lick something into shape

lick (someone or something) into shape

To return someone or something into acceptable condition or behavior, especially through direct, efficient, and practical means. The president won the election on his promise to lick the economy into shape by overhauling outdated or inefficient legislation. What he really needs is a mentor who will lick him into shape.
See also: lick, shape

get/knock/lick somebody/something into ˈshape

make somebody/something more acceptable or organized; improve somebody/something: Do you think you can lick this company into shape?

lick something into shape

and whip something into shape
tv. to put something into good condition, possibly with considerable effort. I’ve got about two days more to lick this place into shape so I can sell it. Whip this manuscript into shape, then we’ll talk about publishing it.
See also: lick, shape, something