I recently visited a client that I had visited a number of times over the past couple of years. Immediately when I entered the front door, I knew something was different. My initial reaction was very positive and after being inside for several minutes, it came to me the reason for my positive impression. The company owners had cleaned the inside thoroughly (both offices and shop area), painted the walls, and purchased a few updated, nice looking (though not expensive) pieces of furniture. It reminded me of a statement by Steve Jobs when he was asked about his obsessive concern over the look of his Macintosh factory. He said, “I’d go out to the factory, and I’d put on a white glove to check for dust. I’d find it everywhere-on machines, on the tops of the racks, on the floor. And I’d ask Debi to get it cleaned. I told her I thought we should be able to eat off the floor of the factory(Isaacson, p.183).” Appearances mean something for the following reasons:
- Indicates Quality– A company that is concerned about order and cleanliness most likely is taking the necessary steps to ensure its products and services are the highest quality possible. It can be an outer indicator of the internal process.
- Demonstrates Discipline– It takes a great deal of discipline to build a successful and great company. Companies that achieve at high levels are focused even on the appearance of their facilities. Again Steve Jobs, commenting on his factory, said, “If we didn’t have the discipline to keep that place spotless, then we weren’t going to have the discipline to keep all these machines running(Isaacson, p.183).”
- Positive Impact on People– People who work for a company that maintains appearances are more proud of the business, take more pride in their work, and consequently produce a better product or service for the customer.
Appearances are extremely important. Higher quality, discipline, and a positive, energetic, proud workforce will help drive the value of your business to higher levels.
*Isaacson, Walter, (2011) Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson