Spring is here – at least here in the northern hemisphere – and it brings not just early experience of warming sun but also a tradition in spring cleaning.
My Mom always used this time of the year as an opportunity to clean the house and get rid of all old unnecessary stuff. As much as I resisted it as a kid, I think this tradition is extremely valuable not just in our homes but also in our businesses.
How come? During the year when we focus on getting things done and often put down our head to work as efficiently and as effectively as possible to reach our goals there is little time for reflection and adjustments. While New Year seems to fit as a time for setting goals and getting lost in dreaming big, spring provides a good pitstop for evaluating what serves and is useful along the way…and what can and should be changed and abandoned so that we stay on track to accomplish our goals and honour our intentions.
Not stopping now to reflect can be like being so busy driving we don’t stop to look at the map and to refill gas. Not a good idea if there are important matters at stake. Especially, if the clock is ticking.
What does a business spring clean look like? Well, just like the one you do at home. Start looking at the different “things” present in your business, how they work and how well they serve you and other stakeholders. Under things, I mean structures, practices and people engaged at every level of the business.
Do you have structures – like working space, reporting, meetings or accountabilities – set in a way that supports the flow of business and fulfillment of the intentions that matter most? Or are they just sapping your energy and distracting you? Changing little things can go a long way.
Do you have as individuals, team and business a set of regular practices – habits – that allow for creativity to flourish, productivity be a norm and joy of work the everyday experience? Or do you indulge in good looking time wasters and collective addictions that feel great and accomplish little? Is the respect of everyones personal rhythm aligned with the business rhythm or do you just try hard and hope for the best? Or is email and the number of unread messages dictating your priorities?
Finally, are your people doing the work that fits them best and allows them to contribute most whilst developing and showing their natural talents? Or do you have problem finding a big enough carrot and hard enough stick to motivate them? Do your team members understand and are excited about the purpose – the why – of your organisation? Do they bring their passion to work? Or are they sticking around just for the next paycheck? People thrive and whither depending on the environment they have around themselves. Sometimes all that is needed is a little extra water, other times re-plating is required, and in some special cases weeding is the best solution for everyone.
I suggest you look well in the corners and under the carpet because that’s where both the most dirt and the most treasured valuables tend to hide. And then get the broom and start sweeping. It will take some time and effort. It may even whirl some dust. However, eventually you will benefit from a remarkably clean and clear space to think and act…and renewed energy to deliver the results you care about.
Simple, isn’t it? And rewarding, too. All you need to do is to start.