The lack of a tie becomes a symbol of organizational change

The lack of a tie becomes a symbol of organizational change

The lack of a tie becomes a symbol of organizational change

Loosening the ties – Lack of a tie becomes a symbol of organizational change

The end of the office dress code? Collapse of corporate dress code? The end of strict rules? Suits and ties no longer serve any useful purpose?

Dieter Zetsche – CEO of Mercedes Benz – was never comfortable wearing a tie. After conforming to the formalities of the business world for decades, the mustachioed and bespectacled Daimler chief executive has cut loose and traded in his suit for jeans and sneakers. Now everyone at Daimler can dress how they want.

Cultural change at Daimler – Kulturwandel bei Daimler

Mr. Zetsche’s fashion makeover isn’t just a personal preference. It’s a sign of broader changes in Daimler’s corporate culture.

The maker of Mercedes Benz is trying to foster a more free-wheeling atmosphere modeled after the startup culture in Silicon Valley.

But the culture change at Daimler does not stop with clothing, it takes shape in other areas as well. Daimler is realizing that their continued success requires an overhaul of the organizational culture that made them big in the first place.

The major challenges will not be clothing

The biggest challenge for Daimler will not be “loosening their ties” but changing the “invisible part of the organizational culture” – the elements below the surface of the iceberg.

The iceberg that sinks organizational change -Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg

The new looseness – From Continental to J.P. Morgan Chase

It seems that more and more German companies puts an end to the tie (Spiegel Online – German) as a part of their culture change:

Die junge Generation, die heranwächst und die wir ins Unternehmen aufnehmen und integrieren, die hat andere Ansprüche. Und das ist ein Zeichen für unsere Flexibilität. Die Mitarbeiter müssen sich wohl fühlen, wenn sie zur Arbeit kommen, ansonsten werden sie nicht ihre volle Leistung bringen –  Continental-Konzernvorstand Elmar Degenhart

Even the traditional banking industry is changing! It may be known as the home of one of the most buttoned-up industries, but J.P. Morgan Chase is letting its employees relax a little bit.

The end of the office dress code? Casual Friday the whole week?

J.P. Morgan Chase is loosening its collar, adopting a more casual dress code as the bank tries to stay in step with the tastes of clients and technology upstarts. In a break from tradition, the largest U.S. bank by assets is allowing employees to wear business-casual attire on most occasions.

Even the most staid of corporations, including General Electric and IBM, have moved away from uniforms of white shirts and dark ties.

Diving into the depths of the organization

The new looseness is one thing – diving into the depths of the organization and figure out what is truly driving the organizational culture is a completely other thing.

Organizational culture - Below the waterline - Message in a bottle

Organizational culture below the waterline - Hippopotamus in water

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

Blog Comments

Just like the Greek government: stellar results!

I like this article. It raises a number of questions for me. If we look at the change in dress cod this is very much an artefact of culture (Behaviour) . What matters even more are the deeper changes that happen such as the processes, governance, power bases, etc Yes every change needs to have clear behavioural signals but how will these go beyond their visible impact. How will they drive decision making, reward, engagement and collaboration ?

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