Think about your own rules and choose the ones you can change radically.
Long have I been dreaming to give up my formal suit, throw away the tie, get both tattoo and sun-tan, build up some muscle, put on shorts and beat up the quarters at the next industrial forum or conference. Alas, corporate standards and common sense still keep limiting my boundaries.
However, there are still a number of unwritten rules for professional service firms which are mandatory for all lawyers, auditors, brokers etc. which I’ve gladly learned to violate but still benefit from it.
The main secret is – excel at following the rules first, and only then start breaking them smartly.
Only by changing from a three-piece suit can you be comfortable in jeans, because people always feel this kind of thing. You cannot trick unconsciousness. If you start making your rounds in ripped jeans, it will make you not a Bobby Akselrod, but a naïve guy who has watched too many TV series. But if for the last 10 years you have been impeccable at each meeting, writing down all the Client’s comments in your notebook, and your shirt was always shining white and ironed , and everyone is used to that, you will earn even more points for showing up to a meeting wearing a leather biker jacket. If for five years in a row you were coming in to work on Saturdays and working until 9 p.m., but suddenly check in at a sportclub at 11 a.m., you will rock. However it will work only if you feel like it, but not just show off.
Therefore this long article which by the way contradicts the common belief that short texts are better as no one reads long ones, will relate to those who already ideally fit corporate standards but are able to change and try antistandards in order to seize new opportunities and achieve better results.
Of course, you shouldn’t rush or take revolutionary road. It’s best that you try one small step at a time, following the philosophy of kaizen. Take a chance to experiment. In any case, it won’t hurt.
So, let’s start.
1. Digitalizing. You should acknowledge that everyone is talking about it. Clouds, apps, viber etc. are indeed great and handy inventions that should be used. However do you get to express your personality or charisma (given you possess one) through those? Let alone confidentiality which is obviously easier to violate online. File can be forwarded, downloaded or hacked. In this light notebook in the pocket feels much safer. Second, when it comes to professional service firms, prices, terms of contract and service are by no means the first priorities any more. Personal communications and emotions are much more important nowadays. Run semi-marathon with your Client (but only if you feel like it) and think about how many cliché greetings via Facebook it takes to know your partner that well. The answer is simple. It’s not possible to do through Facebook. If you offer tailor-made suits and your business is a boutique, you will need to look your customer in the eye. Trust me, everyone owns applications, but only some have a spark in the eyes.
2. “Boiler Room”, “Wall Street”, “Devil Wears Prada” etc. Cut it out! I know that Stallone and Schwarzenegger are out of fashion, but the majority of my partners are mostly my age. I am not intimidated to admit that I used to worship Rambo Rocky or Terminator. What is more, from time to time I can ask for information in Terminator’s “I need your cloths” manner. You will definitely get a smile in reply plus, most probably, the information you asked for. If your counterparty also cherishes the childhood memory of seeing “Terminator” in the cinema, why not talk about it without mentioning Kiosaki? To be fair, those who only start cold calling should definitely read books by Shaffer and watch “Boiler Room” first.
3. Time-management. If you diligently fulfil unpleasant tasks and keep your schedule in Outlook or in your smartphone - try to stop for a while. Do not divide large tasks into smaller ones. It well may be that you will cope with the whole thing. Try leaving from work at 3 p.m. Try memorizing your meeting schedule for a week. You will probably forget the ones you don’t really need but use the free time for the something more important.
4. Comfort zone. You have learnt to advance by constantly putting yourself in a discomfort zone. Try the opposite for a change. Make yourself and your team comfortable. You will be surprised of how hard it is and which unexpected results it will bring. It well may be that you lost the ability to be happy, though happiness is the state of mind which can give birth to lots of fresh ideas.
5. The best warrior is the one who has nothing to lose. Think about what you have to lose, what you have achieved or might achieve if you win another battle. Just try to do it rationally, and it will take lots of stress away, trust me.
6. If you jog, do not eat meat, go to a gym – do not cry to the world about it. If you don’t care about healthy way of life and enjoy mocking vegans, just keep quiet. Should you decide to share your opinion, let it be on the subject which is interesting for others. Do not brag about your hobbies, and never make fun of those who do. I’d recommend keeping neutrality.
7. Read a lot and do not watch TV. Do not watch TV anyway. However, don’t force yourself into reading. Wait till you feel like it.
Logic runs, that this article should contain ten or five points, plus conclusions and final statement. However this piece is devoted to breaking the rules, so let us stop at the seventh point.
Consider your own rules and decide which of them you can change for the opposite. Although it’s reasonable to stick to the best ones by finding harmony and enjoying your life.