Apply the dumpster principle to eliminate the waste in your internal communication program


Ever do a home renovation project requiring a dumpster? Assuming there’s room, most contractors will let you use the dumpster to throw out junk that’s been cluttering up your basement, attic, garage and closets. (After all, you’re paying for it.)

That’s just how I spent last weekend. A dumpster was delivered to my driveway as part of a major kitchen renovation project. So I used the opportunity to get rid of anything that should have gone a long time ago, including a 15-year-old bicycle with flat tires, unused gardening tools and a broken boogie board.

Chances are, your employee communication channels are suffering from the same kind of clutter that I encountered in my basement. You’ve got old content. Broken links. And a lot of stuff that may still work (hello, ice cream maker) but nobody ever uses.

That’s why I advocate using the “dumpster principle” as part of a process to streamline communication. At least once a year, you and your team should take a close look at key channels—at least the newsletter and intranet—and analyze content based on these criteria:

  • Is content outdated? For example, is there a good reason to archive articles from 2002 or could they simply be tossed?
  • Are you producing content that few people read? A client of mine discovered that articles about marketing efforts in small regions were a lot of work to produce but only got 12 or 15 page views. The client decided to consolidate those separate pieces into an occasional roundup article. The result: less work, better results.
  • Is your space too cluttered? Reorganization only goes so far; at a certain point, you need to get rid of stuff to give the valuable content room to breathe.

You get the idea: In our information-overloaded environment, you must be disciplined about cleaning up and clearing out. Let the dumpster be your inspiration.

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