What will the future look like? Substance more important than style

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

I will not be mentioning any names, of people or organisations, but you may have noticed that there has been a certain leadership election going on.

What interested me was the furore that erupted about two issues, and how they are perceived as crucial to the matter of leadership.

Firstly, there was criticism of the absence of a tie. Not wearing a suit it seemed indicated a lack of capability.

Critics it seems have forgotten the likes of Richard Branson who’ve proved that you don’t need to wear Saville Row to be savvy.

Watch any news programs, and you will see that most of the major digital brands, that dominate the world, were formed, and are run, by very young people whose wardrobes and personal style consist of T shirts, jeans and trainers. Computer code is more important than dress code.

However an equally vocal group was quick to point out that unconventional appearance is acceptable because substance is greater than style.

Its policies, innovation and commitment that matter, not dress sense.

That makes sense, doesn’t it? If the new boss, or leader, of a business looks a bit unconventional does it matter as long as they bring in the results and galvanise the staff with their commitment and passion?

A major bank has been running a campaign which aims to help young people seeking work.

It’s a cause close to our hearts at the Chamber, and vital to West Norfolk. The advice from the bank to young people is, online and personally, to conform.

That could be confusing in a world where substance should mean more than style.

We’re going to have to let the next generations draw up the new rules.

What’s important is that we engage and enthuse young people into the world of work and give them the tools they need.

To maximize the benefit of young people in our businesses, we need to learn from them too, as they are the future!

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