Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 88 – Beards, Sneakers, Hoodies

Dear Leaders, I trust you have had a productive week. Today I have a timeline for you to consider.

2005: In 2005 I was invited to be interviewed for a project manager role, the role was unique, it was half Marketing, some Product and this thing many people didn’t know to be Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). 

Back then I had long hair, a goatee and basically was working through my personal style as someone in their 20’s does. 

The owner-director demanded I shave off my goatee (yeah, it was that long ago), cut my hair short and leave the current job and start in ten days. 

At the time you did it, and I got the job and I learnt many life and important business lessons. That same director went out and brought a razor and shaving foam and made me shave after I forgot to shave one day about three months in. Now beards are commonplace and the unshaved look doesn’t matter. Look at the younger CEO’s of the fortune 500.

Many lessons from that workplace actually still inspire me to write this weekly leaders newsletter. 

2011: In 2011, it was deep snow in London, it was freezing in the agency office and I changed my shoes to a pair of sneakers (trainers) and the clients came over early for a pitch, I forgot to change my footwear back to the boots that crippled my feet and the agency owner took me to town about the impact it would have. Both business owners of a well-known travel company both wearing converse…and we won the upsell pitch…

2016: More recently the hoodie has become commonplace within startups and the relaxed work look has become normalised. The issue of wearing something more relaxed has mostly been removed.

It is important to note with all this said, some workplaces will still reprimand staff if they break the agreed uniform of their workplace. I heard of a company recently enforcing a tie and jacket policy when in the office. 

Company culture is being shaped in many new ways, from the appearance we have in real life, to the avatars we are selecting to use instead of our tired faces and home backgrounds being reviewed by pixel. 

Organisational health is also shaped by performance and how the teams are being perceived in performing whether that is in meetings, in the final product or the relaunch of a campaign to drive in more customers. 

Or importantly, what the leaders say in interviews, podcasts and company-wide emails.  

In the age of working through the return to the office, returning to in-person interviews, working through hybrid and hosting hybrid interviews, will we see a more relaxed approach to work and work requirements or will you and your business move back towards traditions and enforce stricter policies? 

This week consider if your business needs a new way to differentiate, whether it needs a uniform (the power of uniforms and flags through history is often untold) or whether the old way of working is now gone and you will embrace the future of delivery from anywhere? Let this be an opportunity to discuss company culture in a different light and shape your business for the long term. 

Thanks and have a great week,

Danny Denhard

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