A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind. Wrong! | TravelResearchOnline

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A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind. Wrong!

Are you ready for another lesson from my world?

My brother is a builder in upstate New York, and a pretty good one at that I must admit.

His latest “project” involved a demolition of an old lake-side cabin with a three-story rebuild in its place. The property owner is in North Carolina. Out of sight.

He invited me up to check out the site and I noticed that it appeared the work had abruptly stopped the day before (Friday) and that the site could use a little tidying up. It was Saturday morning and work would not resume until Monday. At first, I sensed a little hesitation in his voice. After all, it was the weekend and the owner was down south. He caved. We picked up, bundled, and moved a few piles. The work site now looked clean.

Two weeks later, my younger brother called me to tell me that the owner drove up from North Carolina unannounced the following weekend and specifically commented how tidy the work site appeared. She applauded him and his staff for their meticulous attention to detail.

Lesson #1: People are watching you all of the time whether you know it or not. Act accordingly.

Lesson #2: People are making judgment calls on your professionalism for reasons that have nothing to do with your line of work. What’s your car trunk look like? Your lunch room? Your computer room? Your basement? Your coffee room? Your briefcase? Your porch? Your bathroom?

You may be the most capable agent in the world, but if your client perceives you as something less—all bets are off. It is vitally important to make sure that your best foot is put forward even when you think no one is watching. You don’t have to believe me, agree with me or do anything about what I am suggesting. You don’t have to stay business and you certainly don’t have to make a profit. But maybe, just maybe, you might want to. Think about it, and then perhaps more importantly, do something about it. Now go clean your desk!

Mike Marchev is a non-linear thinker who makes his living shooting from the  hip. Check out his new collaborative project titled The Travel Agent Success Series www.travelagentsuccessseries.com

  4 thoughts on “A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind. Wrong!

  1. Chuck Flagg says:

    Great article Mike:

    I try to wash my car with regularity. It has been hard to keep it clean this winter, but I know as I am out and about representing me and my company, that car is extension. I want to put the most professional image I can. I never know who is looking, watching or listening.

  2. Sharon says:

    For the first time ever I have found someone who agrees with me. Cant function with a piled up desk and i also believe it is important to always look professional.

  3. John Annon says:

    It is equally possible that a client might not hire you because of the fact that you have such a clean desk. That is often a sign showing a lack of business and confidence. The quality of your work should speak for itself, but the path to get there is different for everyone. I wouldn’t say one method, clean desk or messy, is superior to another. It is ridiculous to think there is only one way to approach business.

    As an artist I can tell you most artists who are making anything worth whilein their studios live and work in a mess more often than not and I find that can translate to other businesses as well. Being part of a family printing business thats been around for 60 years through several recessions would also back that up.

  4. chuck says:

    Well, when you work in the public sphere, yes, keep a neat desk. Lawyers, accountants, etc., Also, your brother, the builder, is a tradesman, and most, if not all tradesman are neat and organized for safety and effeciency reasons. However, if you are not one of these, then no, you are not right. Most bosses (authorities who are compitent, intellegent, and accomplished) have messy seemingly disorganized desks, look up Einstein’s thoughts on it… think about 99% of your university professors…

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