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Business need to adopt a flexible yet focused approach in their brand communication to diverse Asian audiences

ASIA has always been a challenging marketplace to conduct business due to its diversity and complexity.
The religion is attractive because of its sheer size and the great opportunities it offers. It is, after all the most popular continent, and home to approximately 60 per cent of the world’s population.
The problem for business owners and marketers is that Asian markets are very diverse- in physical features as well as economic, political and cultural. The ways of the people in Asia differ even within the same country and /or within the same race.
It is not just businesses from outside of Asia that find out tough to penetrate Asian markets. Asian companies may also find it hard to do business with people across their borders. Therefore, native knowledge and understanding of local market is invaluable.

Target audience
To sell well, business needs to communicate accurately to their target audience. They need to convey how their products or services best meet audiences functional needs.
This can be achieved quite easily with good, accurate translation.
For instance, a car manufacturer in Korea can translate all its cars’ specification into Thai consumers can understand the specification and determine whether the cars fit their functional needs.
It is not so straightforward when companies try to communicate the emotional value of their brands to their target audience in Asia. This calls for getting across the brand’s personality and positioning with precision.
As consumers often make purchase decisions based on product or service’s emotion values is arguably even more important than conveying its functional values.

Precise communication
The cultural diversity and hundreds of different languages used (not to mention dialects) in Asian cities can make marketing communication a night mare. The “one size fits all massaging” that marketers adopt in, say, North America will not work here. The challenge for marketers in Asia, therefore, is to ensure that their messaging does not get distorted and / or diluted when communication to target audiences in different markets.
Businesses that have been successful in Asia often start with brand communication strategy when tracking Asian markets. Communication practices are changing rapidly. Markets are becoming more fragmented, audiences are getting more sophisticated, and technology development has resulted in an increasing number of new and unexplored opportunities to communicate with customers.
Every communication attempt needs to be true to the values of the brand and its personality. Tremendous damage can be done to the brand its image if any part of the communication process is either inconsistent with or inappropriate for the character of the brand.
There are hundreds of anecdotes of how seemingly great- sounding brand names are applied with disastrous results when used in markets that speak a foreign language. One famous story is that of Rolls Royce wanting to name one of its new models Silver Mist. That was before they found out that “mist” means “manure” or “dung” in German. Rolls Royce changed the name to Silver Ghost.

Consistent message
They key to good brand communication is to be able to speak with “one voice” across markets and platforms, according to branding experts such as Dr Paul Temporal, author of Branding in Asia and Asia’s leading expert on brand creation, development and management.
Speaking with “one voice” when communicating about a brand across markets and cultures requires more than accurate translation. It means reflecting the essence of a brand rather than the meaning of words behind it when communicating in another language.
Equally important is consistency in messaging, especially when applied across different platforms. It used to be that marketing communication platforms were limited to advertising and public relations. Nowadays, communication platforms can span the following and more:
• Advertising;
• Public relations;
• Direct marketing;
• Corporate websites and new media outlets such as blogs and social networking sites;
• Sales and marketing collaterals;
• Promotions;
• Sponsorships and events;
• Speaking opportunities;
• World- of- mouth; and
• Employee morale.
Brand management is of utmost importance to any business. Branding Decisions should not be treated as trivial tasks assigned to junior staff. The management of a brand requires daily decision- making.
A business that us serious about effective brand communication should first address branding in broad- room. Top level executives need to decide on the brand positioning and values of the business, and ensure that these are effectively communicated downwards to all levels of staff. This same messing should then be communicated externally.
Business owners and marketers should also be alert and responsive to feedback from the markets. This is especially crucial in Asia, as it is the people in the markets who are in touch with local customers and partners on a daily basis who feel the pulse of the target audience.

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Winning way with words

Posted by simple | Thursday, July 23, 2009 | | 0 comments »

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Brush up your oratorical skills with techniques United States President Barack Obama uses to captivate audiences

BEFORE first- time US Senator Barack Obama delivered his mesmerizing key note address at the Democratic Convention in July 2004, the 42-years-old Harvard law graduate was virtually unknown.
Four years later, despite his lack of executive experience and his African- American heritage, he was elected the Unites State of America’s 44th president.
Apart from his formidable intellect, the cornerstone of his success was undoubtedly his oratorical skills, a gift he shares with other charismatic speakers like Winston Churchill and John F Kennedy.
Why makes Obama so charismatic? Why Americans vote him? Here is the summary of the key elements of his public speaking techniques, which you can emulate to enrich your presentations:

1 Give people hope
When your audience is facing adversity – financial turmoil, retrenchment, home foreclosures –lift their hopes. Acknowledge the situation and remind them of reasons to be optimistic.
In his inaugural address, President Obama inspired Americans to choose “hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord”. Acknowledging the huge challenges facing them, such as the war in Iraq and the worst recession since the Great Depression, he told Americans: “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and being again the work of remaking America”.

2 Project yourself as winner
Even though you are facing difficulties, act with confidence that you will overcome the bad times. Project yourself as positive and healthy.
After his defeat the New Hampshire primaries, Mr. Obama delivered a speech full of optimism that would rally his supporters. He said: “We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change ….. there has never been anything false about hope”.

3 Use rich imagery
Help your audience to create mental pictures through your words. Employ all the five senses – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste). Civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King was a master of this technique.
In 2004, Mr Obama painted a picture of what he meant by the audacity of hope: “ It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs, the hope of immigrants setting out for distance shores, the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta, the hope a mill worker’s son who dares to defy the odds, the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too”.

4 Use figurative language
A metaphor is an imaginative way of assigning new meaning to things. During the Cold War, to highlight the spread of communism, Winston Churchill described Russia as the Iron Curtain. When China fell to Mao Tsetung’s Communists, it became the bamboo curtain.
President Obama suggested that the US would be prepared to extend a hand of peace to one of its opponents is it “unclenched its fist”.

5 Employ contrast
When Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon July 1, 1969, he declared: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. The juxta- position of these contrasting images emphasized the lunar mission’s great technological achievement.
At his last rally at Manassas in Virginia on November 3, 2008, the night before the election, Mr Obama stressed to voters that a better future was in their hands. He said: “Tomorrow you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, create new jobs and grow this economy so that everybody has a chance to succeed. Not just the CEO but the secretary and the janitor; not just the factory owner but the men and women who work the factory floor”.
His message of change resonated with Americans and won him the White House.

source: i forgot sorry

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Go Back to Basics

Posted by simple | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | | 0 comments »

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Businesses that have the fundamentals right will get through the economic crisis and be well positioned to thrive in better times

Across the world, the effects of Influenza A (H1N1) are being felt business trips and events cancelled, schools closed, and a need for mass screening and meditation.
Public health authorities in most affected countries have issued notices advising people on how to minimize the risk og this pandemic escalating. The three main pieces of advice are:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing;
• Put the tissue in a bin; and
• If you feel you have a contagious virus, stay home or, at least, away from crowded places like schools and offices.
All this is sensible advice, but let’s faces it: it is what we all should be doing anyway-even with a “common”” influenza. Despite the precedents of avian flu and Sars, authorities are unable to provide specific advice for this latest health threat. So, they wisely go back to the fundamentals.
Similarly, past economic downtowns have provided little useful data for global financial crisis. However, those businesses that have the fundamentals right are most likely to make it through, and thrive when the economy recovers. In other words, just like the H1N1 flu advice: Do what you should have been doing anyway!
Two years ago, when business were booming and the greatest challenge for a recruitment firm or HR department was simply to find and place staff, engaging existing staff didn’t receive- or need- much attention.
Personality and behavioral style tests were done, but used only for recruitment, annual reviews and occasional team building exercises. Now, times are different, and these tools provide a valuable resource in staff engagement in tough times.
They will all help you identify how your staff like to be communicated with, how they respond and adapt to change and how they can best contribute.
Let’s look at how important each of these in the current situation.

Understanding this – the language employee prefer the mode of communication, the time, the place, the context, the benefits/ threats they will perceive-is crucially important when there are difficult messages to communicate.
Today, you need to over- communicate: tell them in many ways, but it’s important to do it in a way that they will respond to. This is a primary component in building trust, and trust is providing to be an essential factor in creating and building employee engagement and client loyalty in these tough times.

In good times, change is a choice the business leadership makes to improve productivity or create a market advantage. In tough times, change is often forced upon them.
This change can be very uncomfortable for staff involving down- sizing, reallocation of duties and changed rules of operation. How these are communicated to them will significantly affect how these changes are accepted.
It is also important to be aware of the likely reaction of valued staff to the change and their preferred way of having the change implemented. These changes can be traumatic- often involving the loss of long- time colleagues – so you need every resource available to avoid negative fall- out with those who remain.

In the current situation, you need staff to contribute more than ever before- with little prospect in the short term of additional remuneration. Two factors that can work in your favor – if used wisely – are trust and involvement.
One of the most important attributes that attracts employees in these times is trust. A worldwide survey on employee engagement completed in March of this year put trust at no. 2 in a list of what they looked for in a company, second only to concern for their professional and personal well- being.
One of the best ways to build trust is to demonstrate it. Take workers into your confidence about problem area- rather than glossing over the facts. Instead of compromising confidence in the business, you will find trust and commitment.
The other key factor is involvement. If staff feels they are able to contribute directly to the business’s success, they feel more engaged. Don’t just limit them to participating as implementers. Allow them to contribute as initiators.
Take them into your trust, quantify the problem and ask them to suggest a solution. Some solutions will inevitably involve scarifies or compromises by staff.
Isn’t it obvious that they are more likely to accept these is they have been involved in the decision making? This is another area where your type- testing can prove useful, because it will tell you the way in which they like to contribute and the type of contribution that is likely to give them most satisfaction.
The current flu pandemic has arrived at a time when many businesses are ready struggling. The way forward is the same: stick to the basics or, in some cases, go back to them.

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WORKING freelance means that I have had many opportunities to spend the day or days at various instructions and office venues.

At many of these, I get a glimpse of the kitchen facilities. Some of these are nothing more than a microwave on a table but some of them, especially at multinational corporations, are generous full-range kitchenettes with lots of storage space, a refrigerator, oven and even a dishwasher.

It’s a sensible provision considering how much time people spend at work. But I’ve often been frustrated to find dirty glasses mixed with fresh because nobody bothered to remove the clean glasses first, or a colony of ants because of crumbs and stains that nobody bothered to clean up.

Employees I have spoken to are quick to add the list-draining the last of the coffee pot and not bothering to refill it, leaving dishes in the sink, squashing someone else’s lunch in the refrigerator to make space for your own shopping, hogging fridge space and even stealing someone else’s food.

Obviously, this is a case of bad manners in the workspace. The office kitchen, even if it’s nothing more than a sink or

Pantry belongs to everybody.

It’s a communal a space as the meeting room, copier room or restroom. To ensure optimal use, it has to maintain properly. This means that somebody needs to be in charge.

It here is a professional cleaner, a lot of problems can be alleviated, but even he can not be around all day long to ensure proper usage.

Perhaps an employee can be appointed to be in charge of kitchen administration and liaise with the cleaning lady and whoever is replenishing supplies. In fact, this can even be a job roistered among colleagues, with the idea that nobody wants to be known as the one who maintain the dirtiest kitchen.

Some ground rules, can also be laid out:

Kitchen sink: Don’t leave used plates and coffee mugs in the sink unless there is someone hired to do the dishes. Wash and dry your dishes after use and put them in the drying rack immediately. Check in a little later to put things away.

Counter or work surfaces: Throw away your trash, making sure that you remove crumbs and stains. Don’t sue the counter to thaw frozen food that you want to warm up. Rather, put in on a plate. Otherwise, you’re producing drips as well as creating health hazards.

Refrigerator: Don’t put open or half-open tubs of yogurt, tins of soups and beverages and half-eaten sandwiches back into the refrigerator without sealing them. Food contaminates easily and leaves smells that linger.

If a food items seems to have been abandoned or is obviously past due date, throw it away. You can always leave a note explaining why this has been done.

Don’t hog all the space in the refrigerator by putting your day’s marketing in it.

If you’re going to need the fridge for an

Office party, then give notice in advance by putting up a note. Put notice in advance by putting up a note. Put a notice that the fridge will be cleaned so that people will hace time to remove their stuff.

Microwave: If you are using microwave, make sure that the food is properly covered while it’s being heated or that a window is opened to air the room afterwards. Not everybody likes the smell of curry, herbal soups or garlic. Clean up any spillage immediately as it is a harder to do so when it has cooled against the oven doors.

Labels: If you keep something permanently in the office, such as diabetic sweeteners, label it so that colleagues know it belongs to you. They can also then ask permission to use or borrow something such as a chocolate or milk powder if they know it’s yours.

Supplies: Always mare sure that there is enough plastic to line the trash can. If you realize that you have used the last of the kitchen napkins or a cleaning agent, inform the person in charge.

These tips sound like common sense but people can be inconsiderate. Just talk to any cleaning lady! You can soften these “rules” by presenting them via a poem a cartoon or a witty notice. If memos or even mentions at meetings don’t work, run a YouTube movie. Just type in office, workplace or kitchen etiquette- you’d be surprised by the range! The guilty ones will recognize themselves.

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Bob has a way of dealing with people. If a peer asks for his help, he gives only a little. If he makes a mistake, he shifts the blame. When he is told something in confidence, he often breaks that confidence. In short, Bob lacks integrity.

To become a strong and effective leader, you must gain the trust and confidence of your peers and superiors by demonstrating your integrity. Integrity is demonstrated by what you say, do, and believe.

Integrity in What You Say
The first way to demonstrate integrity is through words. Keep your promises. Whether that means maintaining a confidence or completing a project by a promised date, doing what you have said you will do is essential to your credibility.

Integrity in What You Do
The second way to demonstrate integrity is through actions. To become an effective leader, you must act consistently. Treat everyone in a fair and equitable manner, and avoid sudden displays of emotion. Moody managers and those who appear to play favorites will fail when it comes to building trust and inspiring confidence.

Other effective actions are to show support for the behaviors you want to encourage and avoid undo criticism. When you have to criticize, do it constructively. Try to turn mistakes into learning opportunities. When you disagree with something, say so, but do it in a way that shows your willingness to consider other options and ideas.

Integrity in What You Believe
The third way to demonstrate integrity is through beliefs. What you believe is reflected in what you say and what you do. When your words and actions fail to coincide with what you profess to believe, you lose credibility. As a leader, you must guard against compromising the beliefs you profess to hold. This may be difficult when you are faced with a challenge. But remember, revenge, pride and the desire to retain power are poor substitutes for integrity.

To build trust and confidence in your leadership abilities, you must demonstrate your integrity. Not in a hurried, forced, unnatural way but over time as the opportunities arise. You can demonstrate your integrity effectively by what you say, what you do, and what you believe.

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We all hear the old saying that we should 'work smarter, not harder', but how many of us actually abide by this? It's easier said than done, isn't it? Experts actually say the key to working smart is to be more effective, not necessarily more efficient. Efficiency is doing the job right. Effectiveness, on the other hand, is doing the right job! Think about that! Here are my Ten Top Tips for managing your time more effectively:

1. Figure Out When You Are at Your Peak
I know I work better from 9am to noon, so that's when I try to do my most important tasks. Figure out when you are at your prime and plan carefully around this.

2. Turn Off Your e-Mail Notifier
Do you really need the pop-up or 'ding' every few minutes? Try turning off your e-mail notifier when you need to concentrate on an important project, then you really can focus.

3. Expect the Unexpected
Block out some planning time. Everyone needs some time for thinking, so try to build in some flexibility into your daily routines.

4. Say “NO” Occasionally
Sometimes we may have to be assertive and say 'no' if something is not urgent or a priority. Saying no courteously may be seen as a strength rather than a weakness.

5. Set Priorities
Categorise tasks according to priority, for example:
1 = The task is Urgent and Important
= It's Important but Not Urgent
3 = It's Urgent but Not Important
4 = It’s Not Urgent and Not Important

6. Stay Focused in Meetings
How many meetings have you attended where people go off at tangents? It helps to be clear about the agenda before meetings, and make sure everyone knows what the objectives are. This will help you stay focused and keep the discussion heading in the right direction.

7. Clear Out Your Clutter
I know I can't work effectively if my desk is a mess with lots of paperwork everywhere. So once in a while I have a good clearing and sorting session, and I clear out the clutter on my desk, trays, drawers and files. It's amazing how much better I always feel once the clutter is gone!

8. Remember to Take a Break
We all tend to make more mistakes when we are tired or stressed, so learn to recognise the symptoms when you are flagging and take a break from your work. Yes Mom, I hear you... this is something I'm not so good at!

9. Don't Procrastinate
Tackle what's right now in the present and don't let procrastination get in the way. It's amazing how great it feels when you can tick off those items on your to-do list!

10. Adopt a Positive Attitude
Keep your mindset positive. See solutions instead of problems. See positives instead of negatives. Do your tasks with a happy heart, and smile!

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In our knowledge-based economy, information and technology can easily become outdated. Life-long learning is essential for you to succeed and prosper as a sales professional. So why are some people reluctant to embrace the concept of life-long learning?

The answer is that the learning process itself involves some measure of risk and uncertainty. To understand why and to overcome this reluctance to learn, you need to study the learning process.

Abraham Maslow, one of the predominant minds in the field of psychology during the 20th century, described a four-stage process that people go through when learning something new. These four stages are:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence

The initial stage of the learning cycle is called unconscious incompetence. This takes place when you don't know that you don't know. At this point, you have yet to realize that there is something more that you need to learn.

The second stage is conscious incompetence, when you realize how much you need to know. This stage often involves the pain of having so much to learn, as well as the fear that your income and self-worth might be affected.

It is during the conscious incompetence stage that you must cope with the urge to turn back. You are trying to learn something new, something that you are not yet proficient in. This means that your results may be less than you hope for, which causes you great stress and produces emotional pressure to go back to what was comfortable. The conscious incompetence stage is the point in the learning cycle where people are most likely to give up.

The third stage of the learning cycle is known as conscious competence. You know what you know. You have begun acquiring a new knowledge but are still conscious of the learning process. The pain of learning is leaving you.

The fourth and final stage of the learning cycle is unconscious competence, when you are no longer conscious of the skills or knowledge you have absorbed. At this stage, you have become so skilled at a particular task that you operate on instinct in performing it.

By the time you reach the unconscious competence stage, you have successfully integrated into your life habits that you were seeking to learn. You are benefiting from your expanded knowledge and skills base. But don't let yourself become too comfortable. If you are committed to continuous improvement, you will soon find yourself at the stage of conscious incompetence once again, as you discover there is still something more you can learn.

Continuous improvement and life-long learning are essential to your success in sales. When you understand the four stages of Maslow's learning cycle, you can eliminate some of the discomfort due to inherent risk and uncertainty in the learning process.

Note: (Applicable to Not Just Sales Personnel)

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"Values" is a little word with big implications. Having a clear sense of your core values is a prerequisite for living in balance and in harmony with your own needs. If your life is out of balance with your values, you can't be happy. When you talk about your values, you are not talking about something that you happen to enjoy or like to do. You may enjoy music and like swimming in the ocean, but these are not values.

Your values are the things in your life that are the most important to you and that truly motivate you.

There are Five Key Value Drivers that motivate people:

  • ContributorA contributor puts other people or an abstraction such as an organization ahead of himself.
  • LeaderA leader needs to consciously act as a model for others, setting a good example for those she works with, and believes that she can be a source of inspiration to them.
  • WinnerA winner takes great pride in personal success, accomplishments, goal setting, and planning.
  • AdventurerAn adventurer requires a lot of risk in her life. She is not happy unless she feels that she is being challenged. She finds the risk invigorating.
  • CreatorA creator expresses himself through being original. Creators like to be associated with ideas and be at the center of new developments.

You are not one thing or the other. Everyone is made up of a mixture of value drivers to some extent. But each individual has one principle, or dominant, value—this is the main motivating force for the individual. You can recognize your own main value driver by the words and phrases you use to describe what is most important to you.

Each value driver can be expressed in many ways. You may express your main value driver strongly through your job. You may also realize it through an activity, or a combination of activities, outside work.

Your values are what drive and motivate you. One of your values dominates, and your life will only feel in balance if this main driver is fully expressed. Knowing what drives you is an important step to effectively expressing yourself.

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People talk about the learning curve for acquiring a new knowledge base or skill, but most of them have never considered what this curve really looks like.

The learning process can be segmented into three stages:

  1. Set a Goal. - During the goal stage, you must establish a personal goal for increasing your sales production and earning power.

When you set your goal, aim high. Remember Napoleon Hill's words: "Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

When you set a goal, you are acting on the realization that something must change in order for you to achieve your desired end result. To achieve your goal, you may need to acquire a new knowledge base or skill set.

  1. Maintain Commitment. - As you begin the learning process, you find that you are not as effective using new strategies and skills as you were practicing your old set. The dip, or emotional pain of conscious incompetence, sets in when you realize that you have set a goal that is not easily achieved. Until dissatisfaction with the status quo exceeds the pain associated with change, it is easier to turn away from the opportunity to learn and return to your comfort zone. During this "dip" stage you must fight the urge to give up.

In the vast majority of cases, the depth of the dip in the learning curve is no more than 10 to 15 percent. In most sales situations, it takes about 90 to 120 days to reach the point where you can see yourself reaching your goal. It helps to keep this in mind.

For a period of 90 days from the time you make the conscious choice to acquire a new knowledge base or skill set, commit yourself to investing an extra ten percent of yourself into your business.

To meet the challenge and achieve your goal, give full concentration, energy, and enthusiasm to your profession during these 90 days.

Give yourself an extra half-hour to an hour daily to focus on the strategies and skills you are attempting to master.

When you have made all the calls you can make, make one more. Then make one more after that.

Set aside some time to read about and study your business. Expand your knowledge base in support of your new goals.

  1. Anticipate What To Do When Results Flatten Out. - A commitment to life-long learning means a commitment to continually looking over the horizon toward the next curve. When you realize that your results in sales production or earning power are beginning to flatten out, recognize this as the time to anticipate what needs to happen next and assess whether you need to add a new knowledge base or skill set.

If you wait too long, your business may go into decline before you begin to make the change. This can make you fall behind others in the market who have more accurately anticipated the future. Top sales professionals strive to anticipate the next growth opportunity as they become comfortable with their existing knowledge base. They know it is smart to grow from strength, as opposed to waiting until panic sets in.

Ongoing success is directly linked to continued learning. If you allow your knowledge base to become obsolete, your value in the competitive market will depreciate. You must continue to watch for upcoming trends and be ready to move along a new learning curve.

To excel in the highly competitive sales industry, you need to commit to continuous learning. To overcome the difficulties inherent in learning something new, it helps to understand the learning curve. Studying the three main stages of the learning curve can give you valuable insights. It can help you realize where you stand and what you must do in order to succeed.


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Instructions: Use this Skill Guide as a reference to help you prepare a personal accountability self-assessment.

Description of Accountability or Contribution:

Assessment Step


Your Self-assessment

Claiming Credit for Successes

A statement of success describes goals that were achieved or where you made significant progress. Restate what you set out to accomplish in just a few words. Then, describe what you've accomplished.

Accepting Responsibility for Shortcomings

A statement to accept shortcomings admits to goals that were not achieved or where no significant progress was made. Describe goals that you failed to achieve or where no significant progress was made. Report the causes, but don't blame others or point fingers. Talk about the lessons you learned from your problems or failures.

Outlining the Future

A statement to outline the future describes what you will do next to expand on your accountability. Describe any proposed changes in goals, timelines, or activities. Tell your listener how these changes will affect the organization. Finally, ask for the help or collaboration you need to correct shortcomings and achieve your goals.

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Personal Accountability: Working for Your Inner Boss

Instructions: Use this SkillGuide as a reference to help you construct a complete plan for proposing a contribution or accountability.

Plan Element


Your Plan


A contribution may be something tangible such as a report, a piece of equipment, a product, or a financial gain. It may also be something intangible such as information, shared knowledge, or training for other organization members.


A metric is a measurable standard for determining whether you succeeded or failed in implementing your proposed contribution.


Limits are boundaries that define what's included in or excluded from your contribution. Limits may describe the last step in the contribution you'll make or identify specific exclusions from your proposed contribution. If your contribution affects only some coworkers or customers, or is otherwise limited, be sure to spell out what's not included.

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People who practice personal accountability usually stand out in any organization. They display certain distinguishing characteristics that define how they relate to others in the organization around them. They define their relationship with the organization as a contribution toward the organization's goals. They acknowledge the impact that the quality of their work has on others. They answer for the success or failure of their own work.

Employees who practice personal accountability define their relationship with the rest of their organization in terms of a contribution toward the organization's goals. They display this characteristic in the way they describe the inputs to and the outputs from the work they perform. Input received from others is described as actions or needs that are part of a process. Input is not described as static documents or objects. The output from their own work is described as an input to the work of another member of the organization, or as a final product or service for a customer or client.

Another characteristic that distinguishes employees who practice personal accountability is their acknowledgment of the impact that the quality of their work has on others. They may describe how their work benefits someone else—a coworker or a customer—when the work is performed correctly. They may also describe how a coworker or customer is negatively affected when the work isn't done properly. Employees who practice personal accountability are willing to answer for their own successes or failures. They accept praise when they succeed and criticism when they fail. They don't try to shift blame for poor results or make excuses.

In the workplace, you may answer to feedback from supervisors, coworkers, subordinates, or customers. Personal accountability means being willing to answer responsibly to anyone who offers feedback on your work results. You need confidence and courage to answer for the success or failure of your own work. Many people are reluctant to seem boastful about their successes. They may be even more reluctant to shoulder the blame for a failure alone.

The characteristics of personal accountability are the behaviors that connect the members of an organization. Employees who care about and enjoy their jobs stand out from the rest. They exhibit the characteristics of personal accountability. Do you?

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Have you ever tried to make a decision without having the facts that are relevant to the issue? Could you even make a decision without knowledge of the issue itself and all its components, including those that go beyond the facts?

Learning is something you do every day. The better you understand the learning process, the better you will be able to use this understanding in the redesign of your organization.

There are five levels of learning: facts, information, know-how, comprehension and wisdom.

1. Facts - The first level of learning deals with facts—details or data which result from direct observation and research. Facts make up the most basic level of learning. Taken on their own at this level, facts have no direct application. But without facts, you cannot move on to the other levels of learning.
2. Information - The second level of learning deals with information—observational data in a usable form. The descriptions that information consists of tell who, what, when, where, and how many. With information, you can begin to make use of facts.
3. Know-how - Know-how is the focus of the third level of learning. Know-how consists of a collection of descriptions in the form of instructions. Know-how is about having the instructions you need to make use of the information you have. With know-how, you derive knowledge from experience.
4. Comprehension - The fourth level of learning deals with comprehension. Comprehension answers the question "Why?" At the comprehension level, learning is composed of explanations. When you understand why, you are better able to use the knowledge and know-how you already have.
5. Wisdom - Wisdom is the focus of the fifth and final level of learning. Wisdom is the ability to evaluate, and it incorporates values. It is essential for development. Using know-how and comprehension without wisdom can result in actions that don't work for the overall mission of the organization.

The five levels of learning build on one another. In an organizational setting, you will often need to use all five levels to make a decision, work on a redesign, or build relationships with co-workers.

Mike is the CEO of a transnational airline corporation. He has been studying the levels of learning that are currently affecting his organization.

"The facts are what happen in the company on a day-to-day basis. The facts include all planes taking off, customers arriving at their destinations, and packages being shipped. There is no way to catalog them without turning them into information."

"The information we work with includes how many planes take off every day, how many passengers arrive at their destinations, what these destinations are, how many packages we ship, and where we ship the packages."

"The know-how involved here describes how all this moving of people and baggage gets done. This level of learning deals with processes and the instructions they consist of. Without know-how, our pilots, baggage handlers, and attendants would be lost."

"Comprehension is just as vital for our people to be able to do their jobs. Pilots need to understand not only the mechanics of flying but also why it works. As CEO, I want to understand how the pieces fit together most effectively."

"Wisdom is the hardest level to explain, but it's also the most important. The company's values are rooted in wisdom. We need wisdom to make decisions about our mission as a company. Our employees depend on our commitment to our values."

Like Mike, you have to know the levels of learning and how they build on one another to make full use of them in redesigning your organization. These levels turn day-to-day experiences into something that your company can organize and use in planning and decision making.

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One of the best resources for self-directed learning is other people. However, this process is underutilized in many companies because people are hesitant to admit they don't know something or that they've made a mistake.

There are five basic work relationships you should create in your workplace. Each of them has a different purpose and distinct advantages. The relationships are based on using:

1. Formal or Informal Mentoring
2. Online Mentoring
3. Team Mentoring
4. Coaches
5. People as Resources.

Formal or Informal Mentoring

Traditional mentoring can be divided into informal and formal categories. Both of these are good sources of advice and direction, particularly in soft-skill development, career development, and in creating leadership ability.

In the more informal mentoring, the mentor and mentee choose each other and may or may not even work for the same company. In formal mentoring, a company mentorship program is established, and mentors and mentees are assigned to each other.

Online Mentoring

Online mentoring can take the form of an informal chat room, where people share a common interest in a subject. It can occur in a chat room led by an expert where questions are answered synchronously—in real time. Learners can even use e-mail to ask questions of an expert who usually answers them within 24 hours.

Some real-time mentoring
even includes videoconferencing capabilities. Below are some advantages of online mentoring:

* Because online mentoring is anonymous, learners can discuss problems in their company confidentially and without fear of reprisal.
* Chatting with others, possibly from around the world, brings depth of understanding and viewpoints not previously considered.
* Learners can use chat rooms and e-mail at off hours when their work schedules are not making as many demands on them.
* By talking with experts and others interested in a subject, learners stay up-to-date in their fields and recognize the knowledge and skill gaps they need to fill.

Team Mentoring
With the growing popularity of self-directed teams, team members are also learning to mentor each other.

Team mentoring is about knowledge sharing
, a crucial concept for those trying to maintain a competitive edge. It can involve learning skills that will benefit the group and then sharing these skills with the whole team.

Coaching is not a new idea for corporations, but traditionally it has been a supervisor who coaches his or her direct reports. Now, coaching has taken on a different dimension because the knowledge workers of the new corporation often know more than their supervisors.

Coaches should be selected for their expertise and their communication and feedback skills. Coaching provides supervised practice: It's not practice that makes perfect; it's perfect practice that makes perfect.

People as Resources

When you have a specific question about something, isn't there someone you always ask, someone who has a strong skill set in that area?

Everyone has a source person who tirelessly answers questions that perhaps should not even be asked. This is a relationship that can easily be abused.

Some people seem to encourage questions from their colleagues, but every question is an interruption in their work. Be sure to maximize your opportunities to use people as resources for self-directed learning.

When companies are demanding faster response time from all employees, mentoring, coaching, or just asking a colleague for help may be some of the most efficient ways to bridge your skill or knowledge gap.

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When it's time to take action, you have only three choices: Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Of course, "getting out of the way" is rarely an acceptable choice when there's work to be done. So the proper course of action is to either lead or follow. If you know the right way to go about it, the choice is yours. Your goal, however, should be to tailor your decisions to the company culture and supervisory style in which you work.

A company's culture determines who holds the authority to make decisions. If you decide to take the lead in taking action, you have to be sure the organization gives you the authority to act. Good etiquette requires you to observe your company's culture before you assume you have the authority to lead. Consider the following points.

* One company culture is a strict hierarchy. If workers want to take initiative, they need to work through the chain of command. The first step is to document the actions they want to take. Then they wait until they receive approval to proceed.
* A participatory culture seeks input from many levels in the organization before managers make the final call. Workers who want to take the lead can gather information and prepare solutions without seeking approval, but they should report back to their bosses.
* A company using distributed decision-making expects people to take initiative, so assertive action is welcome. People should start by talking to other workers who may be affected by their actions. They need to build consensus, then implement their decisions.

There may be times when you'd rather take a back seat and let others lead. Perhaps you're still learning a new job responsibility or just don't want to take on a new task. The solution is to provide information so others can lead.

When you make the decision to lead, you first must think about your boss's supervisory style. Some supervisors may be offended by subordinates who are too assertive. However, in most situations, supervisors appreciate workers who show initiative. If you take actions compatible with your boss's supervisory style, you'll avoid giving the impression you're trying to do your boss's job. Keep the following points in mind when dealing with the three types of supervisors: quarterbacks, coaches, or cheerleaders.

* Bosses who are quarterbacks want to be involved in everything. If you want this type of boss to take charge, just ask his advice. Before you know it, he'll make the plan, assign the tasks, and do a big chunk of the work himself.
* Bosses who are coaches like to talk strategy, but then they'll expect you to take over from there. If you want to be a follower, you'll sometimes have to ask the coach to lead. Coaches will lead as a way to help you learn, but don't expect them to change roles frequently.
* If your supervisor is a cheerleader and you want to be a follower, you have a problem. Cheerleaders stay on the sidelines while you do the work. You'll have to convince a cheerleader that you can't handle the task before he'll take charge.

As you can see, there are no simple rules of etiquette to follow when you're deciding whether to be a leader or a follower. But by tailoring your decisions to the company culture and supervisory style in which you work, you can ensure you're successful when you decide it's time for you to take the lead. What's more, you'll be able to choose the right course of action in everyday business situations.

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Which do you think is a more accurate predictor of life success: A person's emotional intelligence or a person's IQ? If you're like most of us, you'd probably guess that IQ—a person's mental intelligence—is more important. However, you'd be surprised to learn that a person's emotional intelligence is actually more closely tied to life success. Why? While IQ determines a person's memory, reasoning ability and fluency with language and math, emotional intelligence is linked with a person's moods, attitudes, empathy, and motivation. And these are powerful forces that can result in an individual's success in business or social settings.

The Elements of IQ
IQ measures a person's intellectual ability and generally remains steady throughout a person's life. Interestingly, it contributes to only about 20 percent of the factors that determine a person's life success. Traits exhibited by a person with a high IQ include a wide intellectual capacity and range of interests, confidence and fluency in expressing thoughts and opinions, a tendency to be anxious and to worry, and a critical nature. IQ is linked with the following mental abilities:

* verbal comprehension, which is the ability to understand and define words
* word fluency, which is the ability to think of words rapidly
* number facility, or the ability to do mathematical problems
* spatial ability, the ability to visualize objects and draw them from memory
* memory, which is the ability to memorize and recall information
* perception, the ability to notice details and detect similarities and differences
* reasoning, the ability to follow general rules

The Elements of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is comprised of a broad range of abilities, including awareness of one's own emotions, the ability to regulate moods, the recognition of emotions in others, the ability to motivate oneself in the face of frustration, the ability to control impulses and delay gratification, and the ability to empathize. Emotional intelligence contributes to about 80 percent of the factors that predict life success.

Individuals with high emotional intelligence are poised, outgoing, and cheerful. They have empathy for others, express their feelings directly but appropriately, and have a capacity for developing relationships. Therefore, emotional intelligence is a more accurate predictor of life success than IQ is. Fortunately, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed more readily than pure intellectual abilities. To be more successful in your job and in your personal life, strive to be aware of your emotional intelligence and to improve the emotional aspects of your life.

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Credibility is the quality that makes people trust you and believe in you. If yours is strong, you'll be well prepared to persuade others. To enhance your credibility, you'll need to do the following:

Look the Part

The persona that you project speaks volumes about your credibility. Most business people are very open to—and place their trust in—a persona that projects warmth, professionalism, and intelligence. Other image factors that can affect your credibility are your dress and your posture. If your peers prefer formal attire, follow suit. If you want to project a powerful image, adopt a strong posture.

Speak the Part
You may look the part, but if you don't speak the part, you'll lose credibility fast. To enhance the oral aspects of your credibility, you should:

* Know your subject matter—Astute listeners know when someone is using words to cover up shortcomings in knowledge about a certain subject. If you want to increase your credibility, do your research on the subject matter you're supposed to be talking about. Ineptitude is almost as bad as lying.
* Use appropriate language—Use impact words that catch listeners' attention, but take care not to sound snobbish or pompous—or inappropriately casual.
* Control your voice—Do you know anyone whose voice is baby-like or, worse yet, makes her sound dumb? Control your voice by varying the inflection of your tone, using a lower pitch, and using a softer volume. Practice by reading newspaper articles out loud.

Walk the Talk
There is nothing more debilitating to your credibility than to say one thing and to do another. Do as you say and say as you do. Sometimes events may force you to do something other than what you've said. This is unfortunate. One of the best ways to avoid this is by not making any promises. A promise may be held as sacrosanct by many listeners, and breaking it will mean trouble for you.

By improving your credibility, you'll be better able to influence other people because they'll be more inclined to believe you and what you tell them. Even if you have authority, credibility is a powerful asset as you seek to accomplish your goals.

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we are Always Learning...

Some of us "expand" our Vocabulary not just by reading, but also by listening to the spoken language - how certain words or phrases(expressions) are used in various contexts. That's a good thing. However, there is a concern!

What if the person you are listening to, mispronounces or misuses the word or phrase? For those who tend to "learn" this way, be careful not to blindly Emulate (follow) the "Example"!! (The example may not be right!)

Commonly "Heard" around our Premises:

"Wherelse"?? OR "Whereas"?

The correct word should be "Whereas".

Definition of: Whereas --> while on the contrary...

"Could you please repeat that again ..."?? OR should you just say, "Could
you please repeat that ..."?

Just say: "Could you please repeat that?"

(As you know the word "repeat" means "to say or state again". Using "again"
after "repeat" is therefore redundant.)

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When people work together, conflicts are inevitable. Some company cultures tolerate more conflict than others. But in all cultures, resolving conflicts is the only way to stay productive and efficient. It's up to you to determine whether a conflict remains a small disagreement or erupts into an all-out duel. That's why it's important to be aware of the correct etiquette for handling conflicts. To ensure you're following the correct etiquette, you can follow the three steps described below to work through conflicts.

1. State a clear point of view.

The first step in working through a conflict is to state a clear point of view. Choose your words carefully. That way you can make your position clear without escalating the disagreement. When you're discussing your own point of view, avoid using the word you. For example, don't say, "You're always late completing your assignments." Instead, explain your point of view using the word I. You could say, "I'm frustrated when I don't have the information I need to do my work."

2. Explore what's happening in the conflict.

After both people in a conflict have clearly stated their points of view, the source of the conflict becomes more apparent. The source of the problem usually falls into one of four categories.

* Some conflicts arise because people are working from different sets of facts.
* Conflicts are bound to happen when people who are working together have different goals.
* Conflicts can happen when two people share a goal but disagree about the best way to get there.
* Sometimes people agree on a goal as well as the best way to achieve it. However, conflicts can still happen if people have different priorities.

3. Propose collaboration.
After you've clarified the source of the conflict, you should identify common interests. By offering to collaborate in working toward common interests, the conflict can be minimized. You're also building a more cooperative relationship.

If the other person presents a strong case, surrender is an option. But in truth, you'll feel defeated and resentful. If you defer to others in all conflicts, you'll be less effective getting your own work done. And if you resist making any concessions at all, you might get what you want—this time. But defeating every opponent is time-consuming and creates hard feelings. You won't win any friends this way. That's why collaboration is the best way to resolve conflict.

Workplace conflicts are often complicated. You won't solve them all with one simple formula. But you can keep many small problems from becoming big ones by following the correct etiquette for handling conflicts.

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Chivalry in the business world
isn't dead; it's just changing. Within a generation, the rules of etiquette that once urged men to fuss over women, have been turned upside down. It's now a level playing field, with women rightfully asserting their power and independence alongside men. Now women are extending some of those age-old courtesies to their male counterparts. Yet members of both genders are sometimes offended by such behavior. How do you know which civilities are off the map? And how should you respond to chivalry in any case? Welcome to the "new etiquette."

Chivalry for the 21st Century
Twenty-first-century business etiquette no longer makes a distinction between which gender should do what for whom and in which situations. Instead, the etiquette of chivalry has become gender-free. It's now a simple matter of courtesy. Whether a man helps a woman, or vice versa, depends on the situation and who's in need. For example:

* The person who arrives at the door first holds it for everyone else.
* The host, or whoever asked the others out for the business lunch, pays the tab.
* If someone's struggling with his coat, give him a hand. Otherwise, allow people to put their coats on themselves.
* A person of either gender typically appreciates an offer to help carry a heavy or awkward load.
* It's still considered polite to rise to greet someone, especially in business situations in which you're greeting a client or superior. However, it's not necessary to stand each time a woman returns from making a call or visiting the restroom.
* It's no longer necessary, or even acceptable, to presume that a female business contact needs help with her chair. People of either gender who truly need help will usually ask.

Chivalry you'd best forget

Obviously, things have changed, and for the better. It's much more practical to help someone based on that person's real need, rather than to offer assistance as a form of flattery or superiority. Nevertheless, there are forms of chivalry that should be avoided. For example, some people may skew what they consider to be chivalrous behavior, or they may take it to an extreme. Some types of "chivalry" to avoid include:

* consistently offering basic courtesies to one gender but not the other
* always having to be the one to offer the civility in the first place, which says to others, "Hey, look at how proper and caring I am!"
* forcing your chivalry on people when they don't want it.

How to respond to chivalry

Maybe you don't need or want someone else to be chivalrous. What's the appropriate way to respond to chivalry in this case? It helps to be understanding. Recognize the kindness when you see it, and thank the person for the gesture. Some people are compulsive do-gooders, and you just may have to accept that in some circumstances.

Chivalry is alive
and well in the 21st century—and it's now easier to practice than ever before. Be courteous to others, but don't go overboard. Remember, chivalry is now gender-free. Keep the points listed above in mind when determining whether to act in a chivalrous manner—and accept chivalrous behavior in the manner in which it's intended. And get used to the age of new etiquette, because it has arrived in the workplace.

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Have you ever received an email that you misunderstood? Unlike face-to-face conversation, email is very easy to misinterpret as there are no facial expressions or vocal cues to aid understanding. That is why it is important that any emails you send to customers in your role as Customer Support Specialist (CSS) are well-written and concise.

You can make your messages easier to read and understand by following a system of rules often referred to as email etiquette. In the support center, it is important that you are as comfortable communicating with customers using email as you are using the telephone.

When sending professional emails, you should:

* Use proper case: Correct usage of capitalization will make your message easier to read. In email culture, words written in uppercase are considered "SHOUTING."
* Review and check for spelling errors: Email language is usually more casual than that used in a formal letter, so it's easy to approach email communication in a somewhat sloppy manner. However, a misspelled word or the incorrect placement of a comma can change the meaning of a sentence. Most email software includes a spelling tool that checks documents for errors. You should always use this spelling tool to check your messages before sending.
* Ask the recipient's permission to send attachments: Attachments can create difficulties for email recipients. They can be incompatible with the recipient's software, as well as time-consuming to download. Also, some workplace systems place limits on the size of files that can be received.
* Send only worthwhile messages: Because email is so easy to use, users generate a large amount of unwanted email. Junk email, or spam, is annoying and time-consuming to deal with, and can also slow your server down. Most business people today are extremely busy and time-conscious. They generally do not wish to receive junk email or mail that is unrelated to their work.
* Include original messages when sending replies: Unless they are reminded of what the previous message was about, recipients can lose track of email discussions, particularly long ones.
* Make the subject line specific and eye-catching: If the subject line is specific, the recipients will have a better idea of how to prioritize your email among the many others that they receive. For example, the subject line on a reply to a customer query about software installation steps might read "Installing Software."

By following the rules for email etiquette, your messages will be more easily understood, you will save time, and the recipient will be more aware of your motivation and intentions.

It is important to practice the rules of email etiquette. The use of proper case, along with the practice of reviewing and checking for spelling, will make your email messages easier to read.

Remember to check with your recipient before sending attachments over email. Send only worthwhile attachments, include the original message with your reply, and remember to include a specific subject line. These are all valuable practices that will make your email easy to understand.

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Serving Customers on the Information Expressway

The acceleration of change in today's society is having a huge impact on customer service.

What's different about the customers of today? Aside from the fact they are better educated than customers of the past, they are:

* Bombarded with far more choices due to increased levels of competition.
* Cashing in on an increasingly global marketplace that gives them even more options.
* Capitalizing on telecommunications and computer advances that are revolutionizing the way we do business.

With ways to transmit information instantaneously, customers expect quicker response times because their customers are pushing them to pick up the pace. Software now enables the company to track the whereabouts and progress of any item shipped.

Clearly, the consumers of tomorrow are being raised with constant, quick stimulation, and rapid response. These trends have "upped the ante" considerably. Competition is fierce. Customers expect us to work quickly and decisively on their behalf. They expect us to help them increase their market share and level of success.

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The clothes you wear in the workplace are as much a part of business etiquette as the words you say or the actions you take. That's why it's important to carefully consider what you wear on the job. Your choice of clothing can send subtle but clear messages that reinforce the positive—or negative—impressions of others. When making decisions about how to dress on the job, you can ask yourself three important questions, which are listed below.

1. What's the dominant style of dress at my company?
The first question you should consider is about your company's culture. During the 1990s, the number of businesses that allowed workers to dress casually—at least part of the time—increased sharply. But different companies have different ideas about what's appropriate and what's too casual. Although some companies issue a written dress code, every company has an unwritten code that determines what's expected from employees.

Generally, there are four styles of attire appropriate in companies. They are, from most formal to least formal, traditional, professional, collegiate, and casual. Traditional business attire includes dark wool or wool-blend suits for men, and suits or dresses for women. Professional attire includes blazers, skirts, and dressy blouses for women, and sport coats and ties for men. The collegiate style includes khakis, denim shirts, casual jackets, and no ties, while the casual style usually includes jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. Which style is most appropriate for your company?

2. What will my clothing choices say to co-workers?

This doesn't mean all your clothing choices have to reflect your company's style instead of your own. But it's important to recognize how your choices signal your attitudes to those around you. Different people you work with will interpret your clothing choices in different ways. Think about the signals your personal style sends. Does your clothing say you're one of the team, upwardly mobile, or a unique individual?

3. What risks am I willing to take?

No matter what image you choose, there's always a risk that someone you work with will be uncomfortable with your clothing choices. So the third question to ask reflects your goals. For example, if you're a manager who wants to get ahead, you may have to dress a little better than the rank and file to stand out from the crowd. If you want to stay in your current position for quite a while, you may decide to dress casually, like most of your co-workers.

And what if your personal preferences are vastly different from the prevailing style at the company? Shouldn't you express your individuality and dress the way you want? Well, a few eccentric geniuses and artistic visionaries can get away with ignoring the etiquette of business attire. Everyone else, though, should carefully consider the impact of their decisions.

Asking yourself these three important questions about clothing etiquette doesn't mean you can't express your individual style. But your answers to these questions will help you recognize the impact of your decisions on the people you work with. By asking yourself these three questions and carefully evaluating the clothes you wear on the job, you'll be meeting the requirements of business etiquette established by your company.

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