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Give Your Business a Spring Cleaning

8 tips for clearing the clutter, streamlining your organization and giving it new life

Most people do spring cleaning around the house and the yard, but have you ever thought of trying it at work? Company leaders can pump new life into an organization by transferring this springtime routine to the workplace. Here are eight spring cleaning principles that can help your business:

  1. Clear out the clutter.
    Think about business activities that no longer add value to your organization. If products or services have outlived market demand, sweep them out. It may be a difficult decision, but clear the clutter and focus your business energy on what will be hot in the coming quarters.

    Take a quick inventory of the emotional baggage at work, too. There may be some things among your employees and colleagues that need to be dealt with for growth to occur. If mistakes have been made or goals haven't been met, one of the best ways to facilitate a fresh start is with a candid discussion. Then let the past be the past so there won't be any more distractions.
     
  2. Hire some help.
    If you're committed to a thorough cleaning, you may want to call in expert help to make sure nothing is overlooked. It's not unusual for people to hire housekeepers, tree-trimmers, landscapers and other service providers to enhance spring cleaning. In the business world, it's a good idea to bring in an objective third party to identify organizational clutter; hire an expert who has done the same for other companies.
     
  3. Repurpose things.
    Martha Stewart is an entrepreneur who has made a living out of turning old hats into centerpieces and broken chairs into plant holders. Apply this type of thinking to your employees. Some of them might be happier and more useful if you thought of a different way to leverage their talents.
     
  4. Dust off your mission statement.
    Evaluate whether your mission and vision still match your company's strategic goals given how much the markets have changed.
     
  5. Refresh your colors.
    There are dozens (seems like hundreds) of home design shows on TV, and most recommend repainting rooms to give them new appeal. Maybe your brand could use a new look to give it a fresh appeal to customers. Don't misunderstand--a brand is more than colors, shapes and logos. It represents your company's value proposition and the expectations customers have when they encounter your company. However, if your company has begun to serve new markets in new ways, maybe it's time to modernize the company's brand.
     
  6. Sharpen your tools.
    Lots of folks invade the garage in the spring to inspect the tools they use outdoors, and they usually find that the tools need sharpening. Spring may also be a good time for employees to review and sharpen their skills or learn new ones to improve work efficiency to last the rest of the year.
     
  7. Plant new flowers.
    With college graduation around the corner and an increasing number of businesses hiring again, think about how you can make your company more appealing to the best young job seekers entering the market. Many of these individuals, the "millennial" generation, are involved in social causes and often seek socially minded employers. If your company shares this commitment, try an innovative recruiting idea such as hosting a job day in conjunction with an employee-led food drive or community charity event, such as a Habitat for Humanity project. This approach gives current employees a chance to see if a candidate fits within your organization and vice versa.
     
  8. Post a "pardon the dust" sign.
    Anytime you start poking around the organization to improve it, employees will get nervous, especially in today's economy. If your purpose in auditing the business's operations is not to trim staff, reassure employees at the beginning of the process that you are on a mission to improve efficiency, not payroll. Then roll up your sleeves.

Organizational spring cleaning may not be an annual event, but each spring can serve as a reminder to look for ways to make your organization more effective.

Paul Spiegelman is the chief culture officer at Stericycle and founder and former CEO of BerylHealth. He also co-founded the Small Giants Community with Inc. editor-at-large Bo Burlingham. He is an entrepreneur-in-eesidence for Office Depot’s Small Biz Club.com. 

 

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