Dress for Success

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Perched with a seal like physique, and with toes just residing on the edge of the starting blocks, the swimmer’s ears desperately listens for the starters gun to allow their body to be catapulted into the pool.

Comment: Now this is probably the “verbage” one would expect to read when describing such an activity, but no, I will be observing the swimming race from an entirely different perspective.

If you were to study the appearance of the swimmers, you would witness them all to be wearing sleek, body hugging bathers, or they would be similarly equipped with a freshly shaven and ultra-smooth body brandishing the most microscopic swimming costume that just avoids an exhibitional “R-Rating” classification. Gone are the days of seeing a daggy, loose fitting, hairy chested (yes, I am talking about men), bawdy, bather clad swimmer who looked like they were preparing their large belly for the high gravitational impact of a maximised “bomb” splash. Yes, these people do still exist, but only in certain residential suburbs that you and I tend not to frequent (well, maybe not state publicly anyway?).

Those swimmers that have the objective of wanting to win, tend to “Dress For Success”.

The key word here is not “success”, but actually “dress” and no, I’m not saying that everyone needs to actually wear a dress to be successful. Rather, successful people have an individual fashion statement that captures the true essence of their personality and which defines their own distinctive uniqueness. In a similar way to the “Impressionist Master Painters”, their brush strokes and use of colour, created works of art that truly defined their signature, even if they didn’t actually sign the painting. People just needed to view the painting, upon which the artistic origin was immediately recognised.

The successful swimmer combines the requisite sports swimming costume with their own brand of style and technique when in the water. Similarly, powerful and influential people have their own fashion persona that identifies them with a tailored clothing statement via the selection of a range of accessories such as ties, shirts, suits, shoes, socks, cuff-links, aftershave, perfumes (I was thinking woman, but each to their own), hairstyles and suchlike, that when combined by them supports and reinforces their personal and publicly branded message.

So as that old phrase goes, “Clothes do indeed maketh the woman and the man”. If you want to look like a bogan, well, dress like one and you will be treated as per the appearance you portray. But if you want to look like a winner, then dress accordingly.

Now for those of you that wear a kilt, the verdict is indeed still out on this one! However, if you wear a bow-tie, no more needs to be said!

Business Basics: Beach, Balls, Bats and Bathers

A family plays beach cricket at Byron Bay

As you stroll along many Australian seaside beaches in summer you are bound to come across a group of people playing cricket on the sand. The official name for this game is “Beach Cricket”.

The customary uniform for Beach Cricket is typically minimal and encompasses a range of different coloured and sized speedos, bikinis, hats, sunglasses and the frequent application of sunblock. The rules will vary depending on beach locality and the skill set of the players, but for that optimum scoring opportunity, a large hit by the batsman into the sea normally provides the best result!

There is usually no participant exclusion to the game as with more people, the easier it is to play, particularly when fielding the ball on the soft hot sand in your bare feet. Those wanting to play do not need a formal invitation. The accepted custom is to simply walk up and ask “Can I join in and play?” The response is unquestionably “Yep, sure thing, just take a fielding position out in the sand, or sea”. I personally like the sea, as it provides the maximum opportunity for extreme laziness, body cooling and water flotation!

The game may last for hours, or until the ball is absconded by a passing dog frolicking on the sand, but the result is a great time for all.

If we look at the game of Beach Cricket from a corporate office perspective there are some important strategic learnings.

In Beach Cricket there are no exclusions, cliques or private groups that filter member participation. Each new player is welcomed regardless of whether their skill set is minimal or vastly experienced. So why not have this same employee involvement philosophy in business? Is it that we are too self conscious to join in, or too scared that we may “drop the ball”, or are we a little too selective about having the “right” people” in our work team?

As with Beach Cricket, when people feel welcome and valued regardless of their ability, they tend to enjoy the team spirit, the sense of belonging and throw themselves into the required objective (which occurs quite literally when fielding the ball on the sand and in the water) with an unrestricted level of enthusiasm. Many of the team participants may discover some hidden talents when provided with the opportunity “to play”, others may watch and learn from the more experienced and skilled members of the team, either way, the result is beneficial to all.

So next time your office work team starts to have that all too familiar “dysfunctional look”, may I suggest you grab a ball, a cricket bat and head for the beach! If your team is located in the cooler climates, you are allowed to swap the swimming bathers for some more suitable and warmer clothing attire, and if the ball is hit deliberately into the cold ocean water, may I suggest the cheeky batsman be ruled as out and they be asked to field the ball themselves!