Martin was waiting in the conference room when I arrived. He had a single sheet of paper in front of him.
“That was easier than I thought,” he started. “I simply observed the way my team members dress, and it was curious how quickly I noticed the difference between my top performers and the rest of my team.”
“Observing physical characteristics can give you important clues about a person’s value system. People communicate a great deal about themselves without speaking a single word.” Now it was Martin’s turn to nod his head.
“Does this have anything to do with habits?” he asked.
“What are you thinking?” I replied. I could see the wheels turning.
“Well, the fact that my top performers dress differently, I mean neater, cleaner, more polished, is not because they consciously thought about it. It seems that is just who they are. And it comes out in their work product. A person who takes pride in their personal appearance, also takes pride in their work product.”
“Why do you think that happens?”
Martin paused. “I am beginning to see a clearer connection between values and behavior. Even if people don’t think about it, consciously, that’s why they do what they do.”
“So, how important is it, for a manager, to understand the value system of team members?”