Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
1/3/2014
09:06 AM
Bennett Quillen
Bennett Quillen
Commentary
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Do Your Employees Dress For Failure?

Sloppy writing, attire, and overall comportment reflect poorly on an organization's people and work ethic. Demand better.

A major management recruiting company recently conducted a survey of its clients and discovered that most job applicants aren't qualified for supervisory and middle management positions.

The reasons have nothing to do with deficiencies in intelligence or lack of educational degrees. They were found to be unqualified because of their poor attitudes, sense of entitlement, lack of ambition, poor interactive skills, poor appearance, and lack of education in the fundamentals of writing, speaking, and logical thinking.

This sad state of affairs brought to mind the beginning of my career. More than 40 years ago, I was hired for the data processing department of a large, well-known engineering firm, CF Braun & Co., located in Alhambra, Calif. The job wasn't particularly exciting or unusual: programming in COBOL and Fortran. What was unusual was how this company went about training its staff.

Men were to exhibit good manners and ambition. We were also required to wear suits and ties, even encouraged to wear hats. The company reciprocated by providing private offices for everyone, literally everyone. All offices were carpeted and included a glass-paneled wooden door, handsome wooden desk, chairs, clothes closet, built-in wooden filing cabinets, and a coat stand. Our desks were expected to be uncluttered. If we left papers out after hours, the night staff promptly swept them into the trashcan.

Founder Carl F. Braun considered it essential that every engineer in his company possess the skills of good communication and writing and proper deportment. He wrote four books, all 5 x 8 inches in bright red cloth binding, for all employees to read: Presentation for Engineers and Industrialists, Corporate Correspondence, Fair Thought and Speech, and Letter Writing in Action.

CF Braun also provided weekly luncheon lectures on a wide range of subjects, most of which related to engineering, scientific research, and how to improve writing and presentation skills.

[Business jargon must go. See Stop Butchering The English Language.]

Some may think that his attitude was one of a patriarch and autocrat. Perhaps, but it produced an efficient, well-run organization with high employee morale. Some years ago, the family sold the company, but there's still an enthusiastic group of former employees who refer to themselves as CF Braun alumni.

The other day I happened upon my editions of a couple of those books and glanced through them. It would be well if we applied his admonitions in American business today. Consider just a few of the chapter headings in Fair Thought and Speech: Don't Act Superior; Don't Be Too Positive; Don't Be Unfair; Don't Bluff; Don't Carry Tales; Don't Snap, Don't Scowl.

As I opened another one of his volumes, Letter Writing in Action, I was struck by how much of an impact it had made upon my writing style, without my even being aware of it. For example, Braun stated: "If now our letters fall short either as tools of thinking or as tools of communicating, they are just so much sand in the wheels of our common effort. Ill judgments, misunderstandings, ruffled tempers, ill will, and frustration -- these are the fruits of careless writing."

He insisted on balanced and uniform paragraphs and avoiding (where possible) the use of colons, semi-colons, and dashes. (I can see from above that I have committed some errors!) He called for keeping sentences short and using words of everyday speech. His most important punctuation mark was the period: "Here in the period, we have the king of marks."

There's more behind Braun's rules of conduct than proper letter and report writing. His insistence on men wearing suits wasn't some tyrannical edict. It was to present confident, knowledgeable engineers. The lesson of Braun's teachings: Deportment and communication relate directly to productivity.

In today's almost-anything-goes work we need to once again set a dress code for men: suits and ties, blazers and chinos at a minimum, certainly not jeans, shorts, polos, or flip-flops. As an aside, I was recently a consultant in a client's operations center. Most of those staffers wore shorts, flip-flops, and T-shirts -- and they worked lackadaisically and haphazardly.

I'm specifically avoiding any comment on a ladies' dress code, as therein lays a minefield.

I know all the opposition arguments: We don't deal with customers face-to-face, so we should be able to dress casually. Well, your colleagues are your customers, too. And it's proven that proper deportment begets high productivity.

So, forward with proper English usage, polished letter writing, and suits with white shirts (occasionally blue).

What do you think? Am I stuck in a bygone era, or is there a crying need to improve today's professional standards? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. I'll be sure to weigh in.

Bennett Quillen, a former CIO for a leading mutual fund processing firm, advises financial institutions on project management and technology, specializing in system evaluation, development, conversions, and security and compliance management.

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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 10:36:40 AM
Suits Don't Equal Success
I am going to respectfully disagree with Bennett. The picture he paints sounds like the world of Don Draper, long gone. I applaud his former employer's effort to help employees communicate wisely and treat each other with respect, but I don't think making people wear suits will create better business results. While some degree of professionalism must be retained (think neat, not slobby,) many IT pros and other line of business execs lead their organizations skillfully while wearing jeans.

I just worked with a diverse team that included IT, editorial and business execs to relaunch this site and we were all in different geographies, many of us working at home. What we wore never entered into our results. Treating each other with respect mattered greatly. Who wants to go back to the days of dress dictates? Not me.    
bquillen280
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bquillen280,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2014 | 10:49:09 AM
Re: Suits Don't Equal Success
Laurianne,

I respect your opinion and certainly concur that suits are not necessary for remote workers.  But, within an office environment, I feel that ties and at least blazers for men set a tone that begets respect, and in turn, productivity. 

Of course, I attended a college where ties and jackets were required for class. What I see on college campuses today are appalling. 

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 11:04:41 AM
Re: Suits Don't Equal Success
It's all about flexibility. I have worked in offices dominated by jeans and offices that dressed a bit more formally. You're right that leaders need to set a tone in an office, I just think they can do it without wearing jackets. The actions often speak louder than the wardrobe.

 
Jack1957
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Jack1957,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 2:00:49 PM
Re: Suits Don't Equal Success
My company has gone to casual dress but my team still wear coats and ties. I feel it is much more professional and appropriate. We do deal with outside vendors but in fact dress better than the vendors. Other areas wear jeans and sneakers and I feel that is unprofessional in a modern work environment.
gmtrmt
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gmtrmt,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 10:06:27 AM
smart casual is smart business
At present we have to wear smart shirts, shoes and trousers for work. Its not comfortable but the Directors believe it makes us act more professionally (the sales team are obviously excempt from this lol) having previously worked in a creative business we were encouraged to wear our best casual clothes which i think worked a lot better as you felt smart as opposed to sticking on a cheap shirt and bargain basement trousers and shoes as  I currently am. I understand that many people can not afford the latest fashion however even the most lowly apprentice is capable of putting together a great smart casual outfit.
IMjustinkern
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IMjustinkern,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2014 | 11:12:53 AM
Re: Suits Don't Equal Success
I fail to see how putting on a tie makes someone a better writer (and thus, leads to sharper business acumen). 
Ariella
IW Pick
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 11:31:04 AM
Re: Suits Don't Equal Success
Dress codes vary widely. I remember going to one place that specified that, while they were casual dress, they drew the line at ripped jeans and tank tops. The bank I currently use seems to have a fairly flexible dress code, and some of the women wear sleeveless tops, but one of the tellers said they were considering an incentive plan with a kind of uniform. The local Chase bank has a uniform in place with its signature blue color mandated for tops. Does it run better as a result? I don't know, but I suppose people expect a certain standard for banks, which are traditionally conservative institutions. 
keitha0000
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keitha0000,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2014 | 12:50:15 PM
Re: Suits Don't Equal Success
Clearly it doesn't. The point is that all of thgese things taken together would improve things. Maybe the suit and the hat are out of time, but shirts and ties with dockers wouldn't be a catastrophe. What's wrong with respecting the workplace?
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 10:38:51 AM
Old School
The ship has sailed on wearing suits at work, outside specific kinds of companies, roles, and occasions. That requirement wouldn't make my work environment any more productive; it would just be odd. However, both intra- and inter-company communications need a substantial upgrade. People don't take the time to write clearly and concisely. More problematic, they don't take the time to read and listen. 
bquillen280
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bquillen280,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2014 | 10:59:24 AM
Re: Old School
Rob,

I definitely agree with your last two statements: "People don't take the time to write clearly and concisely. More problematic, they don't take the time to read and listen."

But, I also think that requiring gentlemen to wear at least blazers and ties would improve the tone of an office environment.  I have had people tell me how much they appreciate a man wearing a tie, as it shows respect for them; it actually gives them a bit of a lift for the day.

So, I say break out your ties -- long or bow (but not clip on!) -- and see what the reaction is at your office.

Bennett

 

 

 

 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 11:34:40 AM
Re: Old School
@Bennett "Men were to exhibit good manners and ambition. We were also required to wear suits and ties, even encouraged to wear hats." Now that makes me think of old movies and novels set in the 30s-50s. . Supposedly JFK set the trend for leaving hats off altogether. But the thing about men's hats was that they were supposed to be worn outside and then taken off inside; not doing so was considered a breach of manners. Women, on the other hand, could keep their hats on in a restaurant, though they likely took them off for work if they were secretaries.
bquillen280
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bquillen280,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2014 | 11:39:08 AM
Re: Old School
Ariella,

Ah yes, men's hats should be removed once in a building and certainly in an elevator with ladies present.  I have three fur fedoras -- fur, not wool, mind you, and two straw hats for spring and summer.  My clients in Bermuda and Charleston, SC, seem to appreciate them.  Bennett
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 1:47:01 PM
Re: Old School
I recently decided to bring a pile of suits to a trade show (Interop) instead of the usual drill of deciding if dark jeans and a blouse or dress pants and sweater were the best choice. It was remarkably freeing to select a suit and shell and go. Now, I saw very few men in suits at the show  -- I think women can dress a suit down with a less fancy top. And ties seem like a form of torture.

In some sense, a suit *is* a uniform, and anyone who has worn a uniform knows, it's often a good feeling to have that decision and worry about fitting in removed.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 12:16:10 PM
Suit and tie of the mind
I think you are stuck in a bygone era, but that doesn't mean your tips aren't still important. I agree with your emphasis on clear communication and a good attitude. Who would argue against that? And sometimes the clothes you wear can make you feel more focused and confident. But a suit and tie? It's overkill and archaic and strange. People would think you're either stubbornly stuck in the past or trying to be ironic. A fleet of suits woud also be a creepy return to the "man in the gray flannel suit" era of bland conformity. We've come too far for that.
Yet I also agree that shorts and flip flops are sloppy and give the appearance that you aren't taking work seriously. I vote for a middle ground of presentable/business casual, depending on your role. But you should always keep your mind as sharp as a suit and tie, even if you're wearing a t-shirt. :)
ANON1248718267483
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ANON1248718267483,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 12:57:00 PM
Re: Suit and tie of the mind
Shane has valid points in his suit and tie of the mind" critique but they are for personal use. The original article is about establishing a "culture" for an entire workplace. If enough individuals adopt communication skills, cooperation, and enthusiasm for work, a culture can evolve that does not involve a dress code. However, ut will develop slowly. A dress code does set an observable minimum of professional appearance that may inspire more positive focus on work. Or not. It can be a unifying force to create a feeling of community. I worked at a bank for seven years where the employees had a committee to select uniforms. Twice a year the bank purchased a new uniform for all employees from Management to the Tellers. It gave a uniform appearance to the staff and was seen as a benefit, not a cost, to the employees. You can't do it everywhere, however. If you are in a small organization where everybody in IT may still crawl under desks, suit pants are a disadvantage.

Still, Think suit and tie as you work. Appear professional no matter what your garb is.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/3/2014 | 12:32:19 PM
Dressing for success?
I think there's a good argument for dressing professionally (neatly, respectfully) when you're meeting with clients -- and even around the office -- but coats and ties are relics of a bygone era.  I have a closet full of expensive suits I once wore proudly, but would now feel almost silly wearing at most business gatherings. And now that so many of us work online,  I'm reminded of Peter Steiner's famous cartoon: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" (The New Yorker. (Volume 69, No. 20, pg. 60). In that instance, dressing for success mostly means dressing for comfort.
On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2014 | 7:01:54 PM
Re: Dressing for success?
@WKash... Great point... There is a time and place for dressing professionally. Certainly if you do work from home there is no need but if you are meeting clients then yes.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 8:47:43 AM
Re: Dressing for success?
PaulS681, I couldn't agree more when it comes to meeting clients.  Non verbal communications almost always outweighs verbal communication. I still believe showing respect is a critical component of getting things accomplished with others.  How you dress is a reflection of your respect for others. 
norris1231
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norris1231,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 12:33:59 AM
Re: Dressing for success?
I agree with your comment.  How you dress shows your respect for yourself and others.  The non-verbal cues matter a lot more than many individuals believe.  You are being watched at all times, from the way you talk to the way you walk.
norris1231
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norris1231,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 12:37:20 AM
Re: Dressing for success?
@Pauls61. I agree there is a time and a place for best dress; It depends on the situation, location, and scedule for the day/week.  The bottom-line is that all individuals must focus on looking presentable at all times.
rmerrill53701
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rmerrill53701,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 1:01:26 PM
What about the rest of it?
All of culture has changed, including that of business.

It fascinates me how everyone has focused on attire. I admit, that was the subject line, but how about some of the other things:

The company reciprocated by providing private offices for everyone, literally everyone. All offices were carpeted and included a glass-paneled wooden door, handsome wooden desk, chairs, clothes closet, built-in wooden filing cabinets, and a coat stand.

Fair Thought and Speech:Don't Act Superior; Don't Be Too Positive; Don't Be Unfair; Don't Bluff; Don't Carry Tales; Don't Snap, Don't Scowl.

If now our letters fall short either as tools of thinking or as tools of communicating, they are just so much sand in the wheels of our common effort. Ill judgments, misunderstandings, ruffled tempers, ill will, and frustration -- these are the fruits of careless writing."

As far as "sense of entitlement," I wonder if the new hires at CF Braun just expected, like they expected the sun to come up the next day, that if they worked hard and kept their noses clean, that they could retire from CF Braun, with a pension.

 
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 4:42:16 PM
Re: What about the rest of it?
That's the part that grabbed my attention too.

An office for everyone?

Frequent sessions on how to be a better engineer?

Publications on effective communication?

These things are viewed as nothing more than red numbers in a spreadsheet now. I wonder if it is a coincidence that so many employers are screaming about a lack of qualified applicants.

 
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
1/3/2014 | 2:49:04 PM
There is something to be said for formality
If nothing else, when you dress up, you're signalling that what you're doing is important.  Our culture has grown increasingly casual, and while I like working in a casual office, I'm not at all certain I would want politicians or corporate executives to wear T-shirts and jeans on the job.

And it really doesn't hurt for ladies and gentlemen to dress as such.

 
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
1/3/2014 | 5:15:32 PM
Men Only?
"Men were to exhibit good manners and ambition."

Ah, yes! I do remember those days. The women, on the other hand, were to remain at their desks behind their IBM Selectrics outside those furnished offices.

Men used to wear jackets, ties, and hats when attending sporting events, too.

Sorry, but wearing a suit these days in our profession usually means you're either there for an interview or will be going to a mid-day funeral.

Good writing, however, doesn't go out of fashion. My colleagues, men and women, write just as well now as they did decades ago. Of course, there are... and always were... the exceptions.
TechNoSeattle
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TechNoSeattle,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/3/2014 | 6:57:56 PM
Mixed Feelings
I joined JP Morgan out of college in 1987.  Dark suits, white shirts and power ties were the order of the day.  We received intensive training in computers (the IBM AT came out that year, the MAC was three years old), public speaking and most importantly, written communications.  Everything I wrote was edited three or four times for brevity before being considered "final".

Of all of these, good writing and the ability to express my ideas proved the most valuable lessons I learned.  I stopped wearing suits to work 20 years ago, and even though my business now is servicing ultra high net worth individuals, our dress is business casual and ties are distinctly out of place.

I've come to feel that offices are anachronisms that tend to divide employees.  They've become less and less relevant in an age where information sharing and collaboration are critical.  If you want privacy, duck into a conference room.

The "manuals" you reference sound somewhat prescriptive in this day and age, but they touch on an important point; employee success is about setting clear expectations, and then having a culture that doesn't tolerate compromise.  I've found that managing by exception works best here.

 
norris1231
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norris1231,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 12:14:53 AM
Re: Mixed Feelings
@ TechNoSeattle. I strongly believe that many corporations changed the way people develop when they eradicated the suit and tie concept.  The business casual concept started several years ago when the economy went south.  Relaxed dressing became popular in an effort to accommodate employees and increase attitudes.  However, in my opinion dressing is part of a successful corporation.  Not only did the ties disappear, the additional training classes that many corporations provided also disappeared.  Corporations do not send their employees to classes to improve their managerial skills.  Most training today is conducted by CPT.  Basic skills such as writing, speech, and presentation skills should be at the utmost importance.  However, today those skills are not being trained like they were in the past.  Is it because of the eradicated power suits and ties or is it because of the disappearance of the power-suits?
TechNoSeattle
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TechNoSeattle,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 12:25:38 PM
Re: Mixed Feelings
Norris1231, I just don't think there's any causality between attire and training.  Attire is changing because tastes are changing, in the 70s seeing a guy with a moustache and sideburns was unremarkable; today Will Ferrell makes millions satirizing it.  IMHO, the emphasis on training is going down because the emphasis on people is going down, we've convinced ourselves that investment in people is not "cost-effective" in the same way investments in capital improvements and technology appear to be.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/7/2014 | 5:18:36 PM
Re: Mixed Feelings
I think that lack of investment in people is so true -- employers seem to feel that if they pay for training, empoyees will then use those skills to find new gigs. And that may be true in some cases, but it seems like if a company treats its people well, there is still some loyalty left in the world.
norris1231
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norris1231,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/18/2014 | 9:34:58 PM
Re: Mixed Feelings
@GM. You make a very good point.  Companies have changed their requirement, but we can also agree to disagree.  I believe as a business man or woman you should fit the part.  One who has a B.A., Masters, or even a Doctoral degree should look, act, and talk the part.  Dressing says a lot about a person and in my opinion makes a strong judgment of their character.
MichaelC343
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MichaelC343,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/5/2014 | 4:59:37 PM
Attire, Communcations & Respect
Glad to see all the positive comments. Don't get hung up on suits, ties, etc.  Take the message as a whole, (including that management cared enough to meet with everyone weekly!).  Most agreed with the communications and respect pieces.  Our company, like many did away with Casual Friday, and issued guidelines overall (not suits) as all attire had digressed to an inappropriate state for the office.  The changes did result in a more serious (and productive) tone for work.

Personally, I think IM and Texting habits have bled over to email - in a negative way.  With too many typos, often I am left trying to understand what the sender meant.  Many people don't even re-read or proof their emails before hitting SEND.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2014 | 6:54:49 PM
Sloppy writing
 One of the most annoying things to me is typos in email. I am not the best speller but that's why I use spellcheck. Even when I do these posts I copy and paste them into word to check my spelling. No one has any excuse to misspell anymore. Sure, a few may get by but on the whole you can get most typos and correct them. When there is an email that is littered with poor grammar and bad spelling that is just being lazy and doesn't reflect well on the sender. If it's an external email it reflects poorly on the company. Anytime you send an email, internal or external, you are representing the company.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 9:14:26 AM
Re: Sloppy writing
PaulS681 -- I second this (though as a writer and reporter, this likely bothers me more than it may others). You represent your company  through words as much as you do your attire.
efemera
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efemera,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/6/2014 | 2:58:23 AM
some implementation details
Clear communication trumps. Suits aside, here are some things to keep in mind when negotiating improvements in communication:

 

Many brilliant engineers are dyslexic.

Many brilliant engineers do not speak English as their first language.

Many brilliant engineers are not brilliant writers.

 

I can't tell you the number of brilliant architectures I've seen littered with typos in the comments and run-on sentences in the docs. I can't tell you the number of sloppily dressed engineers I've worked with who had more respect for humanity in their little finger than the entire well-heeled sales department. I agree that we need better comportment in industry, but disagree with the importance of the trappings of social class. Dignity won't be won by putting on suits and speaking in formal English.
virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 3:47:38 AM
Re: some implementation details
To our success, education on which we spend min 18years, contribute only 15% 
and our Attitude contributes 85%. I guess this is enough to understand our
homework on dressing and presentation.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 9:03:17 AM
Re: some implementation details
It's a fair point, efemera, and one I hadn't considered. Of course we need to make accommodations for those whose first language isn't English. As for attire, most of us could do better.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 9:32:02 AM
Re: some implementation details
@Rob... Great point about people that English is a 2nd language to. English is one of the most complex crazy languages when it comes to grammar and spelling rules.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 10:29:14 AM
Re: some implementation details
Efemera, I think you hit the nail right on the head with your comment. Clarity of communication and quality of work is what really counts, and the way employees dress -- especially as companies become more and more virtual and global -- matters far less than it may have at any other time. I believe that companies that encourage workers to express their individuality (within respectful perameters, of course) are actually far more productive and innovative.
norris1231
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norris1231,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 12:29:40 AM
Re: some implementation details
I agree with you both that clarity of communication and quality of work does matter.  However, when one dresses-to-impress, quality of work will increase, communication will increase, and overall job performance will increase.  When one dresses good, he and/or she feel good and performances good.  Relaxed dressing should be a privilege on certain days.  It truly bothers me to see a member of my team or another department employee dress poorly.  It places a black-eye on the entire organization.  Reference :http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/looks-matter-men/

 
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
1/7/2014 | 9:52:29 AM
Re: some implementation details
Norris, I must respectfully disagree with you. Whikle it's true that dressing up may help some people feel better and be more productive, that is in no way true of all employees. And forcing them all to dress in any specific way is conformist and pretty archaic, if you ask me. I know lots of men (whom I am singling out beciuase you posted the link to men's style) who are very successful and don't dress particularly well at all. I like to think that as a society we have progressed beyond that kind of shallowness.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 1:06:16 PM
Re: some implementation details
Shallowness. Excellent choice of words. Looking like you should know what you are doing and actually being good at what you do are two different things.

Unless you face external customers who actually drive your revenue, who may just be shallow but you'll still take their money, dress should be irrelevant. I can talk to an IT person for 10 minutes and tell you if he is any good, even if he is sitting in his (or her) underwear.

Now communication skills, that is a whole different ballgame. That is a critical skill in IT. And pretty much any other job unless you are a low level, head down data entry type person. For example, whether my A/P clerk has communication skills is probably not relevant. But funny thing is, most of them are fine communicators anyway. :-)
mferrari123
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mferrari123,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 7:56:50 PM
Re: some implementation details
I completely agree. My grandfather, a respected doctor told me that wearing a tie and a suite to work and being presentable is a way to demonstrate respect for others in a business environment. 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/8/2014 | 1:30:41 PM
Re: some implementation details
This certainly a discussion where no opinion is wrong but I don't get the connection to showing respect for others. If I'm wearing a $1000 tailored Armeni suit and silk tie and you are in your $150 JC Penny special, does that really make you feel good about yourself? The CEO and lowest clerk look the same in a pair of jeans and a polo shirt. Which is why the CEO's are the last to want dress up era to end. How else is anyone going to look at them and know they are important?

Do you think your granddad was respected doctor because he dressed nicely or was a really good doctor? I highly suspect the latter. It is very unusual to see a doctor in a suit and tie today. In his day, perfectly normal.
norris1231
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norris1231,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/18/2014 | 9:46:30 PM
Re: some implementation details
@TerryB. I don't think a price tag can be placed on dressing neat and professionally.  One can take a cheap pair of pants from Wal-Mart and a nice dress shirt and look professional.  I strongly believe that one should not be allowed to wear jeans to a Fortune 500 company.  I do not believe tie's are necessary.  "Most people make initial decisions about you in the first five minutes they meet you. " (Career builder (2013) website: http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-929-The-Workplace-Do-You-Dress-for-Success/).  The way you dress might make a difference if your even considered for the next promotion or if your superiors even take you seriously.  This concept is directed towards professional careers.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
1/20/2014 | 10:14:19 AM
Re: some implementation details
I don't disagree a bit with you that many people you do not know will make superficial judgements about you, much of that based on how you look. I would not wear a hoodie and sweatpants even to a job interview at Facebook, even though the founder dresses that way. If it is important to you what people you do not know think about you, by all means they should follow your advice.

My points are directed towards already having a job. And I'll leave Fortune 500 out of this, those companies are so big you know people just about as well as the people you see in a New York subway station. You are constantly making a first impression in a place like that, along with dealing with constant politics and CYA behavior. You better "play the game" if you want to work in place like that, and your advice is something you have to do if you goal is to rise thru the ranks. Heck, since many of them throw out the 10% they don't like every year, you better do it to survive.

But for the rest of us who work at SMB, who our coworkers become like family, this dress up idea is senseless. It has nothing to do with being "professional". I design systems and write code for a living, I guarantee you I'm as professional at that as anyone you will ever meet. But you can't convince me how I dress has anything to do with that. If my applications work and make my coworkers jobs easier and more efficient, make our company easier for our external customers to do business with, no one cares that I get that done in jeans and t-shirt. This is a forum for IT people, not salesmen and HR.
Todder
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Todder,
User Rank: Moderator
1/7/2014 | 4:56:39 PM
Re: some implementation details
Communication skills are declining in new grads because 2ndary education is failing us. The pressure to pump out srtudents is systemic in North America. Add in the social network and media which pervades most under-30 lives and it exacerbates the shortage of skill. U-30s live in a tweet world. Short bursts, phasors on stunned. I've reocgnized the poor knitting of words, sentences, paragraphs in my own kids and others.

Attention spans are minimal. The art of conversation (which leads to more enlightened writing) is pretty much absent now a days. Go to any restaurant for business or family meal, and watch the dynamic. Texting is short-burst comms, it prevails.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
1/9/2014 | 2:00:44 PM
Re: some implementation details
Let me just put in a good word for today's young people. From my experience, they have a lot more on the ball than my generation did at the same age. They're more aware and less prone to doing truly stupid things. They're kinder, more respectful. I do find that they're less independent--the victims of too much Mommying and Daddying. Generalizations such as those are always prone to criticism...just my limited observations. I wish I was as "together" in my late teens as my sons are.
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