations can have, and it motivated him to interact at a high frequency. On the employee side, he made it a point to call 50 employees each month just to check in on them, see how they were doing and to thank them for their work — be it a frontline cleaner or office administrator.
The same mentality is applied to the recruiting end. Taylor treats every potential interaction as an opportunity to learn something interesting about people and perhaps find a fit for the company.
“One of my primary functions is to recruit for our key positions in the company. I do this through networking, LinkedIn connections and just meeting people at McDonalds, Starbucks or the grocery store,” he says. “I accept a lot of meeting requests from local people. I like to meet people and to learn about them, their history, their family and their company. I figure every person I meet is a potential member of our team. I would much prefer to hire someone that I already know for a key position.”
That’s not to say Taylor is never off the clock. It’s critical for him to recharge his social batteries after his recruiting and retention efforts, often through kayaking or fishing. He credits the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazi, for inspiring those consistent efforts to reach out and accept invitations to meet.
“I realized, if I wanted to grow and build my company, I really needed to get out there, be more relational and get to know more people. That's a very important part of my job,” says Taylor. “I've come to love it. But then at the end of the day, I'm wiped out from all the interactions. You've got to restore the discipline to make yourself do the things that you don't want to do. I forget who said it, but successful people do the things that other people are not willing to do.”
ESS Clean CEO Turns Challenges into Success Stories
Paul Taylor Built a Foundation for Business Success