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When the Boss Says Wear a White Polo…Wear a White Polo!


bradgphilbrick@gmail.com
I always enjoy hearing stories from others in the business world.  Especially enjoyable is to hear tales of leadership, employee relations, and productivity.  Employers hire employees to produce.  Of course, that is simple and not profound at all.  Yet I hear so often, anecdotes where employees miss the mark.
The owners and good friends of mine run a consulting firm, specializing in providing local government services to ensure program revenues, and I were having lunch one afternoon.  The topic came up of hires, both good and bad.  Bad hires are surely frustrating at the time, but looking back, they are often amusing tales.
Their consulting firm was growing.  It was also soon time to attend several conferences to further promote their services.  After conducting many interviews with several candidates, they had decided to make an offer to Timmy.
Nobody was going to be in the office.  It was their first conference of the season and the entire team was attending.  Timmy was told explicitly to wear a white polo and khakis.  The company had logo polo shirts, but none yet to provide to their new team member.  But he would look good, fit in with the company, and be professional wearing a white polo and a conference name badge.
Everyone is at the conference, preparing the booth, and some networking with other vendors has begun.  Timmy arrives, not in a white polo as directed, but a purple one.  I raised my eyebrows and showed disgust when I heard this.  “Oh, but it gets better,” my friend tells me.  Timmy was asked why he wore purple when clearly was told to wear white.  Timmy’s response was “Well I felt white was too boring, and I wanted to wear some color.”
“Turn around and look at those people over there at that booth!” he was commanded by my friend.  “And what color are their polo shirts?” she questioned.
“Well, they are wearing purple like mine,” he said in a smug manner.
“That! she exclaimed,  is our competition.”
Timmy was directed then to go to the office and simply answer the phone.  There was no way he was going to be allowed wearing the competition’s color at the conference.
Timmy did some other “amazing” things too, wearing an ostentatious necktie declaring his faith and the desire to permeate the office air with his potpourri.  It was not long before Timmy was let go due to his non conforming and insubordinate attitude.
It should be simple.  If the new boss says to wear a white polo….wear a white polo.  There must be a reason.