You can't go anywhere these days and not hear people talking about the economy, corruption, bailouts and job loss.
With no guarantees of having a job tomorrow, what steps can you take today to give you a fighting chance to keep your job and your positive reputation in these uncertain times?
I posed that question to three experts in the area of Wardrobe Management and Etiquette and Human Resources. I ask them for 3 key strategies that will make a positive impact on employers and help you be a standout. I also added my 3 key strategies in the area of productivity.
Mary Lou Andre, founder and president of dressingwell.com and Organization By Design, Inc. is a nationally recognized wardrobe consultant, speaker and author. She suggests that executives need to, "package themselves for success in today's competitive business environment." Mary Lou's suggests:
View your professional image as communications tool. An appropriate and effective professional image enhances communication and allows you to present ideas and information in a highly effective way. Eliminating distractions commonly caused by ill fitting clothes, poor grooming and a lack of attention to how clothing and accessories are coordinated together is one sure way to come across as credible and confident, even if you are nervous on the inside.
Ground your look for business. Think like a professional contractor and start with a solid foundation. While not the only choice for business today, dark base neutrals are a cost-effective way to build a functional and versatile wardrobe. Black, brown, and gray suits, pants, skirts, and shoes are price neutral, hide wear and tear and can slim pounds off your frame.
Think business first, fashion second. Think about your environment before you go outside the boundaries of what's acceptable. Remember business is about dollars and sense and people may have reactions to inappropriate attire that can undermine your credibility. You don't have to be a corporate drone by any means - just be smart with your wardrobe choices and how they will impact your goals and objectives on the job.
Judith Bowman is President and Founder of Rhode Island based Protocol Consultants International. Judith's three key strategies focus on the importance of "professional presence and remembering that nuances matter." Judith's advice:
Project a positive attitude! A positive attitude is contagious and we, as human beings are naturally drawn toward positive people, positive energy. While you may not love your job, act like you do!
Contribute. Make a conscious effort to make meaningful contributions to meetings, team efforts, and company initiatives. Position yourself as a resource. Work smarter versus harder; anticipate more, react less.
Embrace opportunities to communicate positive ideas and, solutions.Endeavor to do so, one-on-one versus via virtual communication. This is your opportunity to be noticed, in all positive ways. Remember, during these challenging times: "grace under pressure" - the way you handle pressure is noticed!
Nancy Mobley is President and CEO of Insight Performance Improvement, Inc., a nationally recognized industry leader that responds to the growing needs of small and medium sized companies that require quality, affordable human resource solutions. According to Nancy, it's important to stand out by being the consummate professional. Nancy proposes:
Be engaged. Be seen as the right person in the right place to get the job done. Come up with new ideas and better ways to get work done. Volunteer to help in areas that may not be your prime responsibility.
Produce high quality work. Be resourceful to make the effort to find resources or determine the best way to do a competent job. Rely on yourself, not others by being an "independent doer." If you need help, ask for it rather than continuing to spin your wheels and possibly putting a deadline in jeopardy.
Create positive relationships. Show a genuine interest in the people you work with. Ask them how they are and care about the answer! SMILE! Be the person people want to work with. You don't want to burn any bridges that could negatively impact you now or in future endeavors.
There are common threads in Mary Lou, Judith and Nancy's advice: be professional, act professional and look professional! Now let's tie the whole picture together looking at your work output.
Here are my 3 key strategies. Remember...
Arrive at work, focused & ready to get things done. Plan ahead, look forward in your calendar to determine what you need to be working on and put it in your planner system. Paper or electronic, it doesn't matter as long as it works for you and you work your system to your advantage.
Identify your biggest distractions. Take steps to reduce the distractions that are negatively impacting your productivity. For example: email notification -- turn off any indicators that an email arrived in your inbox; people coming into your office or cubicle -- if you have a door, close it, if their timing is inconvenient, be honest and schedule a time to meet or talk.
Follow through and meet your deadlines. Clients, prospects, associates and managers don't want to hear excuses for missing deadlines, not delivering on a promise or not returning a phone call or email on a timely basis. Without looking stressed and without drama or flourish, deliver on the expectation you created or what is clearly expected of you.
In any economy, the advice offered by Mary Lou, Judith, Nancy and myself will get you noticed. But now matters more.
Want a competitive advantage? You have the ability to standout! Make your image, reputation, and actions create the professional you!
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