When I was managing for a large corporate coffee company we used to do “Clean Dirt Tours.” Store managers would get into groups of 3 or 4 and spend a day touring each other’s store. We would take notes, talk to partners, and look for all the areas that we would normally walk past and not see in the day to day.
Clean dirt can be hard to find. It is the little things that you walk by every day and either don’t notice or think “I need to fix that” only to set your stuff down and start dealing with the bigger issues facing you and your business right away. Squeaky doors or squeaky floors; smudges on windows and walls; a crooked picture, a saggy spider web, a task small task left undone, this is all the Clean Dirt we pass daily.
As staff and I work on the pending transition for the arrival of the new President/CEO my “Clean-Dirt-O-Meter” got reset and I find myself noticing little stuff about the building, the office, this file or that thing. Sometimes I feel a bit embarrassed thinking that why couldn’t I have caught this three years ago and fixed it then?
This is the same phenomena as when you might go to sell a house or a car. A little thing that you knew you always wanted to change or fix suddenly gets done because you’re going to put the item out to market. And when it’s done you kick yourself for 2 reasons: 1) That was not hard or expensive to do why did you wait so long? 2) Now that it’s done you rather like it and are proud of the work you did.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m rather sure I’m not. So as I get out my “Clean-Dirt-O-Meter” and continue doing those little things that make a big difference I encourage you to do the same. Make a list in your office of Clean Dirt, start conquering those one at a time, and you will love the way you feel. People will also notice either outwardly or at least subconsciously because you will project more pride in your business and they, along with your staff, will catch it. Now go forth and clean!