“Be proactive” and “Synergize” are among the habits in Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the business bible that has sold more than 15 million copies. “Brownbag it” isn’t.
But it could be, according to a survey of 561 senior executives across the U.S. titled “Emulating the Big Cheese,” released this week by CareerBuilder. The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, adds a few more habits — habits that are both more specific and more counter-intuitive — for corporate ladder climbers to consider.
Don’t wear suits. “Business casual,” a phrase that makes many fashion mavens shudder, was the look preferred by 63% of respondents. Even “jeans or shorts” — at 18% — beat suits, which came in last, at 14%.
If you’re female, wear black; if you’re male, don’t — wear navy blue. Fifty-one percent of women respondents said they typically wore black, and only 18% of men. Forty-one percent of men said they typically wore navy. If you’re wearing pink or red to work, perhaps as part of a campaign to “stand out,” reconsider. Less than one percent of respondents said they wore pink or red.
Don’t drink at company events or “happy hours.” Don’t even go to them. Almost one-third of execs said they didn’t drink at company social gatherings, and one-fifth said they avoided them altogether. If you do partake, stick to wine and beer, the choice of almost half of drinking respondents. Only 3% said they did shots, an illustration of the degree of difficulty of going head-to-head on Cuervo with Mitch from Purchasing and not ending up being Mitch from Purchasing.
Pack your lunch. Forty-one percent of senior execs said they brownbagged their lunch, a curious clash between pay grade and home economy. (Maybe they spent the money they saved on their SUVs, the most popular transport of respondents.) Twenty-three percent said they normally didn’t have lunch at all, raising questions about the size of their breakfasts, the timing of their dinners, and if they were human.