Posts Tagged ‘Gene Juarez’

Dressing for Success

June 6, 2012

Can you improve your career just by changing the way you dress?  Recent research says YES!  A new study from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management found that “conservative work clothes”, outfits associated with “attentiveness and carefulness” can actually inspire those qualities in the wearer.   Those who wear a uniform, even a lab coat, showed increased attention spans during specific tasks.

So how does this information help you?  If you are unemployed, have a successful friend or family member help you put together a couple of “interview outfits”.  Also, since most jobs are found not on line but in person – through people you know and meet, give more thought to how you look every time you leave your house.  Sure, you  don’t need to wear a suit and tie to your kid’s hockey match, but if its a time of day when other parents who work might be there, “business casual” is certainly more appropriate than sweats.  Look for those dressed as though they just came from work.  Go sit with them, make conversation.  You have a better chance of making a good impression and sticking in their mind as someone to recommend for the next opening at their workplace if you were already dressed for success.

If you have a job but want a career, more opportunities, more responsibilities and of course, more money –  improve your work wardrobe.  If everyone else on your team wears jeans and tee shirts, first swap out the tee shirts for collared shirts that button down the front.  Then in a few weeks, switch to khaki slacks or black slacks.  Of course, investing in a rubber soled casual shoe that is NOT an athletic shoe is a mandatory first step for anyone who wants to advance their career.  If you aren’t sure how far to go, look up the organizational chart one or two levels and see what they are wearing.  The sooner you LOOK like management material, the more likely you will be considered for management.   According to the research study, not only will others perceive you as more professional – YOU will subconsciously start to behave more professionally.

If you are already in a professional setting but want to improve your perceived value, consider working with someone like Kim Crumpler of Uniquely Savvy.  She can help you go through your closet and discard what doesn’t suit you, show you new, updated ways to wear what you already own and steer you towards the next purchases you need to make to improve your image.  Looking professional – but not old fashioned – is critical if your boss is younger than you.  Remember, people believe if your look is dated – your information, skills and talents are dated as well!  

If you are a manager or company owner, consider a dress code.  While most states have laws regarding what you can require employees to wear before you have to provide it for them.  You can usually specify black slacks or tan slacks and other generic items such as a white dress shirt or black collared shirt – items it is reasonable to expect most people to have in their closet.  However you can be less specific and simply state only collared shirts, tucked in shirts, no athletic shoes, dress shirts, neatly pressed slacks and skirts, skirts not more than 2″ above the knee and such.  If this is a change for your office, use a team to polish the draft of it that you prepare.  Announce it in November and make it effective January 1.  Few people want to change jobs over the holidays so even if people grumble, they will put off seriously looking to change jobs until after the first of the year.  Also, their families can buy them work appropriate clothing or gift cards for Christmas.  By the time they have the new clothes and get used to wearing them a few weeks into the new year, they are not as likely to leave.  Those that do leave are likely the ones you put the dress code in for in the first place!

Gene Juarez Salons require their employees to wear black.  This is to create a sophisticated, hip look in their salons.  Then each quarter they announce an “accent color” such as red, gray, tan or white to give variety to the employees.  These shots of color  give the employees renewed enthusiasm for their work wardrobe while not sacrificing their company image.

You may also want to consider a uniform.  Sure, you have some added costs in providing at least part of it (logo shirt – you provide, tan slacks – you don’t) but there are a lot of benefits too.  Any time your employee is out in public, they are an ad for your business.  They need to be reminded of that regularly but it can be very positive for your business.  You also give a sense of comfort and security to customers.  They immediately know who works here or that they do work for who they say.  And of course, the research showed performance improves when employees wear uniforms.

Wherever you fall in the employment cycle from job seeker to business owner, you can use this new research as a tool to really dress for success. 

Perception vs. Reality

September 17, 2010

While businesses long perceived as “bargain” or “discount” options have been doing well during our current recession, many other businesses typically perceived as “upscale” have been suffering.  In response to the consumer’s change in spending habits, most businesses have begun to offer specials, discounts and less expensive options.  The question is, does your target market know this?

While dining at Dragonfish restaurant earlier this week, I took advantage of one of their tempting $10 entrée offerings.  I also brought in my parking ticket and got $5 off my check to cover the cost of parking.  Both of these items address perceptions; one is that it’s too expensive to eat out, the other is that it’s expensive to park in downtown Seattle.  These values are communicated not only once you arrive and are handed a menu, but on their website and Facebook Fan Pages as well as Tweeted to followers.

Lots of businesses have to deal with the differences between consumerperception and the new reality.  When I say “upscale downtown salon” you probably think “expensive”.  If I mention the cozy waiting area, fresh coffee, tea and iced water, fresh flowers, fireplace and beautiful glass mosaic floor in the restroom; now you are likely thinking “I can’t afford THAT!”

So what is a reasonable price for a stylish haircut,particularly for ladies?  What is the “value” of looking professional to your career?   The downtown Gene Juarez salon has tackled the perception up front with their front window signage:

What discounts, bargains, specials or values are you offering in response to the change in spending habits of your customers?  How are you letting people know?  Don’t wait for customers to wander in to learn about your promotions or even the everyday value you offer, address perceptions boldly so your reality isn’t a “going out of business” sign!

The Right Hand of “god”

April 21, 2010

I started my career as a secretary long before they became known as Administrative Professionals.  For many years, I was proud and happy to be the “right hand of god” and was fortunate enough to have great bosses.  It only seems fitting today to focus on these often unsung heroes of our businesses.

Most executives readily admit they would be lost without their assistants yet many don’t realize it’s National Administrative Professionals Week.  You count on your “right hand” to remind you of important dates, but this would be akin to your spouse reminding you of your anniversary or their birthday – it loses a lot of the luster if they have to tell you – so they won’t.

Consider this your “reminder” so you don’t spend the next couple of weeks in the “office doghouse”.

Flowers, cards, chocolates, lunch are all fine.  Want to do a little more?  A gift card for a massage from a local spa, a dinner gift card in an amount to cover dinner for 2 or gift card at a bookstore for a reader, iTunes for a music lover or coffee card for a caffeine junkie.  Most can be purchased on line or from an expansive display at your neighborhood Safeway store.

These are people who know your personal preferences in everything from restaurants to airline seats; show them you have noticed something about them with your thank you gift.

Beyond acknowledgement of their hard work and dedication during this national recognition week, consider some ways to add fulfillment to this important job all year long. IAAP is the International Association of Administrative Professionals.  They have Chapters all over the world, including several in most major cities.  The group is focused on continuing to build skills and the investment of a membership for your assistant could be money well spent.

Does your assistant have skills and talents beyond the requirements of their job?  If so, is there a way to tap into them in a business capacity? I’ve always been a bit of a hobby photographer.  One of my bosses gave me the opportunity to serve as photographer for the company’s customer golf tournament.  This day out of the office allowed me to make a contribution to the overall success of the event and meet face-to-face clients I had always spoken to on the phone.  Decades later, I still have fond memories and appreciate my boss who saw me as “more than a secretary”.

Take the time to give appropriate recognition and genuine gratitude for your own “right hand” person today.

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