Of Black Turtlenecks , Blue Jeans and Apple.Inc

Steve Jobs was a wise man. Irrationality is wisdom too, if it can put to good use. In this case, to create a technological Giant called Apple.Inc, the most influential technology company of our times. There are a few unconventional elements that clearly went into the making of this super-shining technological company. One of them clearly was the black T-Shirts and Blue jeans. The dress code which the then CEO, Steve Jobs and the then and now Apple employees, in the apple stores (the kind of employees that actually come into contact with the customers), adorn, both with equal pride.

This might seem to be a very simple and easily replicable strategy. Then why is it not easily done by everyone else? The challenge, curiously, does not rest with the frontline employees. They are, unfortunately not in a position to choose what to wear, hence any nicely done uniform sporting the brand logo will do just fine for them. It's then upto the CEOs to make the move, and to drop those pricey lustrous dark Suits. The art and the wisdom is in empowering the frontline employees.

Just imagine this and it will be all clear. Imagine your company's CEO making sure that he/she wears exactly what you wear every single day, and chose to do so for the rest of his/her life. You wear blue, he too does. You wear green, he does too. How would that make you feel? That's how they feel.

" Man 50%, dressing 50%" is the crude translation of an old Tamil (A Dravidian Language of the Southern India) saying. So if not anything else, you are 50% of what the CEO is, going by your dress code. The discretionary decisions that the frontline employees, "the biological-living faces of the brand", make with the customers can be roughly weighed to be 50% percentage of what the CEO makes in keeping the company healthy, alive and profitable. That's psychological employee empowerment at play, with just one party knowing how it all fits and works. Or may be both parties know it, but accept it happily, keeping their egos aside. Whichever be it, it does work.

Photo courtesy : Flickr user - http://www.flickr.com/photos/crashmaster

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