Chihuly glass sculptures make for great art and are a visual treat for the observers, but what about the person who has to clean them? This article describes the work of glass cleaner Dave Pugh, who meticulously and cautiously takes individual pieces off the stainless steel studs, labels them, wraps them, cleans them and returns them to their original position. It is work behind-the-scenes that few consider, but is essential to the on-going enjoyment of the sculptures.

It reminded me of a photograph of the National Park Service workers who are charged with maintaining the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Twice a year they do their work in the middle of the night, cleaning areas that would entropy without attention. Cleaning the monument involves power washing, steam-cleaning, dusting and hand-finishing of the marble and takes a crew seven hours to complete.

Photo by Terry Adams,
National Park Service

None of the back-of-the-house jobs are glamorous, but all of them are essential. It is work that makes the front-facing elements more enjoyable and maintains the quality instead of allowing it to diminish over time.

Think about what is in your organization that should be on an annual or semi-annual cleaning schedule. Is there an exhibit that is starting to look tired or displays that could benefit from a sprucing up? Do you have furniture that is used daily in your waiting room, but no one can remember when the upholstery was last washed? Have you left all of your outside cleaning to Mother Nature instead of tending to your windows, signs and bricks?

Physical assets may be low maintenance, but nothing is no maintenance. Include some elbow grease time on your annual planning calendar to keep the sparkle in your possessions.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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