Is Your Team Due for a Spring Cleaning?

There’s something about “new.”  Somehow the idea of new gives energy, enthusiasm, focus.  Yet so often we find ourselves stuck in “old.”  Same job, same house, same routine.

Just as winter transitions to spring and the world outside renews itself, maybe it’s time to look at your leadership and your team and take a moment to renew, too.  Today we’ll look at four ways to do a team spring cleaning to renew, energize, and help you recapture that sense of “new.”

Team Spring Cleaning

Moving On

We’re moving.  After 10 years in Pennsylvania, it time to move on.  The kids have moved out, and we want to move closer to family in the Midwest.

In order for the move to happen, we have to sell the house.  So we’ve patched walls, painted rooms, and reduced clutter from top to bottom.  We have to make the place like new again so that it will be attractive to a buyer.

What’s been fun to see is the transformation that this process is having on us.  We find ourselves liking our place more and more.  It seems to shine again, feels cleaner, and that feeling motivates us to keep it that way.  The process seems to feed on itself.

It Made Sense at the Time

Over time we tend to collect things and adopt habits that help us get through the day-to-day.  Maybe we needed them at the time, but circumstances change.

Do we really still need a shoe rack for 20 pairs of shoes clogging the garage steps?
Can we thin out all the coats in the front closet so there’s room to breathe?
How many of those bikes hanging on the garage wall are we really going to use?

Just as the detritus of daily living can accumulate, so can the processes and procedures of our teams build up.  And while they may have been useful and sensible at the time, maybe it’s time for another look.

So, just like preparing a house for sale, maybe it’s time to do a little team spring cleaning to bring the shine back to your organization.  Here are a few ways to approach this idea.

Four Ways to Re-Look

Think “Buyer’s Perspective.”  That’s what our realtor suggested as we began this process.  Start by looking at everything through the eyes of someone who has never met your team before.

Imagine someone from a major business magazine is coming to write about your leadership “secrets” and what makes your team so successful.

Is what you are doing now what you want to show them?
What would you do differently?
What would you change to make sure the visit went well?

And remember, they’ll be interviewing your teammates – what do you hope they will say?

If someone interviews a teammate, what do you hope they'll say about you? Click To Tweet

Leverage “New Eyes.”  New people join teams all the time.  Why not take advantage of their “new eyes” to take a fresh look at how you operate.  When you first meet with them, tell them that you would like to hear their observations and impressions in 30 days.

They have the advantage of fresh perspective, so ask them what makes sense, what doesn’t.  Ask how what they have seen compares to their previous experience.  Take the time to really listen, and think about what they tell you.

You’ll learn a lot about them in the process, too, so don’t let them get away with a simple, “Everything’s awesome!”

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Question Everything.  Tell me again why we do it this way?  Those processes and habits probably made sense at the time you put them into place, but does the need still exist to keep doing it that way?  Is there a smarter way to accomplish the same thing?

Question everything.  Look at physical arrangements, meeting schedules and agendas, problem solving processes, standard procedures, and anything else that comes to mind.  Ask, “Why do we do it this way?” and then explore the implications of the answers you get.

If it still makes sense, great.  If not, maybe it’s time for an adjustment.

Model someone else’s success.  You may already be pretty successful as a team.  That doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels.  If you stop growing and learning, eventually someone will pass you by.

Identify other teams like yours.  Visit them, ask how they operate, examine their processes, physical layout, and problem solving techniques.  Think about adopting things they do that can work for you and your team.

If you stop learning, you stop growing, and eventually you will be passed. Click To Tweet

Team Spring Cleaning – The Takeaway

A little team spring cleaning is a great way to re-look what you do and how you do it.  When you adjust your habits, streamline activities, and confirm your processes, it will help give you a fresh perspective on your team and how it functions.

Just one caution here:  It’s best to do this as a team event so that everyone is on board and has the opportunity to contribute.

The goal is not to randomly kick over the apple cart just to shake things up, but to refresh and renew the working environment for everyone.  So gather the team, ask for input, pick a few things to focus on, set some goals, and go from there.

With a little spring cleaning, you can recapture that sense of new, and the cleaner the house, the easier it is to keep it that way.

Question: Where do you plan to start your team spring cleaning?

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About the Author: Ken Downer
Ken Downer - Founder RapidStart Leadership

Ken served for 26 years in the Infantry, retiring as a Colonel.  From leading patrols in the Korean DMZ, to parachuting into the jungles of Panama, to commanding a remote outpost on the Iran-Iraq border, he has learned a lot about leadership, and has a passion for sharing that knowledge with others.  Look for his weekly posts, check out his online courses, subscribe below, or simply connect, he loves to talk about this stuff.

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