Bert Sadtler - President
Regardless of your responsibility as a business professional, you have selected and purchased business footwear. There is nothing to suggest it will stop anytime soon. Footwear represents function and fashion. With so much to choose from, selections made are by an individual choice and not generically “I’ll wear whatever.”
Does the care for footwear offer deeper insight beyond the sole of just the shoe and into the sole of the wearer?
While much of our in-person, professional interaction is conducted at the eye level; the foundation of our appearance is footwear.
Our shoes are the point that separates us from direct contact with the surfaces we walk on, or try not to walk on. Our shoes lead us in and out of day-to-day activities in much the same way they have done for a long time. In spite of great technical advances, members of traditional business continue to conduct their day wearing business footwear at the ground level of their overall business attire.
While money and time are spent on our hair, our face, our physique, our shirts, pants, belts, etc, doesn’t it all begin at the bottom with our shoes? …and with our shoes, it is multiple pairs, not just the one pair that fits all occasions.
We ask a lot of our footwear by walking our shoes through rain and snow, the oil and grease in a parking garage, the who-knows-what in a public restroom, the never ending path to the jet-way at major airports, into the first impression of a major business meeting and when returning home to our family.
With your shoes being the foundation of your appearance, who shines them?
Shoe shining is not complicated. It does not require a degree. It is more of a choice made by each professional. A little cream or polish, a little rubbing and a little time is all it takes.
Having your shoes shined at the shoeshine stand really does not answer the question because the shoe shiner is only shining the shoes currently on your feet. How are your other shoes being shined?
Do you choose not to shine your shoes at all? What does this suggest? Does is say that you discard shoes when they are scuffed and buy new ones, therefore you are quick to move to new things without caring for what you already have? Might it suggest that you could also lack commitment toward caring for some of your business responsibilities? Could it suggest that you don’t think anyone would even notice?
Do you have someone shine your shoes for you? This suggests that you have an appreciation for your appearance and an appreciation for taking care of your foundation. Perhaps it suggests that you are a good delegator by having someone else complete a task that you don’t have the time to complete? Perhaps it suggests that you are not a “hands-on” professional?
Do you choose to shine your shoes? By your doing it, you and you alone are transitioning them from a dull appearance back to a shinny, new, crisp look. By your doing it, perhaps it suggests the ability to be prepared for your day. Perhaps it shows that you can remove the outer coating of grime from something and focus on the remaining functional part. By your doing it, perhaps it gives you a sense of accomplishment to start the day with something at your foundation that looks its best as a result of your efforts. By your doing it, perhaps it instills a sense of pride and is an indicator that you are accountable for your business responsibilities. Accountability that includes the company you work for and the people who report to you.
The point is that shoe shining may reveal nothing about an individual. But, what if it does?
We are always seeking to pick up more insight and we are always trying to gain a competitive edge in the business world. Does the answer to the shoe shining question offer deeper insight?
If you do not shine your own shoes, do you think you should start?
What would you learn about someone if they would tell you who shined their shoes?
For example, with so many weak techniques attempted during traditional job interviews, what would be learned if the interviewer were to ask who shined the candidate’s shoes?
What could be learned during the course of a casual business conversation, if one said to the other: “Do you mind if I ask what you do to shine your shoes?”
If you ask this question to people who shine their own shoes, they will likely be flattered that you noticed and even more flattered that you asked them about it.
Perhaps footwear has become an afterthought because it exists farthest from our eyesight. But maybe it could be an opportunity to learn insight and intelligence.
Do you like what “Who shine YOUR shoes” says about you? If not, what are you going to do about it?