If woke corporate culture is real, it’s time for men to step up their “fabulousness” as described by Dr. Ben Barry. His article was published in Harvard Business Review 4 years ago and the world has changed since then.
I’m not shy about showing up to a meeting in style. At Meliá Hotels & Resorts, the culture celebrated individuality. As an entrepreneur our success reinforced my confidence to ignore pressure to conform to a traditional male dress code. While working at Kognitiv Corporation, our acquirer, my unique style was applauded for which I’m thankful. It helps that my wife is my full time fashion advisor!
My experience suggests there is room for men’s fashion in the board room. When I stood up in a sky-blue suit at a Kognitiv AGM in a room of shareholders and in jest, introduced myself as the company fashion consultant, it received a lot of laughs. Stylish attire is a great conversation starter in almost any meeting and is well received when one wears it with confidence.
Dr. Barry suggests that when people have to mute themselves at work, organizations are missing out on evoking creative problem solving and authenticity. I couldn’t agree more. Men’s ability to express their style reflects a company’s culture. It’s time for men to step it up.
As I research companies during this “Choose Your Own Adventure” period of my career, company culture is #1 on my priority list. Here are my suggestions of how to see through the fog using LinkedIn:
Who ‘Follows the Leader’?
How many reactions do posts from the CEO get and from who? Is it a broad following at the company or a select few? If it’s the latter, that’s a red flag of an exclusionary culture.
Crickets? Or Raving Fans?
What do employees say about the culture on LinkedIn? If nobody talks about it positively, or at all, red flag. I see companies where the employees across the board rave about the culture. You can’t fake that.
I Believe You Have My Stapler
Search for people who no longer work at the company and make a timeline. Is there a constant turnover of leadership? Red flag! Contact them and ask their opinion. People are more honest after they’ve left. Don’t formulate an opinion based on one conversation because perhaps it’s the person that didn’t fit the culture. It’s the pattern that counts.
Remember, you should interview the company just as much as they interview you, so do your research!
Friday, June 11, 2021 was my last day with Kognitiv. Over the last 5 years, I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing professionals and friends, and have learned so much about business and life along the way. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all of the employees and clients of Regatta Travel Solutions. Without you, our acquisition never would have happened. I would also like to thank Kognitiv, in particular for putting employees first throughout the pandemic. As for me and my family, the future is bright and we look forward to what awaits us as we head “Into the Great Wide Open…”