Here at Starkey, we strive to teach the most important lessons of Service Management. We know that two of the most essential abilities of a Household Manager are:
- The Pattern Factor: Seek out and identify procedures and patterns that are regular “ways” of doing things within a home. Follow them until you find out whether they are the real requests or preferences of the family or are “ways” of default established by a prior staff person. Once defined as a preference, make them a written procedure; if they are not, then seek out the preferred way and only then change the pattern by communication and example until it sticks.
- Creating Quality of Life: Task Sheets defined are the list of tasks performed or completed daily or weekly, or even seasonally by staff member within a home. While following established Tasks is essential, it is the role of the Household Manager to be sure the task is appropriate for that day. For instance, if the weather is unseasonably warm, and the stated Task is to “turn on the space heater every morning in the sun porch” you must remember to come back after an hour or so and turn off the space heater as the added heat is no longer needed. Always be in the moment, as your ultimate goal is creating creating Quality of Life!
Today a prospective client called, seeking private service training for her current household staff. She exclaimed, “Whew! You were hard to find, Mrs. Starkey!” Given that Starkey International comes up first when you Google Household Management, I was stunned until I asked, “What were your search words?” She replied, “Domestic Staff Training.” Those who know me and my work understand that I have been a wordsmith for this unique profession of Private Service and have written extensively for the industry, developing the use of over 100 words and terms including coining the title “Household Manager.”
Over the years I have rallied against ever referring to our Graduates as “Domestics.” The term domestic often has a negative association including: uneducated, low skill, not always trustworthy, non-English speaking, and more; this is not a good beginning for a growing young profession. The word Domestic is defined in Webster’s 1999 edition as, “pertaining to the home, family, or household affairs” and “tame; domesticated”. Much of my work over the last 30 years has been to actually create a world-recognized, well-respected, educated, and appropriately paid profession. The term domestic continues to play a vital role in defining those that do the more unskilled, hand’s on cleaning and outside heavy grounds work in private service. However, to continue to utilize the word Domestic to define, categorize, or refer to those who have attained years of service management education, abilities, and expertise as a “domestic” is much like referring to an architect as a carpenter!