Monday Buzz: Dress for Success (Any Way You’d Like)

An expert on organizational culture makes the case that dress codes should serve a purpose for your association. Also: why virtual meetings struggle to compare with the real thing.

Dress codes have traditionally been a hard-and-fast rule for many organizations. But do they really have to be? And who says that jeans make an employee less competent?

In a recent piece on Association Success, consultant and culture expert Jamie Notter argues that many dress codes are too stringent, citing two common examples: rules that require men to wear ties and rules that bar any employee from wearing jeans.

“There is no right answer once you get into the details. It’s all debatable,” Notter writes. “And trying to figure out whether something is a sweater or a blouse is a huge waste of time, because it’s avoiding the underlying question: What purpose does your dress code serve? Or, put another way, how does your dress code drive the success of your organization?”

Notter contrasts the laissez-faire approach of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, which has a single dress-code directive: “No nudity.” Easy enough to follow, and the rule is driven by the needs of individual employees, with the goal of boosting productivity. “The CEO believes that the organization will be more successful if he supports the authenticity of the employees,” Notter writes.

Maybe that approach isn’t for you, but basing your dress code on actual benefits rather than simple hunches seems smart. Same with anything else your organization does, for that matter.

Virtual Problems

Virtual events have become a staple of many association learning programs as a way to engage people in education without all the headaches of travel.

But meeting designer and facilitator Adrian Segar, who puts together sessions with a focus on in-person interactions, sees a problem that he just can’t shake. Riffing off a May article in The New York Times about virtual shareholder meetings, Segar concludes that online meetings will struggle to replace the real thing.

“Online meetings offer a convenient and low-cost way to receive content, and they can provide limited interactivity,” Segar writes in his latest blog post. “Yet you can also abandon one with the click of a mouse. Such meetings require little commitment, so it is harder to successfully engage participants when the cost of leaving is so low.”

That’s a tough balance to strike.

Picking up on a sign. The Wild Apricot blog shares the story of Kim Elliot, an association member who realized her group had failed to cash her renewal check. That revelation led her to take over at the association—and revitalize it, big time.

Return to sender. Do you sometimes wish you could undo a send in your Outlook email? This article from Lifehacker explains how to set up that option.

Aiming for the jugular, CMS Wire contributor Sam Marshall gets snarky with his piece “7 Foolproof Ways to Make Your Meeting Rooms Suck.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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