Spring Cleaning at Work: Kondo-style

Summer is on the way, and it’s time to dust off the outdoor furniture, power clean the deck and clean out your closet.  I’ve gotten to thinking recently about what dusting off and cleaning out really means.  Personally, I’m not so good at the cleaning out.  And with “tidying experts” like Marie Kondo gaining celebrity status, it appears I’m not alone.  Why is it so hard to get rid of the things that surround us, even if they aren’t relevant any longer? Why do we keep wearing the jeans that don’t fit quite right or brushing past the tower of Benneton sweaters instead of replacing them with things that work better?

We do this in business as well. It’s just as important to take stock of the marketing arsenal from time to time and throw out some old tactics that just aren’t relevant any longer. Again, something many of the folks we work with have a tough time doing.  So how do we go about making some changes?  Following are a few tips from the maven Kondo herself, taken from her list of daily habits:

  1. Let in Fresh Air:  Kondo advised to open the windows each morning to let the fresh air and sunshine into your home. This is a great practice to consider for our marketing plans as well.  Maybe not every day, but say every quarter, open up those documents and run them by some team members who aren’t directly related to the business or project.  Let them shine some of their perspective onto the ideas and see what fresh thoughts they can bring to the table.
  2. Get Ready and Get Dressed:  Taken literally, this one doesn’t necessarily apply. But consider it this way:  when we are working with clients or colleagues a long time, we tend to let our professional guards down as we become more comfortable in the relationships.  If we want the relationships to last, we need to keep working for them. That means challenging ourselves to bring our A games to every task. Don’t keep bringing out the same ideas and suggesting they be facilitated in the same way. Keep up with industry trends, and on top of what your competitors are doing.  A great way to incorporate this is to pick a day each week and pretend that every task is being graded.  Then, honestly assess your performance. Was that the most creative I could be? Did I consider the ideas from every possible perspective? Did I speak up enough in that meeting?  Just being aware can make a big difference!
  3. Put Things Back in Place:  Kondo spends 10 minutes at the end of each evening putting all of the items in her home back where they belong.  When she wakes up in the morning, she is greeted with an organized, uncluttered space in which to flourish.  Things get out of place often in our professional worlds.  Typically, we start out the year with a plan that has a series of tactics strategically assigned to a timeline. But as situational changes take place, whether they be a shift in company direction or a major market fluctuation, that timeline will need to be adjusted. Flexibility is a necessary (and smart!) way to do business in the 21st Century, but also a common way to get off track.  Remember to pull out that plan and adjust it every few months by putting things back where they belong, with new timing and tactics that still track to established goals.  Then your work will have an organized, uncluttered space in which to flourish, too!

Have any additional tips for us and our readers? Please share in the comments section below!

Liz Feldman

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