A Clean Sweep Day for Your Business

A company we know and respect has a little efficiency tradition we like – and want to clean sweep broomemulate ourselves.

Clean Sweep Day. Or maybe you call it Spring Cleaning.

No, this time we don’t mean the business-leader type of Spring Cleaning that’s also important – the kind that has to do with reviewing your strategic plan, your business finances, looking ahead to your next areas of growth, or even just cleaning up your attitudes and bad habits, etc. Those are a big deal, and important.

This is much more mundane. But pretty powerful as well.

This is about a once-a-year day that gets everybody in the company involved in sweeping out the (literal as well as figurative) cobwebs and the clutter.

Because when what’s in front of you and around you every day is only what you really need now, then both your mental and physical spaces offer room for clarity and focus. And aren’t clarity and focus essential for innovation and impact?

Our smart friends at XX Company schedule an annual Clean Sweep Day that is embraced enthusiastically – and even looked forward to – by people at every level of the company. They see it as a key factor in keeping the whole operation on track, in touch, and open to the next challenge.

Clean Sweep Day connects to their pride in the company and in the work each employee does there. It provides a collective as well as an individual boost.

Based on our friends’ practices, a few observations about making Clean Sweep Day work:

  1. Connect Clean Sweep Day to a meaningful date: the anniversary of the company’s founding, the day after Tax Day, the CEO’s birthday – whatever makes sense to you (and will be remembered!).
  2. Create lists in advance: every manager (with input from employees) prepares and prioritizes a list, before the day occurs, of what’s needed and who will be in charge of each item.
    1. Each employee has their own list, too – each person is responsible for their own area, along with any company-level items assigned by their manager
  3. Keep lists from year to year: cross off what’s not needed anymore, add new priorities, remind yourselves of the important tasks – no need to completely re-think it all each year
  4. Not sure what you might include? Here are some ideas:
    1. Review shared server files to check for items that should be archived/renamed/deleted/moved
    2. Review your web site. Check all pages to get rid of outdated or inaccurate content, be sure links all work correctly, photos and images are current, the site hasn’t gotten cluttered up over time, etc.
    3. File away (or store, or shred, or archive – as appropriate) paperwork that’s related to non-current projects
    4. Clean out your email. Much needs to be saved – but maybe not the lunch invitation from your brother-in-law, or the LinkedIn updates, or the employee newsletter that went to 243 people besides you
    5. Look critically at what’s sitting around. From old office supplies that will never really be used again (c’mon, be honest), to that chart or poster on the wall from 3 years ago, to the binder from a great workshop in 2004: what really matters most for you to have accessible and available now?
    6. Clean the fridge in the break room! (Well, it’s probably better to do this more than once a year….)

What would you add to the list?


About Paul Kirpes, TPG Companies

For over 35 years, Paul J. Kirpes, Founder and President of TPG Companies, has transformed businesses, corporations, communities, and ventures in the private and public sectors throughout the U.S. as well as internationally. Paul empowers companies, their owners, and leaders to Transform, Perform and Grow!
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