Master Your Appearance At Every Level Of Your Career

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Despite much complaining and protestation, formalized dress codes in the workplace can be a beautiful thing. The reason for this is that it makes what you need to wear each day crystal clear. Unfortunately, over half of all US employers do not have a dress code. A situation that can make what you wear to work each day a complicated process full of pitfalls. Happily, even if your workplace has no dress code guidance, you can be sure to dress appropriately for your career level. All you need to do is read the advice below.

Career Newbies 

For those at the beginning of their career and just entering the workforce, the world of career attire can be confusing. After all, you want to make a good impression and have others take you seriously. However, it’s vital that you dress suitably for your position and that you fit in with the company’s expectations. 

First impressions count 

In particular, it is essential to remember that first impressions count. That this goes for your very first day, and the first time that your colleagues and superiors see you each morning. To that end, you will want to make sure you dress day correctly, each and every day. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to make sure this happens consistently. 

Assess the company culture 

The first of these is to take a good long look at what others are wearing in your company. What others wear will usually inform you as to what is OK and what isn’t. Be sure to consider the attire of the whole office, though, because if you base your choices on just one person, you may not be quite right. After all, there is always an employee with a more quirky sense of style around the office. 

Also, be wary of only replicating what the person that hired you was wearing. The reason for this is that during interviews, people are likely to be dressed more formally. Also, as an entry-level employee, it may not be entirely appropriate for you to turn up in full business formal, examples of which you can find at Although, when in doubt, a little too formal is always better than too informal when you are just starting.

Consider too, the company culture as a whole. For example, creative agencies that employ designers, artists, and illustrators, as well as smaller tech startups, tend to have a much more relaxed vibe. However, larger, more established businesses usually have a stricter view of what is acceptable. 

Ask HR 

Remember, too, that if you are struggling as to what to wear in your first week, you can ask HR. This action will show you are serious about your post and will be one that this department will be well-positioned to answer. 

Establish your credibility through your appearance 

In a perfect world, others would judge us in the workplace solely on our actions. However, the world of work is not perfect, and our appearance does have an impact on how we are perceived. 

In particular, dressing in an unkempt or shabby way can hurt how others see us even if we are highly dedicated and adept at our jobs. With that in mind, making an effort to fit in with the company dress code and be well-groomed each day will help those around you come to a favorable opinion on your ability.

Middle management 

After you have been in your career for a while, you will likely get promoted. You may even find yourself rising from the ranks of the entry-level worker through supervisors’ positions and into middle management relatively quickly. 

Of course, as you make this transition from the base level in your career to the one above, it will impact the way that you need to dress in the workplace.

Stand out from those below you

The first thing you need to consider after a promotion is that your work wardrobe needs to stand out. Now, that doesn’t mean you choose loud or attention-grabbing clothes in bright colors. It merely means that you have to delineate yourself from those that you are managing. In fact, by demonstrating this difference visually, you can make day to day life easier for yourself, because your dress will reinforce your position and authority. 

With that in mind, if your office is very casual, you may want to opt for the next level above, such as business casual or even business professional. Examples of the latter being available from Although it is advisable not to go too far up the scale, as your team may interpret this that you think you are better than them and can cause resentment. 

Remember that by the time you are in a middle manager position, you will also have a lot more interaction with senior leaders in your company. Therefore you will want to make sure that your dress is right whether you are called into an impromptu meeting with the big boss or spend all day with those you manage.

Consider how you appear to clients 

Similarly, as you progress through the ranks of the business, you will be interacting with clients on a face-to-face basis. Therefore ensuring you look as smart as possible for this interaction is vital. 

Unfortunately, if you turn up looking too casual, your client may not believe that you are taking them or their needs seriously. Something that at best can get the meeting off to a rocky start, and at work may cost you the contract! 

With that in mind, keeping a change of shoes and a smart jacket in the office or your car is advisable. Then you can make a quick change and make sure you refresh your appearance before each meeting. 

Senior management 

Congratulations, all your hard work has paid off, and you have climbed your way to the top of the tree. Of course, this means that a wardrobe overall is in order. However, before you run out and treat yourself to some hand tailor suits, consider the following points. 

Can you be too formal?

Many people are a little older by the time they achieve senior management status. Happily, age brings experience and so respect in the workplace. However, middle-aged to older individuals that dress too formally may run the risk of being perceived as old fashioned in the approach to work. A risk that is often more apparent if they have come from a more formal and rigid employment environment. 

With that in mind, senior managers must be careful to balance formality with a more youthful look. The good news is there are several tactics you can use to achieve this.

Overhaul your wardrobe 

The first is to give your current work wardrobe an overhaul with a modern twist. What this means using accessories, as well as pieces of clothing that are appropriate to your age, but also demonstrate an awareness of current styling trends. 

Fortunately, even if you are not much of a fashion person, this is too hard to achieve. The reason being that many department stores will offer personal styling sessions with an expert, like the ones discussed at Experiences that can help you put together some suitable work outfits with a fashion-forward edge. 

Be aware that it’s not just the clothes you wear that will contribute to the overall impression colleagues have, but also accessories like glasses, bags, and shoes. You can even find some suggestions on the latter at

Particularly, senior managers that are concerned with maintaining youthful and relevant visage in the workplace may opt for progressive lenses like the ones at in their glasses rather than varifocal ones. The reason being that the telltale line between long-distance and short is not present. 

Additionally, a smart work bag that nods to current trends or some sharp shoes can help lift an outfit. Therefore making your entire look much more powerful and effective.

Last of all, don’t forget that while sticking to the rule will give you great results, part of the fun of being high up in your company is that you don’t have to follow them if you don’t want to. 

That is, you can make a very bold statement by going entirely against the dress code you have set for your business. For example, in a company where business casual attire like the pieces at is usual, a director wearing business formal can be a real power-play. The opposite is also true. If you require everyone to arrive suited and booted to work, yet turn up in jeans, you are making a bold statement. One that suggests you are so far above the hierarchy of authority that the rules no longer apply.

Final thoughts 

In summary, if you wish to master your appearance at every level of your career, remember to stick the balance between fitting in and standing out that is appropriate for your stage. 

Also, if in doubt, opting for an outfit that is a little more formal than the ones everyone else is wearing at least shows commitment and that you are taking your career seriously. While an unkempt appearance only ever detracts from others’ perception of you in the workplace.

The Characteristics Of A Strong Team

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If you want your business to be a success, you are going to have to ensure that you have strong teams running it, and a strong team as a whole too. That is not something that necessarily comes easily, but it is the kind of thing which you are going to want to focus on so that you can ensure you are producing the best work possible at all times. But what is a strong team, really, and what does it look like? In this article, we are going to elucidate on this by taking a look at some of the common characteristics of a strong team, so that you can hope to build and develop these in your own company.


A good team has to be strongly unified in some way or another. The most common and powerful way to do this is to try and find a common purpose or goal that everyone can work towards. Depending on the nature of the business, that might be the business’ overall goal or it could be something as simple as improving profits so that everyone can benefit. Whatever it is, ensure that everyone is happy to work towards it, and you will find that this helps greatly. You can achieve good unification through other means like peer mentoring for instance: visit steve’s website here for more on that process and how it might help your teams to become stronger and more unified.

Varied Talent

Being unified doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is the same, however. In fact, you want and need there to be a good amount of variation if you are going to get your team to operate in the best way possible. The most important kind of variation is that you want your individual members of the team to each have their own role, which will depend on what their individual skills and talents are, whatever those might be. If you are putting everyone in the right place in this sense, you are going to find that you get a lot more out of them, and that your team therefore functions better as a whole. This variation is something that is always going to work very well.


Everyone in the team needs to have drive, and so much so that they need to drive each other onwards too. If you can make sure of that, then you are going to find that you are much more likely to achieve what you hope to achieve as a team, and that you can hope your team to operate in the best possible way. Drive can be achieved with a strong communal impetus, or by ensuring that each individual is happy with their work and knows the value of it. Both of these might prove important at different times, in truth, so be sure to focus on both of them if you want your team to operate as best as possible.

Ways You Can Stay Ahead Of The Competition

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If you want your business to succeed over the long-term, then it’s vital you stay ahead of your competitors and know what they’re up to and rolling out next. You risk losing paying customers if you fall behind, and others are outsmarting you in every area of your business.

Learn how you can maintain your position as a leader in your industry and get ahead of the competition. These actions will be well worth your time and energy and will likely deliver exceptional results that will be worth noting. You’ll be a much happier business owner when you’re attracting new customers and maintaining a loyal book of clients throughout the years.

Offer High-Quality Products

One way to stay ahead of the competition is to offer high-quality products that are long-lasting and don’t fall apart. Make sure they meet industry standards and regulations and are safe for consumer use. You can accomplish this goal by contacting and experimenting with 3D printing as a way to speed up production and improve the quality of your offerings. It’ll give you an edge over your competition and prove to others that you’re up to speed with the latest developments in technology.

Implement Creative Marketing Tactics

Keep ahead of your competitors by using creative marketing tactics to build awareness and excitement around your business and products. No one is going to make purchases from you or talk about you unless they know what it is you do. Clearly explain the benefits of working with you and what you bring to the table. Position yourselves as experts in your industry by sharing exciting and engaging content on your website, company blog, and social media.

Build an Attractive Company Culture

You can also stay ahead of the competition by being the employer of choice among employees and potential candidates. Focus on building an attractive company culture and reward your staff fairly for their performance. Make the workplace a fun and exciting place to be, but also make it known that you all work hard and are continually achieving your goals. Employees and job seekers will spread the word for you, and you’ll be able to set your business up as a top place to work in your community and even around the country.

Offer Superior Customer Service

Satisfied customers can go a long way in helping your business to succeed and thrive. Stay ahead of the competition by putting your customers first and ensuring they’re happy at all times. Solve problems quickly and address issues professionally so that you can close the loop and make sure consumers feel confident in your business and trust you. Train your employees to know how to handle all types of situations and to help them understand the significance of offering superior and consistent customer service. Not only get to know your customers better but look after them and do what’s in your power to confirm they’re pleased with your service and products. Ask questions and seek feedback to help you work through any hesitations your customers are feeling.

5 Types Of Crisis Your Business Could Face

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Sooner or later, no matter their size, industry, or location, all businesses face some sort of crisis. Nobody ever plans for something to go wrong – It just happens, and usually at the worst possible time. Some of these problems can be avoided, but many can’t. Either way, you should prepare for them. No entrepreneur wants to anticipate failure, but it is crucial that you’re ready to handle disasters when they happen. With that in mind, here are five crises your business could face.

  1. Financial Crisis

Money is the single most important resource a business has. After all, without any money, you wouldn’t be able to stay up and running. When a financial crisis occurs, therefore, this can cause a lot of problems. Essentially, this disaster happens when you’re hit by a sudden and huge financial loss. In a case like this, a business emergency fund would be helpful by allowing you to pay immediate costs. You might also need to access credit and find ways to reduce overheads.

  1. Technological Crisis

Every business nowadays relies on technology in one way or another. This means that any breakdown in technological appliances could impact your service in a big way. The first step in managing a problem like this is enlisting the help of an expert. You may have an in-house IT team, but most businesses work with an IT consulting company. Once the problem is solved, and your business is back up and running, you need to prevent the issue from happening again.

  1. Natural Crisis

A natural crisis would take place because of a natural phenomenon, like a flood, earthquake, or tornado. Although these types of disasters may be rare where you live, they can still have a significant impact when they do occur. The best way to defend against a problem like this is to be proactive. You should use an office that is resilient to the weather and prepare an evacuation plan. It’s also important that you have somewhere else the business could work, just in case.

  1. Personnel Crisis

You may have started your business alone, but, at some point, you will have needed to bring on other people to help you tackle the workload. The problem with this is that more people means a higher chance of mistakes. When someone associated with your business gets involved in something unethical or illegal, it can impact your reputation too. In a case like this, you would need to evaluate the situation and determine what disciplinary action is appropriate.

  1. Organizational Crisis

Your business exists to serve the customers. When it fails to do that, therefore, and instead wrongs them, it can cause big problems. Whether you misuse your position as a manager, withhold information, or exploit the consumers in some way, it leads to mistrust, which could ultimately drag your business down. The only way to fix this is to admit to your mistakes and vow to improve the company culture.

Every entrepreneur faces a crisis at some point. Hopefully, with the advice above, you now know what do when it happens in your business.

The Minor Mistakes Affecting Your Business Image

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Business image matters. But if you want to keep giving off a positive impression to your customers – and attract new ones – it’s not just the major branding campaigns you need to focus on. The small stuff counts, too. Today, we’re going to go through a whole bunch of examples of the minor mistakes made by many small businesses, and suggest a few ideas on how to overcome them. Let’s take a closer look at some of your options.

Inconsistent brand image

Many small businesses go through constant iterations of their branding before deciding on the right course. However, it’s an area which can prove problematic unless you commit to the changes 100 percent. All too often, small business owners try to cut corners, and it’s noticeable to everyone. For example, let’s say your website gets an upgrade, complete with a new logo and mission statement. The trouble is, the front of your store still uses the old one. And your businesses cards are still making use of the logo before that. Inconsistency not only looks unprofessional, but it also confuses your customers. If you decide to make changes, make sure they are wholesale – right across the board.

The broken promise

Next, you can spend years building up positive relationships with customers, yet let things slip by a moment of forgetfulness or a broken promise. It’s vital to consistently deliver an authentic experience because this promotes your brand as trustworthy and professional. Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but ensure you deal with them in the right way – with exceptional levels of customer service, and a promise to put things right.

Spelling mistakes

Poor spelling and punctuation is a real turn off for customers. And as much as you might feel grammar pedants are ruining things for everyone, the reality is that they have a point. It’s unprofessional, provokes distrust, and can significantly reduce your sales.

Bad smells

If you are a customer-facing business, no doubt you understand the importance of looking your best. However, you also need to smell your best. If your store, office or workplace is a little on the pongy side, it’s not going to your sales charts any favors. Having trouble with a whiffy building? If you visit this website, you will find out there are a multitude of diffusers available to use in a business setting. Having to endure employees with a little personal hygiene problem? Don’t be afraid to address it – in private, of course. If you can smell someone, you can bet your customers can, too.

The business insider

Finally, one of the most natural traps to fall into as a business owner is that you fail to see what you are doing from the outside. It’s no surprise, as when you spend every waking hour working to make things better, it can be hard to see the wood from the trees. The solution? Every now and again take a break and try and look at your business with a fresh pair of eyes. If you can’t do this, use services like mystery shoppers or the equivalent for your industry. Seeing your company from your customer’s perspective can make a huge difference.

A Career Is More Than A Paycheck. Here’s Why

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What are you looking for in life? There are many different answers you could give to that question, including health, happiness, and wealth. But whatever you answer with, there is a good chance that your career will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals in life. You might find that it can even help to boost your personal life and achieve some personal goals.

As you can probably tell, then, a career is more than just a paycheck. It’s not just the money that you should think about when you are looking for a job, there are other factors to think about as well. Here are just a few of them.

People First

All good companies will put their people first. When you start a job hunt, it really is important that you research all businesses you are considering so that you can find out about their company culture to make sure that people always come before anything else. Your job can have a huge impact on your mental health, and if your employers aren’t respectful of this, then your overall health will be at risk. So, in order to feel respected and appreciated at work, make sure you always apply to companies that put their people ahead of anything else.

The Social Side

Work shouldn’t be all about work. There needs to be a good social side as well! Working in a company that has a great culture and team, such as small and medium businesses like, can have many great benefits but the main one has to be the fact that everyone clubs together and the team will feel more like a family. Everyone supports one another and helps each other out whenever things in the office get a bit on the stressful side!

The Work Excites You

Every day at work needs to be exciting, informative, and different from the one before. After all, you will be working for around forty years, so you need to ensure that you find a job that keeps you on your toes! Think about what your passions and hobbies in life are and see if you can find a job that fits these. You will then have a whole lot of fun in your work and will enjoy every minute. Trust me, that will make it a lot more bearable for the next forty years!

There Are Good Prospects

In a career, you need to have the ability to move forward in your work and grow and develop within a company or industry. If you follow all the tips at and work in a company that promotes employee development, then you will have the chance to go really far in your career. This will help you stay motivated throughout, and will also see you receive many great rewards and benefits.

As you can see, then, there really is more to a career than just the monthly paychecks. Pick the right one, and it will take you far!

Decoding The Corporate Perks Facade: What It Really Means

Google is the pioneer of offering perks to attract top talent and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

A friend of mine works at Google HQ and describes his situation as “too good to walk away from” even when he gets bored. Free food, snacks, shuttle, laundry, etc will do that.

The startup scene has escalated to the point where if you don’t offer perks, you’re not relevant. But what if I told you it’s all a facade?

I love to eat. What makes food taste even better is when it’s free. But unlimited snacks and catered lunches are a nice bonus, but far from the mission of the company.

Now I’m not knocking perks as an enhancement to the employee experience, but what I am saying is how much does it affect your decision to stay?

Look at it from a financial standpoint: free food for the entire company is cheaper than giving a raise to one (of course you have to factor in size of staff though, but you get the drift).

My point is if perks are one of the highest ranking factors in retaining your services it’s putting your faith in fool’s gold. Perks are like purchasing the newest toy. After a while it gets old, you get bored and want more.

For example when I first started working for my current company the idea of catered lunches twice a week blew my mind. Now I still appreciate it, but I found myself getting pickier with selection of choices. If it happens to be a meal I love, free lunch is great! If not, I wish I didn’t have to sit through the company meeting during lunch.

Culture is a huge factor in retention, but perks shouldn’t be too high on your list of reasons to apply/stay. Times have changed where “what you get” is as important as “what you give,” yet ultimately what your company strives for and what role you play will always outshine any perk offered.

Work wisely.

A Manager’s Secret Weapon (Yet Rarely Used)

Most bosses don’t get it.

Middle management’s main job is to manage people, not tasks.

Tasks need to be completed, but it’s how you manage your people that makes all the difference.

If your workers aren’t getting things done, the first finger pointed should be at you (the manager).

Have you clearly communicated your expectations? 

Are your people properly trained?

Are you putting them in a place to succeed?

Most managers don’t understand when the role changes, your responsibilities do too. If you don’t want to spend the majority of your time and energy dealing with interpersonal issues, don’t take the job!

I truly believe leadership skills can be taught to anyone, but that doesn’t make an effective leader. There are many traits that make a great leader, but the simplest one with the greatest ROI is:

Positive feedback.

Did you know it takes 5 positive comments to cancel out 1 negative one?

I wouldn’t worry too much about the ratio, except by saying your workers evaluate you. Performance reviews are held for employees all the time, but what about managers? Is your boss held to the same standards as the people they lead?  

If not, that’s a culture problem. Hypocrisy is the most visible sin in a business. It’s the one fault that causes morale to plummet and turnover to skyrocket.

If you work for someone else, you’re supporting another person’s dream. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that since not everyone can run a successful business. But when people don’t feel heard or treated unfairly it can signal the beginning of the end.

Managers who rarely dish out positive feedback are both insecure and focused on the wrong things. They haven’t bought into the fact their impact is determined by the team’s output, not theirs.

Being positive is similar to active listening. It can be taught, but usually if you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

The best leaders know metrics and data can only measure so much. Just like companies create a brand experience, managers create employee experiences. With power comes great responsibility; a willingness to model service to your team so it’s passed down to customers.

A positive comment can go a long way, but only if you actually say it.

Are Great Managers Truly Unicorns?

The number one reason why people leave their jobs is because they feel unappreciated or under-valued. Translation: lousy boss.

One of the main reasons I’ve left all my past jobs is a terrible boss (best boss I had was as an entrepreneur – he was great, but the pay was inconsistent).

At the core is a skill problem. Let’s start at the bottom:

As a technical worker you are paid to produce results quickly. Once you prove yourself you move up to leadership. The issue here is what made you a great technical worker won’t help you be a good leader.

At the leadership (management) level your job is to bring out the best in your team. It doesn’t matter how well you performed at your previous role because the job description is completely different.

This is rampant in Corporate America because seniority normally equates to promotion. But most managers don’t know the first thing about motivating/treating people. Managers talk to their employees as if they’re stupid or incompetent. The disrespect is tolerated at first, but over time disengagement and morale drops.

Productivity keeps a business running, but poor leadership can halt growth. Companies with high turnover are similar to below par rated restaurants on Yelp. Even if you have a great product, customer service is what you’re ultimately judged on.

Most businesses believe treating the customer with the utmost respect is good enough, but when employees feel the cold shoulder of management internal strife starts to build. When the work environment becomes sheerly political the internal trust deteriorates and your best talent already has one foot out of the door.

I understand the argument from the company’s perspective that hard, objective decisions need to be made in order to scale, but you can still treat people well and get great results. People filter their perception of leadership through interactions. Once you feel unsafe as a worker, it’s time to start applying for jobs elsewhere.

That’s why when you do find a manager who cares about you, brings out the best in you and ultimately looks at his position as service treasure him/her. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience it once in my career and during that tenure I felt I could do anything.

For some complete autonomy may feel like macro-management, so it’s important to understand what type of boss you thrive under. Culture is viewed as the thermometer, but core behaviors are the true temperature.

These days companies can pay you lip service about their environment, but only the employee experience truly defines what the culture is.

So if you have a great manager think twice about the grass being greener on the other side. Like grass most of the time if you turn it over it’s actually brown.

The Forgotten Part Of Networking


Your network is your net worth.

The assumption is networking is done “externally,” but what if you actually like your job and don’t want to leave, yet desire to expand your network?

Do it internally.

Similar to sales: return customers have a greater value than new customers.

That means co-workers you connect with and strengthen bonds over time can be more instrumental to your career success than grabbing coffee with a new contact on LinkedIn.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m that guy who connects with people locally on LinkedIn and grabs coffee, but those relationships take time to blossom.

Meanwhile your work relationships have the potential to grow much faster because of the frequency and ease of scheduling.

Too often job satisfaction is determined by what happens to you, not what you initiate. Some opportunities are all about timing, but others are about choice.

Once you understand the company culture figure out how you can connect with people at work: grab lunch, go for a walk, chat on Slack, etc.

Most likely there are too many people at your company to talk with consistently, but that only makes the challenge fun.

  • Be the person who asks others how they are doing.
  • Instead of going on break alone take a friend.
  • Make it a goal to grab lunch with someone weekly.

At my company we’re fortunate to have catered lunches twice a week so that leaves three open days for me.

Some days I make phone calls and other times I need to decompress alone, but imagine how fulfilling your day is with a stimulating conversation!

As an introvert/situational extrovert I prefer quality over quantity…

Making networking part of your lifestyle versus a goal starts by doing it consistently.

The trick isn’t to keep “score” on how many people are in your network, but how often you network with others.

Make it a habit and watch your work fulfillment level skyrocket!