Do you need to clean out your organizational closets?

Closets are where we store useful things. But they also tend to accumulate items that no longer provide value.

I’m having new flooring put in on the second floor of my house, which requires that I empty all seven closets. It’s been quite a task, full of mysteries and memories.  I made many trips to the local thrift shop with donations. There were a few wonderful finds, too. But mostly, I rediscovered things that had been useful at one time, but no longer provided value. I’d been holding onto them because they were out of sight and out of mind. Or because they’d been important at one time, and might be useful again (haha).

Your organization may have physical closets that could use a bit of a clean out….but your metaphorical closets probably need attention, too. Over time, organizations accumulate policies, habits, and beliefs. Once put in place, they often don’t get much thought. They’re just there, part of the background, still influencing current actions. Maybe still useful, maybe not.

Some examples:

  • Attendance policies that don’t reflect the realities of remote and hybrid work, or workers’ desire for flexibility. 
  • Beliefs about motivation that rely on extrinsic rewards–or punishment.
  • Job descriptions that emphasize individual work, and don’t account for highly collaborative, interdependent work. 

Such things take up time and mental space. They shape patterns of behavior. They can create confusion and cynicism, especially when policies or beliefs are in conflict with each other or the realities work and work life. 

So what’s in your organizational closet?  What is your organization holding on to that needs to go to be retired or updated?

Ladies ballroom dance shoe with rhinestones.
Ladies smooth ballroom shoe. Time for this to go!

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