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05-31-2012, 11:29 PM #1
Richard Branson on Office Ties and the Company Dress Code
Richard Branson on Office Ties and the Company Dress Code
While out walking in London recently, I passed a group of uniformed schoolchildren moving in an orderly, single-file line, with teachers in front and rear.
Nothing unusual, except for one thing that made me laugh out loud: their identical school ties. Or more accurately, what was left of them. More than half the kids had cut their ties so that only three or four inches remained below the knot.
Intrigued, I asked the teacher who was bringing up the rear, “So what happened to the ties?”
He chuckled and said, “Well, the kids hate wearing them, but school rules say they have to. What the rules fail to specify, however, is how long they have to be — so, snip-snip!”
Why didn’t I come up with such a naughtily innovative solution when I went to school?
This caught my eye because Virgin just got into the banking business with the acquisition of Northern Rock, a British bank that we are gradually rebranding Virgin Money. In British banking, few things strike terror in the heart of a customer quite as much as the prospect of facing a tie-wearing, three-piece-suited bank manager across a huge mahogany desk. So we redesigned the banks.
One of our first changes has been to start to remove the traditional counters and replace them with informal seating areas. We also thought that the staff’s formal business attire was almost as solid a barrier to customer-friendly experiences as those counters were. Our newest group of Virgin employees were told they could dispose of the ties.
This would suit me — I have always hated ties, maybe because I’ve never seen the point. They are uncomfortable and serve no useful purpose. I am lucky to have always worked for myself, and therefore have never been a victim of corporate dress codes. For years, a sweater and corduroy trousers were my standard business attire. Someone once joked, “The day Richard shows up at the bank wearing a suit and tie, you’ll know that we are in serious trouble.”
Lately I have taken to wearing a jacket, which is handy since I encounter many different climates and situations through my business travel, but I will only wear a tie under extreme duress, which usually means some ultraformal official occasion, such as the state dinner at the White House that I was fortunate to attend.
Suits and ties in an office are just another type of uniform, but in an arena where uniforms no longer serve any useful purpose. At one time they probably showed that the wearer was, at the very least, able to purchase and maintain a fairly expensive piece of fabric. Now, however, in an individualized, interconnected culture, your achievements speak for themselves. The suit and tie is an anachronism.
It used to be that the one male in the room with an open neck (which was usually me) would be self-conscious about it (which wasn’t me). Nowadays, however, I am delighted to note that it’s the man wearing the tie who is most likely to be the odd person out.
Probably one of the biggest breakthroughs in the gradual demise of the suit-and-tie dress code came, rather surprisingly, in some lofty political circles. Tony Blair was one of the first British prime ministers — Maggie Thatcher excepted — to frequently appear in public without “proper” neckwear. Now President Obama has carried it to a level where he seems to be tieless almost 50 percent of the time.
I have always prided myself on throwing out the rulebook when something proves a barrier to business — or is just plain silly. And there is no viable argument why “gentlemen” should wear ties. The best anyone can muster is: “It’s expected,” or “Everyone else will be wearing one.” One of the signs that business culture has changed is that when people arrive for a business meeting with me, often the first thing they ask is, “Do you mind if we remove our ties?” They surely never thought, “If we don’t wear our ties we’ll stand a lesser chance of getting the deal done.” So why did they wear them in the first place?
So on behalf of the oppressed tie-wearers of the world, here is my appeal to those corporate despots who still force their male employees to put nooses around their necks every day: Please think again.
Last edited by D4VID; 06-05-2012 at 04:00 PM.
06-02-2012, 02:27 AM #2
hahaha, gotta love Richard Branson, but I like my ties!2008 Honda Accord Coupe
06-02-2012, 03:08 AM #3
If there's a professional in the world today, whom I love to read about, it's Branson.
-Markus-"Silence your enemies with success"
"Tears will get you sympathy, Sweat will get you results"
06-02-2012, 06:57 AM #4
Why stop at ties?
06-02-2012, 02:23 PM #5
Branson is a cool dude however, he has zero influence on me when it comes to not wearing ties.
Incidentally, "The supreme guide (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) himself has said in a fatwa (religious edict) that the wearing of ties or bowties is not permitted"Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do
06-02-2012, 04:07 PM #6
I like ties, but I agree that there really is no useful purpose.DRINK MORE SCOTCH.
06-02-2012, 04:42 PM #7
Pin striping or graphics (excluding text or safety graphics) on a vehicle serve no "useful" purpose, but it offers the owner a way to express themselves.
Diamond stud earrings on a beautiful woman do the same.
There are so many examples of this.
I guess the point here is the word "useful" can mean so many different things to so many different people.
Last edited by BHR4CE1; 06-02-2012 at 04:46 PM.My Garage Build Thread...http://www.luxury4play.com/garage/87...e-remodel.html
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06-02-2012, 04:45 PM #8Member
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I'll often show up at a meeting wearing a tie when I know probably no one else will. If anyone mentions it I tell them I do it out of respect for them.
06-02-2012, 05:26 PM #9DRINK MORE SCOTCH.
06-02-2012, 06:31 PM #10
I wholeheartedly agree ewith Branson
I always say - "A tie is just a decorative noose..."
To me a tie represents an archaic ideal that workers are conditioned to desire to confirm to.... It even hints of servitude.
And just from a tactical perspective, you should not wear something that an attacker can easily choke you to death with"I spent 90% of my money on women, cars, and booze. The other 10% I wasted."
"I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in two-hundred-percent form." - Winston Churchill
“I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.” - Frank Sinatra