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Kaizen for Your Goals, Part 1: Fashion Matters for Men at Work

Kaizen is about continuous improvement. Japanese automakers used this process to improve processes and most notably to steal market share from American automakers. Now I have created a series entitle Kaizen for Your Goals. It’s about continually improving yourself to make your goals a reality quicker and more effectively. Small steps now = big results later. Part 1 starts now.

Fashion Matters for Men at Work

You are what you wear. It may sound like I’m judging a book by its cover but that is what the majority of people do. People inherently make judgments right away about what and who you are all about. I say “you” because you ARE judged daily. Here’s a story to get you thinking.

suitA Tailored Suit v. Cowboy Boots

A graphic designer friend of mine came to me last week and said “I felt so awkward on the elevator today.” He went on to explain that the owner of the company, let’s call him Tom, got on the elevator with him and the two of them took it the 7 floors down to street level. Tom was wearing an impeccably tailored suit, had finely polished Italian leather shows, and a fine timepiece. My friend happened to be going to a ball game after work and decided to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and cowboy boots to work that day.  You can imagine his embarrassment. It was rare that he would run into Tom, let alone have solid time with just him in the elevator. You see, as much as we think it will save time to just wear “going out” clothes to work, it can be a very costly mistake for your future.

Look Better = Get Rewarded

When you look better, you feel more confident. When you feel more confident, you perform better. When you perform better, you get noticed. When you get noticed, you get rewarded.

I pride myself on how I dress. I started wearing ties to work because nobody else in my office was doing it anymore. Slowly more male co-workers started wearing more ties. To me I think of everyday as an interview. I always want to perform at the top of my skill level because you never know what may be presented to you in the moment. Dressing well increases your confidence. And don’t think people don’t notice. I was once sitting in a meeting and the Vice President called me out by saying, “Don always dresses well. He is a fine representation of the company.” Always dressing well assisted my efforts to shape the marketing the organization. I felt confident in what I was wearing and they, in turn, felt confident in me. Taking from the Vice President’s words, what you wear represents your company. I wouldn’t expect a clerk at my favorite surf shop in Hawaii to wear a suit. So dress for the environment but if you question it, it’s better to dress up than down.

It’s all in the Details

You don’t need to wear a tie or a dress to get noticed at work. What you should consider is to add details. Why do you think tie bars have become so popular among males again? Females have lots of options for accessories but males have let this slip over the years. Metro-sexual is a term that people have come up with for guys that actually care how they look. I don’t think it’s the correct term because it’s all part of being a gentleman. Focus on life’s details and pick up a copy of How to be a Gentlemen. I picked it up at Brooks Brothers over the summer and I highly recommend it. One or two nice details in your style makes a $10 shirt look like a thousand bucks. I am not a style expert by any sense of the term but I do suggest you find what suits your style and make it work, at work. How to be a Gentlemen doesn’t just focus on style but the total package. In the end, these details matter and its all part of the incremental approach to better yourself.

You ARE judged daily, as I said before. Think of each day like its your first day on the job. Read that last sentence again. And, the next time you think that you don’t need to do your hair or take the extra few minutes to press your shirt, think again. Everything matters down to the detail. Nobody is perfect but there is always something one can do to better his/herself. This is Kaizen for your goals – continuous improvement.

Do you have the drive to continually take small steps to make the most of your potential?

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