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Being Professional Can Be Stifling
Pre-2014

In the business world, certain behaviors are considered acceptable and professional. They're generally required to maintain a safe, respectful, and productive environment, which is certainly understandable given some of the intense work we're required to do. Imagine for a brief moment, a doctor addressing her nurses as 'dudes' or 'homies' during surgery, or a customer service representative speaking to customers with slang or profanity.

Behaviors, communication skills... even attire can be issues of concern. But let's get real here. Some of the old standards from the past are just that; old, tired, and quite honestly, counterproductive.

Out With The Old, In With The New

To understand, you need look no further than at the typical workplace. The building may have changed over the last 5 or 10 years -- the equipment certainly has changed -- but the behaviors have not. This, despite the fact that we're constantly exposed to new ways of doing business, new problem solving tools, and new cultures.

How does that even happen? Exposure to new problems and the new skills that solve them are supposed to open up new ways of thinking and performing.

Crazy Skills And Energy Benefits Everyone

This is a learning moment, and your teachers are the people you've labeled as nuts in the past. 'Nuts' reveal original, creative ways of doing things by breaking from the mold and challenging the status quo. They say, 'Your way may work for you, but our way works too -- only faster, better, and way cooler.'

This is why we have companies like Pixar generating masterpiece theater from roller-skating employees. It's why we have corporations like Google literally re-defining our daily Internet experiences from workers who take naps on the job!

That's not professional! Or is it...?

It's Your Turn

Both Google and Pixar are easy examples of what happens when stifling rules of professional behavior are thrown out the window in favor of creative exercise. To question whether these companies are professional or not is silly. We all know they are. And now we know how they got that way.

Your challenge is to imagine the progress you could have if you dump the, 'that's not the way we do it around here' approach and just - loosen - up.

What would happen if you played a little rock music in the office, allowed a 'pajama day,' or let rabbits roam free on the floor? (I read one company actually does that). I guarantee the world won't stop spinning and you won't lose your customers. You won't turn into Google or Pixar the next day either -- that's for sure! But if there's anything you take away from this article, let it be this:

You will never discover what could happen if you don't even bother to take the chance.