Dear Mr. Molloy:

I’m a 37-year-old woman and a software engineer with 10 years experience. I took off five years and had two children. Seven years ago my mother moved in with us which enabled me to go back to work. I have just been put in charge of a team of six software engineers, and 22 support people,. Our job is to support the research and development people. When they come up with a new app or a new method of handling a particular problem our job is to find flaws in the software they have developed. We also at times become directly involved in research and development when the primary team discovers that they are being overworked. I simplified my units duties, we are also a training ground for future research and development people but it is not necessary for you to know every detail of what we do to answer my question.

This is my first management job so I am understandably moving cautiously. The one thing I discovered the first week was that the young people coming in today do not have the work ethic of people who entered the workforce 15 years ago as I did. It’s not that all of them are lazy but when they arrived they all seem to have the same attitude “mediocrity is good enough.” At first I thought it was me. As a woman I did not think I had the ability to motivate young men but I discovered, the man who held this position before me, had the same problem. I think I partially solved the problem when I notified everyone working for me that I was dividing the people who work in this unit into winners and losers. The winners would get raises and bonuses as well as a recommendation for positions in research and development. The losers would be sent to sales, customer support and a number of other positions where their education would be useful but they wouldn’t be doing R&D.

My question is how can I avoid hiring losers. Everyone in my unit had top grades in school and most of them went to good schools, which means they had to work in school. Are their any other indicators

that someone will be a good worker.

Name and address withheld

Dear Woman Engineer:

Believe it or not it is a common problem and I think I may have the answer but I’m not sure. Companies today are finding it more difficult to find motivated young people. I’ve been getting letters from client corporations for about four years on the subject. Although I no longer have an interactive relationship with client corporations, a year and a half ago I did. As a result, when a letter came in it was read by people in a dozen corporations. The reason I did this was it allowed my client corporations and individuals in them to voice their opinion about a variety of problems. This was one that literally opened a Pandora’s box. A number of companies faced the same problem but they handled it very differently and of course each was convinced that their way was the right way.

Most solved the problem by insisting that their people become competitive. When possible they divided these new employees into teams and gave a variety of incentives to work diligently on team projects. They also rewarded hard work and productivity on the part of individuals and as you did punished those who did not live up to the company standards.

However. one gentleman asked himself the same question that you asked me. The reason the question occurred to him is that his son played on the soccer team and was given a trophy for showing up. When he asked his son what he thought about it he said it was as good as the winners trophies. This gentleman was an executive in a high-powered high-tech company and his sons comments shocked him. He explained to me that just a year earlier his boy was very competitive and wanted nothing more than winning and would settle for nothing less.

When he asked around he found two women who worked for the school league had introduced the idea of participation trophies several years ago. He complained to the league official but was ignored. A month later he went to the school board meeting and explained in some detail why giving out trophies for participation was a poor idea and taking the winning trophies away from the winners was even worse. He said they were teaching their children that losing was as good as winning and in this world it is not. In short they were training the kids to accept defeat and in the real world that would make them losers.

I agree with him and if you do to, you should take steps to see if your child is in such a program that the program is changed. You will undoubtedly be attacked by the politically correct or as I refer to them politically corrupt. Don’t be intimidated although they are loud, in most communities they are a minority.

Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Dear Mr. Molloy:

I am a software engineer and recently my team created an app which will help companies monitor individual product sales in retail outlets. Until now most manufacturers only record of retail sales was calculated by keeping accurate records of the items they sold to individual stores. Using our new app they will be able to trace not only when, where their products are being sold but who is buying them. Since using this application requires a degree of sophistication usually not found in most merchandising operations I have been asked to speak before retail organizations and individual retail establishments .

I am a 36 year-old woman with a good figure who dresses very well. I believe that it’s the primary reason my fellow engineers chose me to speak to these clients. By obeying your kiss rule (keep it simple stupid)when explaining anything to an audience and using humor I have been very successful. My only problem arose when I spoke to an organization in California in which every member of the audience was asked to critique the speakers. While my critiques were generally positive a substantial number commented that my outfit was poorly coordinated. This shocked me because before going stage I carefully check myself before a full-length mirror and I assure you my outfit was beautifully coordinated. Obviously my concept of coordination and that of people in the fashion industry is very different.I am wondering if there are any color combinations that please everyone?

L.J. Dallas Texas

Dear L.J.:

There are colors and combinations that seem to please almost everyone. For men in business if their primary garments are solid navy blue , medium blue, bankers gray, medium gray, light gray, beige with a touch of gray in it, dark brown, medium brown, tan and khaki that seem to offend no one. Women in business can be visually as effective as men if they wear the same colors men do, in addition they can be even more effective under certain circumstances if they wear red, maroon, light blue, taupe and conservative versions of most colors. If the men combined those suits or slacks with white or blue shirts they will almost never go wrong. There are too many colors and shades of color that the women can wear and be effective to list here. When women hear this they are usually overjoyed but they must realize that even a slight change in a shade of color can destroy their authority and credibility.

I answered the question you’ve asked in an abbreviated form because I don’t think you asked the right question. When speaking on stage the primary image mistake made by most speakers is they coordinate their clothing so that they look good in the mirror, instead of to the audience. What you must keep in mind is audience members will be 5 to 200 feet from you depending on the size of the room. Patterns cannot only make it difficult to look at the person on stage it can destroy their credibility .I have not researched Hillary’s look but I believe a suit with strong check that Hillary often wears hurts her credibility with some audience members .

I first tested the effect of patterns worn by a speaker when I was packaging a women candidate for state office in California. When I first met her she wore two identical beautiful, expensive, tasteful plaid suits. She had a second one made because she assumed it announced that she was a substantial person and a legitimate candidate. However, when we tested that suit’s impact on audiences we found that it sent a very strong negative message. About 11% of the three audiences we tested couldn’t look at her for more than two minutes, after that they closed their eyes, looked away, fidgeted or left. |After a half an hour half the audience was fidgeting and looking away,. Once we put her in the solid navy suit the problem disappeared but it was too late she had been running wearing that suit for months and that’s the way most people pictured her in their minds. If she had called me six months earlier I think she would have won the primary that she lost.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

It seems Carly Fiorina is reading your blog, she is finally wearing serious suits.

Name withheld

Dear Reader:

When she first debated she dressed in a very feminine dress. Good choice it made her stand out from all the men. Every outfit she’s worn after that has been a mistake. If the winner of the Republican nomination chooses her as a running mate, he should insist that she hire a new image consultant.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



In companies where jackets and ties are hardly ever seen the problem faced by most men are what type of shirt should I wear. Because even casual companies have begun to recognize the impact of their companies image on the bottom line and through the not-so-subtle methods have communicated this to their people. Particularly those who regularly visit their clients. Some casual companies have even mandated the material,cost, pattern, workmanship and fit of employees shirts because they found a mistake in any of these areas will be obvious to any executive who dresses well, whether he’s in a casual or traditional company.

A business shirt should be made of 100 % non-wrinkle cotton or appear to be. Men with money and power almost always wear 100% cotton shirts because they are soft and rich looking and keep the wearer cool and comfortable in the summer and warm in the winter. If you buy a standard 100% cotton shirt it will wrinkle and you may look inept to some. You may have to purchase those shirts if you travel because hotels usually send all suits and shirts to a local dry cleaner. If you send non-wrinkle cotton shirts to dry cleaners they may not be wrinkle free after being dry-cleaned. High quality cotton shirts in a good store retail for about $70 but they often have sales. The more expensive shirts are usually dyed very subtle colors. As a result, a shirt with subtle colors is usually a good shirt and a sign of status and class. Harsh electric shades of color immediately identify the wearer as someone without power or expertise. Never wear one.

You should pay as much attention to the fit of your shirt as you do to the fit of a suit. If you have recently lost or gained weight or time has rearranged your shape, you must be measured again. Go to a local high quality men’s store and and ask to be measured by an experienced clerk before you buy your next shirt. He will give you your neck and arm measurements. But keep in mind you must also take into account your weight and height. Shirt bodies run from very tapered to vcry full, You may have to try on several styles and brands before you find a shirt that fits.

Up until now, I have been discussing buying good shirts from upscale stores. If in this tight economy you have to watch your pennies, you can still buy shirts that fit. You are going to have to pay more attention to the shirts you are buying. Your aim is to have your shirts fit snugly, lying smoothly against your body– no bagginess or bunching— but it should remain loose enough to allow for strenuous movements.

There are two additional hurdles you must overcome if you wish to wear shirts that fit properly. The first is the average length of a dress shirt. Many stores and manufacturers have cut down on their inventory by replacing sizes 15-32 and 15=33 with size 15 32/33. They will tell you that this is not a problem because they put an extra button on your cuff. Actually these shirts are closer to 15.-33 so you have shorter arm the shirt will bunched up at the cuff. When you are wearing a suit jacket you can get away with this but if you’re not, you can’t.

Another problem buyers face is that some of the better stores and top designers are selling shirts that may pop out of your pants because they do not have tails or are cut too short. Unless you stand like a statue at work avoid these. One of the ways to check the length of a shirt, when the store does not allow you to try it on, is to count the buttons. A good shirt will have a seven button front..

Of course, you should choose a flattering collar style . I will deal with that in more detail and explain the advantages and disadvantages of buying custom and semi-custom shirts in a future blog,

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Approximately 20 years ago I was hired by a construction company to train their salespeople, engineers and construction experts who had to sell their ideas to corporate clients. They hired me to run a three day sales training course which I had taught earlier to several of the executives in this company. The first day I ran a sales training session at which individuals attempted to sell in front of the group who commented on each presentation. That took up the morning, in the afternoon we ran training sessions with individuals. The second session was designed for those who hired new salespeople, conducted in-house sales training and ran the sales departments. The third day would be spent training technical people who were called upon at times to sell their ideas to customers.

After the first session I spoke to the president of the company. I told him I felt that I was wasting my time and his money. The nature and sophistication level of the questions let me know that I was dealing with an audience that already understood almost everything I was telling them. He reassured me he thought the session went wonderfully and I had filled in some significant gaps in their training. He went on to explain that he was a devoted fan of my books and my blog and made it a point of listening to me whenever I appeared on radio or TV. The information he gathered he used in image training sessions and as a result he went from making $120,000 a year to a seven-figure income and this year he is expected to make eight figures. After some discussion, I agreed to stay the next day to give a shortened version of both presentations. Since I was going to be staying only one day the president insisted that I stay in his guest house and he was such a pleasant gentleman, I immediately accepted his invitation.

Even though it was close to midnight when we arrived and I couldn’t see much of the house it was impressive. The next morning I had breakfast with his wife and his three children whose ages ranged from 12 to 17. He introduced me to his children as the man who helped him make money and the minute he did one of the youngsters said “I wish he never had” and his wife shook her head in agreement. It struck me as a strange reaction but I did not comment until we were driving to the office. I asked him why his wife and his eldest daughter reacted negatively to his making money. He said they had bought his two million-dollar house six months earlier and his wife and children were finding it difficult to fit into the new community.

I immediately knew the problem because I had run across it before. Ordinarily I would not have volunteered for the job because teaching families from limited backgrounds to fit into upscale communities is the worst job in the image business. I’ve run dozens of these training sessions for the families of key executives and client corporations and hated 90% of them even though I liked most of the people I was teaching. The problem is usually the children, particularly teenage girls. They start with the belief that there’s nothing you can tell them that they don’t already know, which makes the job very difficult. The only good part of the job is afterwards I often received a note from one of the girls thanking me for helping her.

The reason I bring it up is it is a common problem today for corporate America. As I pointed out in earlier columns, our society has become so dependent on technology that techies from all backgrounds are becoming executives not only in high-tech companies but in non-technical ones as well. One of the reasons that companies in the past hired and promoted only those who dressed in an upper-middle-class executive style is they believed it indicated they came from sophisticated backgrounds. If they came from a country club background there were several things that they almost invariably did right. They used language in an upscale manner and were usually more articulate than those who came from lower and lower middle class backgrounds. People from upscale backgrounds have more extensive active or spoken vocabularies and if they come from a part of the country with an unfortunate local accent they usually have an acceptable version of that accent. That made it easier for them to communicate with, associate with and sell to the people who run America. When they hired people who dressed improperly the companies found they were likely to find it difficult to move in the circles where they could influence the movers and shakers in most communities which in many companies is an essential part of being an executive.

The original “Dress for Success” was published in 1975. It was the first time in America that young people could go to college and not learn how to dress and act in polite society. Dressing in an upper-middle-class style and learning to conduct oneself properly in society was part of most college environments before the anti-establishment revolution of the sixties . That is one of the reasons the dress for success books sold millions of copies.

The second reason I’m discussing the impact of being well mannered and well dressed today in companies with what is euphemistically referred to as casual dress codes, how you dress and act is now more important than it was in traditional companies. If you work for a company and you think it has no dress code, you’re wrong, it does have a dress code for winners. Similarly, if you believe that your table manners , how you act, speak and conduct yourself when you are interacting with others does not impact your future, you are sadly misinformed. That is why in the future in this blog I will be talking about socioeconomic message systems and how important they are to your success. Which means you do not have to limit your questions to dress.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



I received the following letter about four months ago.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

Last month I received my first employee review that contained a negative comment and it shocked me. The comment made by my direct superior was that I should polish my executive image. I have no idea what that means I’ve been dressing according to your suggestions for the past 23 years and in several earlier reviews

I received positive comments about my image, particularly about how I dress.

The reason I’m concerned is in about a year and a half my competitor or I will become department head. I believed up to that point I was ahead of him. Can you tell me how I can go about discovering what I’m doing wrong?

CN Toronto, Canada

I told him that he could do one of two things ask his boss what he meant by that comment or videotape himself and the other candidate for department head walking, sitting and standing. If you ask your boss to be more specific about the problem or you study the videotape you made, you will probably have a good idea what it is. At that point all you have to do is go to work.

In a majority of cases receiving a negative comment in a performance review is not the end of your career or even a bad thing. In fact, most of the time, you can use it to your advantage. When your superior points out a mistake if you correct it he will be impressed. The majority of executives who make negative comments are hoping their subordinates will listen to them and improve. If you do exactly that, it will tell your boss that you have been listening and believe his opinion is valid.

Two weeks later I received a second letter from the same gentleman. He said his competitor was a graduate of West Point and his boss told him that he always looked like he was in charge. He said he was a far better worker than his competitor but somehow didn’t come across as a natural leader. With the letter he included the video he made. The minute I looked at it I saw his boss was right. His competitor carried himself as if he were in charge because that’s what they teach at West Point. I sent the fellow who was slouching a series of exercises he could do to improve his posture. I emphasized that he would have to work diligently because it was going to be difficult for him to learn to instinctively carry himself as well as the West Pointer. He’s been working at improving for a little over a month and he sent me a disk which made it look as if he may succeed.

I’ll start by telling you that I’m not going to suggest that the students at Harvard Business School march to class in formation. However, I will suggest that students at Harvard and all other business schools as well as potential leaders from other backgrounds work at improving their posture. Good posture is as useful to potential corporate leaders as it is to future military leaders. In the past I have convinced some of my corporate clients to have me conduct sessions on good posture. Although the idea was met with some resistance, it now is well accepted as in-house training for executives. Today, many corporations draw a majority of their leaders from a relatively small group, those from the upper class and the upper middle class backgrounds. In an age when technical expertise is becoming more important and many top technical people come from limited backgrounds corporations must find ways to include them in their executive ranks.

30 years ago I ran a little experiment, which proved that posture is an important factor in moving up in corporate America . I drafted men most of whom were from the upper middle-class and had appropriate executive carriage and had them after a short practice go back to their respective offices and start rolling their shoulders and shuffling at work. I then asked them if the people around them responded to their lower class posture. In less than a week we had two of them tell me that the response was obvious and negative. One gentleman refused to go on with the project because he thought it would hurt his career. Since this project took place 30 years ago I decided to redo it but because the results were so one-sided I used a much smaller group. The results were the same. If you have lower class or even lower middle-class body language you will not be thought of as capable as those who carry themselves in an upper-class manner. Which only proves Pavlov was right that we are all conditioned by our environment.

Since 30 years ago, women were only beginning to break into the executive ranks we used a limited number of women in the original test. We made up from our shortcomings in the past by testing as many women as male executives. We discovered two things immediately. First, a substantial percentage of women from both lower class and lower middle class backgrounds had excellent posture. Nevertheless, it continues be a problem for women because those who do not have executive body language suffer the same fate as men,

Correcting poor posture is a relatively simple task, but is not easy to do. If you are male, when you get home tonight role up two washcloths and put one on each shoulder. Then go about most of your normal activities. Use common sense, do not try to eat soup or do anything else that silly while balancing those washcloths. In fact, our students advised not to try to eat anything at all until you fully mastered keeping those rolled washcloths on your shoulders. The women have a task which is easy to explain, but far more difficult to do. Like a young lady in an 18th-century finishing school you are going to have to balance a book on your head. The reason you have to do this is good posture for a woman requires that she keep her head erect. Naturally, you are going to have to be more careful than your male counterparts because books can and have destroyed not only dishes but glass coffee tables, antiques and other valuables.

Balancing a book on your head is not a task exclusively for women. If you’re a man, and your neck is usually bent forward, you’re going to have to correct the problem by balancing a book on your head. Similarly if you’re a a woman and were raised in an unsophisticated environment or for any other reason have poor posture, you should start by balancing wash cloths on your shoulders.

As I said it is simple but not easy. Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Dear Mr. Molloy:

I am a 52 year old executive in a marketing firm. I worked for this company for the last 24 years and I have over that time developed a reputation as one of the more creative executives in the organization. I did so by developing marketing programs for large corporations which were so successful, that one is being used as an example of good marketing in Masters programs at several universities.

Nevertheless, I face a major problem. Three weeks ago I made a presentation to the executives of one of the largest computer companies in the world. In the end I sold the program but it took a great deal of effort and there is no reason that should have been the case. In the past, when I made similar presentations the reaction of most clients was that I was interesting, innovative, even when they did not buy my proposal. I definitely did not receive that type of reaction from either that client nor the second client I met one week later. I felt like I was 24 and starting over again, they questioned the most fundamental things about my presentation.

I’ve been a fan of yours for many years and decided to research my problem. I have seven engineers in my department and I gathered them together and asked if I had changed my presentation in the last year. Four of my most senior engineers said they saw no difference in my presentations over last year. Three disagreed, two said that I lost some of my enthusiasm and the youngest member of the group said that I had changed from salt-and-pepper to gray since he arrived three years ago and that made me look older. I dismissed his comment because he thinks everyone looks old, including two of the other senior engineers In addition, I’m in excellent shape and have a young face. After some discussion, the consensus was that I didn’t dress as well as I did a few years ago and that I should upgrade my wardrobe. Two said I chose the wrong colors because I’m very fair and sometimes with my gray hair and white shirts I look washed out. Almost everyone agreed that sometimes l look bland.

I would like your input and your advice. Particularly, about what type of clothing I should wear when making a presentation and other ways I can improve my image. Please don’t tell me to dye my hair. I am never going to do that. My wife dyes hers and it’s a constant job.

JD Chicago Ill.

Dear JD:

Doing research is usually a good way to approach a problem but in your case, it is not. The whole idea of the man in charge asking those who work for him to give honest feedback on anything he does is silly. If you were asked by your boss to give him feedback on his dress, clothing, approach, etc. your main concern would be your career not his. As a result , you would not say anything that might annoy or upset him. I assure you, your subordinates approached your questioning with the same thinking. The information you think you have collected is invalid. You cannot trust it and you shouldn’t let it affect the way you act, dress or conduct business.

If a man your age has a pale complexion and wishes to be seen as an authority figure he should stick to dark blue and bankers gray solid and pinstripe suits. In addition, you can wear suits that are more lively when you’re not making presentations. You want your image to be consistent or you will lose credibility with your own people. Lively but traditional plaids, earth tone tweeds and more vibrant linens in the summer will serve this purpose very well..

If white shirts are unflattering, you can wear pale blue .Pale pink is also a suitable option if it is worn by others in your company. Of course, thin crisp navy stripes would work as well.. If you’re looking to liven up your image just a bit, choose a maroon stripe, solid yellow or beige shirts worn with a navy blue suit and a contrasting tie. You can also choose slightly darker shirts, however, that can be very tricky. So unless you have a gift for putting things together, skip it. One final word on shirts, if your neck reveals your age, your collar should be cut high in front and well starched.

Your ties should always be bright and lively. Today acceptable executive ties are more colorful than they were 10 years ago. In addition, if you’re a big man you can wear pastel ties, but if you are short, slight or lack authority for any reason, avoid them. They make big men appear friendly but small,men weak.

I feel obliged to point out that there are companies, mainly high-tech outfits, where the outfit you described would be inappropriate and counterproductive.. You can usually identify them because the executives wear good slacks and dress shirts without ties. In those companies slacks and dress shirts have become a substitute for the suit, and their attitude toward anyone wearing other garments tends to be negative. We tested salesmen going into such organizations and found that those who wore a conservative sport jackets and appropriate ties, which they remove the minute they came into the room were far more successful than those who wore traditional suits. I mention this only because you said you made a presentation to a computer company. If you asked the executives at such companies if dress affects them they will tell you that they dress casually and they do not care what their people or salesmen wear. I am sure they could pass a lie detector when making such statements, however, our research indicates that is not true. I only mention this because you said you made a presentation to a computer company.

No matter how much trouble it is you should dye your hair because being gray sends a negative message to just about everyone you meet. It says you’re old and probably not with it. While there can be no question that looking young and being in shape helps, it doesn’t help that much.

Partially as a result of your letter I am updating my research on having gray hair. I will report that research in this blog over the next few weeks. If you work in a casual company or deal with casual companies be sure to watch for it. If you have gray hair, if members of your sales team have gray hair or your boss has gray hair it will change your company’s image. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Dear Mr. Molloy:

I just started working for a small furniture manufacturer that has been around for five years and is beginning to make a dent in the market. We produce very good furniture, but we do not have a name or a reputation which would guarantee that everyone knew the quality of our products. When I approach a potential customer I have an excellent video showing our factory operation and explaining why we can sell high-quality furniture for less. Those who watch the video almost invariably give me an order.

I have been told by many that I am pleasant and amiable and usually have a good relationship with my buyers whom I visit regularly. My problem is my new boss tells me that I must dress very conservatively even while some of those representing the giants in the field do not. Of course I’m not going to start my career by fighting the boss but if you wrote a letter saying that it’s silly for someone from a small company to dress as if they were from an old established, multimillion dollar company it might help change his mind. I know he will listen to you. I saw a copy of your book in his office. I know my dress irritates some of my clients because a few of them have mentioned it. I believe I would sell more if I were dressed in casual, friendly outfits. Tell me I’m right.


Dallas, Texas

Dear L. F.:

I would love to tell you, you are right but you are wrong. Let me explain why? For discussions sake assume that you are selling automobiles and that you work for Cadillac, Mercedes or Lincoln, etc.. When you walk in the door, the buyer would expect you to show him well-made cars. If on the other hand you represented Brand X he never heard of he would be unsure of the quality of the products you are selling. and unfortunately for you his first guess would be your merchandise is probably second-rate. The reason he would believe that is most of the time he has been offered products without a track record they usually are second-rate. If you tell them you are selling a Cadillac at a Chevy price, they would be skeptical. Since that’s exactly what you’re doing, it will help if you can associate yourself in any way with the well-established high priced furniture companies. That is what your boss’s is trying to do by dressing you in a conservative suit, shirt and tie.

This is the traditional uniform of the rich, powerful and successful. If you doubt me. watch the next time the president speaks to a joint session of Congress. That is what he will be wearing, and they will be wearing. The principle working here is associated value. We once did a test where we parked cars in driveways and asked people the value of the homes. When we parked expensive cars their estimates of the value of the home went up dramatically and when we parked average cars their estimates went down. Even more interesting was when the real estate agents wore upscale garments, the prospective buyers estimated the price of the home they were looking at also went up. When the garments they wore were conservative and traditional the real estate agents had greater credibility with the buyers statements.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

You said last week, you would print letters that commenting on your assertion that a child who believes they can do anything, can do anything. That is nonsense. What you‘re saying is that my son who is an average 14-year-old but very skinny can be an excellent football player if he just believes it .The first time he tries to tackle someone who weighs 200 pounds and lifts weights he’s going to end up getting hurt. Similarly, a young man who weighs 200 pounds but has an IQ of 95 if he thinks he can become a doctor, you think he can. The only way he’ll ever get into a medical school is with a crowbar at night..

Both you and Henry Ford should be careful what you say, it could be very dangerous.

A mother who doesn’t want her son to be injured

Dear Mother

Neither Henry Ford or I would say anything that might lead to your son being injured. Henry Ford said if you believe you can, you’re probably right and if you believe you can’t, you’re probably right. He and I both assumed that you are not delusional. The average 14-year-old boy knows he cannot play football against people who are much larger than he. A student with an 95 IQ understands he is not going to be at the top of his class and not going to get into medical school.e a doctor and believes he can become one, he will work more diligently on those subjects that would increase his chances of getting into medical school. If another boy who is just as bright as your son is convinced he doesn’t have a chance of ever getting into medical school is not going to work or plan to achieve that goall. So what he believe is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, the youngster who weighs 200 pounds and lifts weights when he’s 14 just might become a player in the NFL. If he has that goal and is convinced he can do it. He will once again do all the things necessary to achieve his goal while the other youngster who is convinced he cannot make it will dream about it and do nothing.

I warned against those schools which discourage competition, even the most harmless type. Those politically corrupt idiots who tell one group of youngsters that they need special treatment because they cannot learn the way others can or give everyone a trophy are sending destructive messages. The first is you’re not, capable of competition and the second is losing is as good as winning, They are doing terrible damage to individual youngsters today and eventually will destroy America unless they are stopped.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Dear Mr. Molloy:

Six months ago I was working for a small company that was bought out by my present company. For most people working there that was bad news but I thought it was good news for me but I may have been wrong. In my old company there was an old boys club but because everyone knew everyone we talked and hung out together.

.I recognized the advantage of belonging to that informal but highly influential group. Just about that time I read that you suggest that women become familiar with the sports teams in their area so that they could join in a conversation about those teams. At first I simply read the sports pages, but then I really got to be an expert on those teams and sports because men really know sports . Because I knew what I was talking about and was raised with three brothers, I became a member of the old boys club. Partially as a result of these contacts, I became the top woman in the company. However, in the new company there is no way of me joining the old boys club. I’m sure they plot to keep women out. I’m thinking of forming an all girls club with real clout. Do you have any advice?

Name and address withheld

Dear trying to move up:

In this blog I keep giving people bad news and I hate doing it. The fact is, however, women do not help other women in business the way men do. To understand why you have to understand the basic differences between how men and women were raised in our society.

An old boys club is an alliance between men that exists in almost every corporation, where men help each other make it to the top. There are no official rules or regulations, but the unofficial rule, often unstated, in most of these groups is if he’s a good guy and a member of the team help him whenever you can. This understanding is a product of teams formed by these men, when they were boys. Friendships, which often makes this type of cooperation possible are often born on an 18 hole golf course, around a friendly bar or even a few fellows playing playing cards at lunch. The vast majority of men do not conspire to participate in activities that exclude women but to activities they find enjoyable. These or similar groups have been part of their lives since they were young boys . As boys, they formed or played on teams to compete in baseball, football, basketball, and other sports with boys in their neighborhood or school.

Everybody wants to be a hero, so as boys they competed against their team members but almost everyone knew that a real hero plays for the team. When the team wins everybody wins, even those who didn’t do very well in the game. There probably isn’t a 12-year-old boy in America who has said at one time or another; “One for all and all for one.” and meant it with every fiber of his being. Nor do I think there is a 12-year-old boy in America who hasn’t felt real joy when his team won and celebrated by jumping on the fellow who scored the winning goal and cheering for him as well as the team. If you doubt that for a second, look at professional sports, they do it today.

Although time and age dulls all ideals, including this one, the basic rules for male friendship stand and survive. I spent years looking for an equivalent relationship for young girls and women and seldom found it. The few times I ran across such thinking was when I interviewed girls who played competitive sports. It is not that women are not competitive, they are but with each other. As a result, unfortunately. you are going to find it very hard to form an old Girls club that will operate the way old boys clubs do. You must encourage your daughters to participate in competitive team sports. A surprising number of female executives told me that they learned how to compete and be a loyal team member when they played on a team as girls. I think one of the most important things the parent of a young girl can do is encourage her to participate in team sports. The reason should be obvious, it will help them compete in corporate America where most of those in charge are a product of a competitive background.

Which brings us to a very important point. If your son or daughter is trapped in a school that forbids playing tag because they might get hurt or gives everyone a trophy because no one should be without one, they are being trained to lose. They are being brainwashed into thinking, losing is as good as winning. It is not and it never has been, and it never will be. Youngsters realize this. Last year I went to 7 different games where the politically correct rule, or more accurately the politically corrupt rule was that no one keeps score. They specifically told the children not to keep score. Thank God for the inherent honesty of the young, every kid knew the score and everyone knew who won. You can actually see this because the winners celebrated by high-fiving each other while the losers walked quietly off the field.

I interviewed winners in American corporate life for years on a variety of topics and discovered they have three characteristics. The people who run corporate America first and foremost, love to compete, second, they look upon themselves as members of a team and third, they never quit. They learned as young boys, to play through the pain, and if they do lose today they remain convinced that sooner or later they will win. Their favorite saying when they lose is; “wait till next year”. For the optimistic and resilient American kid and adult losing is not part of their mindset. Those who have not being crippled by the politically corrupt system which existed in some parts of America today have been raised by loving parents who taught them, they can do anything.

If you are a mother or father who would rather raise winners than losers, you’re going to have to take over your children’s schools. Start the easy way, organize the mothers and fathers who want their kids to compete effectively to put a stop to this stupidity. Point out, it is not politically correct to tell children that losing is a good thing, it is a lie and politically corrupt. Organize a political group to run for the school board. It’s going to be hard work, but it’s worth it. American children are wonderful ,intelligent, resilient and 95% of them don’t buy the idea that no one wins or loses. But they are only children and they cannot protect themselves from these politically corrupt idiots, you must do it .

If you agree with me or disagree write and I will print some of your letters. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Dear Mr. Molloy

I am curious about the effect of bright orange in a logo. I know that some people are upset by the bright orange or yellow logos, but I wondered if there’s any research in this area.

Name withheld

I left the name of the writer of this letter off because I thought she might be asking about her company’s logo. Attaching her name could embarrass her and I never want to do that to anybody.

There is considerable research on the effect of logos. In most business offices, especially traditional business offices any logo that stands out and catches your attention can cause problems. It you are stuck with a company that has an attachment to a vibrant color, you can only use it in most business environments, if you tone it down. The best example I’ve seen was by a hi tech company whose executives wear slacks and business shirts. The business shirts displayed their logo, but it looked more like a monogram than a logo.

Bright orange and or bright yellow logos can be very effective if used in the right setting. If you are new company attempting to get the public to know you having a bright orange or bright yellow logo that is eye-catching can be very effective. To be most effective you must use those colors on everything the public sees. The best example of using it correctly is McDonald’s golden arches.

Dear Mr. Molloy;

I need to know everything about success.

J. k.

New York, N.Y.

Dear JK:

Your letter certainly is short and to the point. I can’t tell you everything about success but I can tell you the most important thing you should know. Those who have realistic goals and realistic plans to achieve those goals, even if they fail are likely to be successful in the long run. Keep planning and keep trying because that’s what successful people do.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

I am a development specialist at a software company and like most of my coworkers, I dress very casually. I’m good at my job and everybody knows it, so I should have a real shot at a management job that is opening up. The word is out that in the next couple of weeks, the managers are going to choose an executive from the research group of which I am a member.

I’ve been wearing slacks and dress shirts ever since I was put in charge of our largest clients new project. I’ve changed my look but not dramatically. I fit in with the other development specialists. My question is, should I wear a tie. I know that seems trivial, but the tie is part of the uniform of management. I am worried that people will think I’m being a phony. What should I do?


Boston, Massachusetts

Dear KG:

The message wearing a tie is most likely to send to the decision-makers is that you want to be considered for the management position. That’s the message that research shows you should send.

Several months ago I read a recent in-house study about the problems management faces when moving someone from technical to executive positions. One of the challenges is finding out which men and women really want to stop working as technicians and start working as managers. The executives in this company found their primary challenge was finding out which of the researchers really want to stop working as technicians and start being managers. Even some of those who say they are interested in becoming a manager because they want the money and prestige that come with a management slot are not happy when they become managers. To quote that study; “An unhappy manager is invariably a lousy manager, so make sure they really want it.”

So anything you can do including wearing a tie that announces that you want to be a manager will help you become a manager.

Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


An example of a letter I cannot answer , you must read to the end to find out why.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

I worked as a marketing specialist for 15 years and rose to the point where I ran the marketing department of a midsize company. 11 years ago my father who was raised in an orphanage and had only a ninth grade education, passed away. My mother for the first year ran the security company which he started and at that point she handed it over to his second-in-command. Six months later he passed away and my mother hired an expert to run the company because most employees were installers and really didn’t understand how to run a business. She picked a graduate of a local college who was a business major, not a bad choice on paper but in reality a terrible choice. When I took over two years ago he was paying himself $200,000 a year to run a company that lost $60,000 that year.

My mother called me and told me that she was hoping that I knew someone who could help her sell the company that was losing money. With the intention of doing just that I went through the company’s books. I wasn’t halfway through and I decided that selling the company was a very bad idea.

I didn’t quit my job when I first started, I worked on my vacation and on weekends with the hopes that I would make the company profitable and if my mother still wanted to sell it. When my father passed away the company was making $380,000 a year while plowing most of its profits into expansion I knew my father had to be somewhat successful, because I was raised in a nice house in a nice area in suburbia and had almost anything I wanted. He bought me a new Jeep my third year in high school and took me to Disney half a dozen times. But I never imagined that his business was that successful. When he passed away he had six locations and he was thinking of opening a seventh. By the time I took it over there were only four locations and three had lost major customers.

I quickly turned the company around and we once again have six locations and are planning on several more. Although we install and monitor security systems for private homes, our primary business is setting up rather sophisticated, customized systems for businesses. The reason I’m writing to you is I wonder how our people should dress when they are going to install and maintain systems. Having been a fan of yours I read somewhere that you said that when you went to the homes, you should put your people in uniforms that identify them instantly since many homeowners are frightened of strangers. I put them in navy blue uniforms with bright orange logos. We tried it in businesses but although it never lost us a customer that I know of several made negative comments about the bright orange logo.

I hope you can figure out how should I dress my employees who install and maintain our security systems in a variety of businesses with very different dress codes. Please keep in mind that some of my installation and maintenance people are computer experts who create programs that are not only designed to keep people from breaking in but hackers from breaking into or controlling the company. It is difficult to get those people to put on any type of uniform. It would help if you could keep that in mind while designing the ideal uniform.

I want only one uniform because it is a wonderful way of advertising our services.

Name and address withheld

Dear Sir:

No single uniform will be ideal for all your people or all your customers. You would need at least a dozen outfits to please everyone and a logo that was eye-catching, memorable and instantly identifies your company. I suggest you have an artist draw several logos each in several colors and test them.

When you send your people into any site you must consider three factors. First, the general look of the business, particularly how the people dress. Second, exactly what your person is going to be doing. If they’re going to be sitting at a computer typing there is no need for them to wear the uniform you described. They can wear slacks and a dress shirt with a small logo on it. Nothing ostentatious, they should fit into the general feel of the office. Remember companies that spent major dollars decorating their offices will reject anyone who interferes with them sending the message they wish to send. Third, with whom are they going to be dealing and how do those people dress.

The reason I chose this letter as an example of one that didn’t work is it doesn’t work in many ways. First, as interesting as his life story might be, it is not needed. The writer could have left out the first two paragraphs and everything but the first and last sentence of the third paragraph. 90% of the next two paragraphs contain all the information I need to give useful advice.

The final paragraph, which is one sentence precludes me from giving it even that advice by limiting what I can say. The writer asks several questions and then tells me what my answer must be. Making answering his questions difficult to say the least.

The reason I printed this letter and commented on it is one out of every five letters I receive are similar to this one. I thought seeing an example of what not to do would make it easier for readers to do it right. I’ve tried in the past to describe the type of letter I need if I am to be helpful. I suggest you ask specific questions and do so in as few words as possible. Do that and you substantially increase the chances that your letter will be answered.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment