Success And Humility

If you are a student of old and new law of the testaments, you know that Abraham’s blessings were the sacrifice of Jesus to put forth a new law with success and humility. Most of us humans try and walk-the-walk, and we all aspire to be successful. I look back at my humble life as I have spent all my adult years and 5 of my childhood years working in a drycleaning and laundry plant. A few diversions along the way, but always the laundryman. If you happen to believe in God, as I do, then you too have been blessed beyond comprehension. I marvel at the good life I have had despite set backs like losing my first son, and now more recently, my daughter of 25 years. Yet, I see many good things on the horizon. It is simply what I call survival and humility.

I want to thank all of you who have acknowledged my daughter Jennifer’s recent passing, and gave to Aiden, her year six-year old son’s memorial education fund in her name.
To illustrate the very point here of success and humility, very little I did alone over the years made me who I am, without the help of others along the way. There were mentors and older drycleaners who shared with me their success. Just like some of you readers out there who occasionally write and tell me things, or bring me into your plants for training. I owe it all to my drycleaning and laundry community. Success cannot flow without an eye on your humility. One of my pet peeves is for someone to say, “I did this and I did that.” In management that is the ultimate narcissistic comment, as you forget those who helped you along the way. And sometimes those very people are the employees under you. They deserve some credit too!

Being the old codger that I am now, common sense and humility appeal to me. Watching a drycleaning or laundry student surpass your teaching skills is the ultimate tribute to success. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager nor a teacher. The skill evades them. They don’t have the personality it takes. Good teachers and managers are made, not born. Being a manager is sort of like being a teacher. You are mentoring those under you. Just remember that you may not have what it takes to do it right. I was blessed with many mentors who genuinely cared about me and my future. To them I am forever grateful.

Training a manager, for instance, requires the ultimate challenge once you learn that this person has the people skills to get the job done. What are some of those skills?
• Humility for success, as my article title says.
• Pleasant personality, humble, and of cheerful attitude.
• Ability to see and know when you are wrong.
• Having the ability to be humble and apply it when you are wrong.
• Ability to lead and put out fires.
• Being of absolute privacy when it comes to your employees reprimands.
• Confidence!

“What Skill Does It Take To Manage A Plant?”
Plenty, if you intend to keep a staff! I wish I had a dime for every plant I went into where their manager was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. There is no room for indecisive, hand wringing or screaming at people in today’s world. Maybe in the old days people could be treated that way, but no self righteous person would take that from a manager or owner today. At least I hope not. Yet, it does happen. The owner will excuse them since he or she thinks they are so “invaluable.” Folks, getting a manager that comes from another plant with all their supposed skills and personality or charm…is usually a bad sign. If they are so valuable then why are they moving from job to job? Naturally, there are exceptions.
These so-called expert pressers or expert drycleaners/spotters or managers are far and few between. So what is the most important characteristic trait to have as a manager? They are rarely all things to all people. I would think hiring a person with good people skills, that cannot be bluffed by employees, or is not too timid with them, might be a good starting point. If they are trainable and willing to learn, send them to an industry school or bring in a private trainer (both would be best). Let them learn the skills involved in using equipment and making judgments on clothes.

“Handling Customers In A Professional Way Is An Absolute Must”!
This gem of a manager you just hired had best know how to handle a customer and make judgments on garments to be cleaned and/or that have been wrecked. Isn’t it amazing to see a good manager or owner walk to the counter and handle that customer so easily? They will get the respect needed and they will look and sound professional. Customers will watch me the most when I am in a plant just because I dress the part and look important. They seek that kind of person out. So, as a manager you must look and sound the part.

“Confidence Is The Key Ingredient.”
You must remember how it felt when you first had that feeling of confidence come over you – when you went to handle a problem with a customer or employee? I do. You just know it when you feel it for the first time. You just handled the problem without a worry in the world. Strive to reach that plateau in your career. You may begin to really enjoy this fine institution of drycleaning and laundry. Remember: Success only comes with humility!

I’m headin’ to the wagon now, these boots are killin’ me!

About Kenney Slatten

Kenney Slatten Training Company is a Dry Cleaning and Laundry Consulting Firm Specializing in Environmental Training and Certification. Kenney Slatten Training Company, or KSTC, is based in Texas with offices in Arizona and California. Kenney Slatten is a certified instructor/trainer for the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), is actively involved in the San Diego Drycleaners Association, the California Cleaners Association, is an Allied Trade board member of DLI, the Executive Director of Western States Drycleaners & Launderers Association, a member of the International Drycleaners Congress, and a columnist for American Drycleaner and Western Cleaner and Launderer magazines. The Kenney Slatten Training Company provides the only complete environmental training and inspection process. Started in 1987, Kenny became the first instructor for California E.P.A, OSHA, and state regulations. Kenney publishes a 36 point plant requirement every year in trade publications which is his guide for plant training and certification. We are the only company that provides dry cleaning and laundry specific environmental training. Kenney Slatten is a third generation drycleaner/laundryman from Houston, Texas. His company, KSTC, can teach you the skills you need to have a successful plant. His wagon is found all over the country parked under a tree just waiting for the next call to come to your plant. He can be reached at (800) 429-3990; e-mail: or go to: www.