I recently read Tim Grover’s Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable. Grover was the physical coach of the biggest basketball stars in the world such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. The book explains the mentality these unstoppable athletes had, and what separated them from all the other competitors. It’s a fascinating read, and is much more hard-hitting than a typical self-improvement book, similar to David Goggin’s no-bullshit style in Can’t Hurt Me.
Grover outlines three character archetypes – coolers, closers and cleaners. He describes in detail the different responses of these archetypes in different situations throughout the book, allowing the reader to identify with at least one of the archetypes, and maybe to strive towards the rare, ultimate title of ‘Cleaner’.
Coolers let others decide whether they’re successful; they do the job and wait to see if you approve. Closers feel successful when they get the job done. Cleaners never feel as if they’ve achieved success because there is always more to do.
Here’s the 13 characteristics of a cleaner:
You keep pushing yourself harder when everyone else has had enough.
You get into the Zone, shut out everything else, and control the uncontrollable.
You know exactly who you are.
You have a dark side that refuses to be taught to be good.
You’re not intimidated by pressure, you thrive on it.
When everyone is hitting the “In Case of Emergency” button, they’re all looking for you.
You don’t compete with anyone, you find your opponent’s weakness and you attack.
You make decisions, not suggestions; you know the answer while everyone else is still asking questions.
You don’t have to love the work, but you’re addicted to the results.
You’d rather be feared than liked.
You trust very few people, and those you trust better not let you down.
You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.
You don’t celebrate your achievements because you always want more.
As I read the book, names of cleaners would pop into my head, mainly from the world of professional football – Roy Keane, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Bruno Fernandes, Steven Gerrard. The media typically describes these types of people as ‘natural-born leaders’ or ‘serial winners’. Roy Keane literally got fired from Manchester United because he was so ruthless when analyzing his teammates after a drop in standards; Sir Alex Ferguson would play mind games with his rival managers and referees to get the edge needed to win; Mourinho infamously poked a rival manager in the eye during a big game; Bruno Fernandes can be seen instructing his teammates what to do all game; Steven Gerrard dragged his less-than-fantastic Liverpool side to win multiple trophies in his career.
While reading Relentless, I realized that cleaners are few and far between – it’s tough to have a mindset like that. In the end it could be summarized by saying a cleaner is someone that is 100% secure in themselves, is never satisfied, and isn’t afraid to upset their teammates or anyone else in order to get what they want.
Do you think you can be a cleaner? If so, would you? If you could, would you hire a cleaner in your team?
Let me know in the comments below!