August 17, 2017

Time to Let Go of Your Old Marketing “Junk”!

I recently went through the process of moving.  I’m sure that many of you would agree that the moving process is not fun.  What made this endeavor even worse was that I realized how much unnecessary stuff I had accumulated over the last few years – things that I hadn’t used in a very long time.

After the move was complete and I returned to work on Monday, I drew the parallel that companies similarly can accumulate old and outdated “stuff” that once served them well but no longer have relevance in the present day.  These might be workarounds, quick fixes, or even well thought out processes that were put in place years ago but no longer serve the organization today.  Companies evolve, grow, pivot, etc. – whatever the reason is, these solutions, while successful in the past, now weigh down the company in inefficiencies.

Time to clean

There I am standing in my new place looking around at all my belongings not knowing where to start putting things away.  The easy solution is to find a couple boxes, throw the junk in there, and place it in the back of a lightly trafficked closet.  For some reason, this seemed like a waste of an opportunity to relieve myself from the shackles of “stuff.” I didn’t want to clutter a new home with things that I’m just going stumble across the next time I move.  Instead, I decided to do a thorough assessment of all my belongings and get rid of the things I no longer use (I wish I had done this BEFORE making trips back and forth and moving boxes).

Similarly, your company shouldn’t keep old processes in place when they are no longer serving the company effectively.  It is a great idea to take a step back, assess where inefficiencies lie, and get rid of things that are weighing you down today and will inhibit growth into the future – this is streamlining.  Furthermore, doing this BEFORE you take on a large initiative – like adopting a new software system, org structure, or process – will make the transition that much easier.

Build a strong foundation

Now that I had gotten rid of the things I didn’t need, I felt much better about my starting point.  I knew what I had and where I wanted everything to go.  With significantly less clutter, I felt that everything remaining had a purpose.  This is the starting point that I want for my new home.

Once you identify inefficiencies from the past and remove them, you will have more time and energy to tackle new and, potentially, very important things that are pressing matters to your company.  Freeing yourself from unnecessary and unproductive practices will allow you a clean starting point from which to build.  It is also likely that there are some pieces that you can’t definitively say are either essential or not, and its okay to keep them – with your new streamlined process, you will have greater clarity to assess whether these things really are important and will provide value moving forward.

Don’t forget your annual cleaning

So, what did I learn from all of this?  I need to do my spring cleaning!  Rather than looking around at all my stuff that had accumulated over the last four years in bewilderment, I could have made my life much simpler by purging the non-essentials once a year and not gotten caught off guard.  Be proactive, not reactive.

Plan a regular cleaning – schedule periodic assessments of your operations on a consistent basis and stick to them!  Taking a few days or a week each year (or whatever period you decide) to assess, clean, and establish updated procedure can save you immeasurable time, effort, and sanity down the line.  Otherwise, you could be weighed down by old and irrelevant inefficiencies and not even know it.  Taking the time for “cleaning” your organization may seem like a lot of effort when the things you do today are working, but how much time are you currently spending doing unnecessary or outdated work? And how much value could you be creating with this time if you were freed from it?