I was sitting with a kind of Mentor this week as we do on a regular basis solving the worlds problems over coffee and in between social media distractions and a couple of things really hit home.  He was talking to me about his years in business and the way he made two assumptions.  1.  You are always being interviewed and 2.  They don’t think your watching.  He was talking about first impressions and the ongoing image we portray.  He was talking about how me made a lot of decisions based on this and many times was surprised at how well it worked as a kind of gauge for building relationships over the years.  Here is how….

1.  They Don’t Think You Are Watching:  The first impression to this guy was as important as anything but the way you handle yourself over time could hurt you in the long run.  For example, he always came to a meeting early to observe the person he was meetings actions from where they parked to how they entered the building.  He said he would get annoyed by a young guy parking in the first available space, as it made him wonder if this person was not going to avoid shortcuts or a quick fix.  He also watched if they held the door for someone, anyone or even was aware of their surroundings.  He felt consideration and attentiveness was key to a great employee or colleague.  He said he could learn a lot about someones personality just from watching them pull into a parking lot, hurry out of the car and get inside to the meeting and it was important learnings as well.

2.  Your Always Being Interviewed:  I love this one just because it really separates the winners from the losers.  He loved giving people a first shot and letting them prove themselves when they maybe were not qualified or he felt ready for them to have the task.  But when they felt like they were always being interviewed or vetted for the next opportunity, they performed far beyond their resume.  He talked about clothing and organization in particular.  As he continued a relationship with someone-did their outfit dramatically change from a suit and tie to shorts and flip flops?  He loved doing business with a salesperson that had the same look whether he was closing a high dollar sale or just swinging through to finish up some paperwork.  My favorite quote of his was “First of all I hate Flip-Flops on men in business.  Second if your going to wear flip-flops, your feet better be cared for by a professional”.  This couldn’t be any truer in our world.  We all want to be comfortable but not too comfortable is key.

I love spending time with veteran business people and taking away a little lesson here and there and applying it to my business.  Best of luck out there….