Ties! Striped, plain, coloured, flowery, Disney flavoured or old school. Windsor knots, Prince Albert knots, Kelvin knots, Half Windsors, the Pratt, the Trinity and the Van Wijk, every type of knot colour and material imaginable and all to adorn the necks of the busy people.

Most sartorialists agree the necktie originated in the 17th century, during the 30 year war in France. A Jewish Rabbi friend of mine believes it was much earlier when our cavemen had no buttons and used a strip of material to tie their shirt together protecting them from the wind.

Whoever’s right one certainty prevails. It is the uniform of the man or woman who does business. People tell me it makes one look smart – do they mean stylishly smart or intellectually superior – no matter it most perfectly sums up Business in general and its all about perception. Wear a tie and you look clever!

And there my friend, in the words of William Shakespeare is, “the rub”.  Business has, for many years had us all fooled. Are we so shallow as to believe that if it wears a tie, it must know more than us; that we need to look up and admire. Is it a weapon, a symbol of power to intimidate? Possibly

Let’s be clear here, this is not a new wave campaign against the wearing of ties, nor is it the usual ‘Let’s get the Tie Brigade’, I simply make the point that if we are so gullible as to judge character by the rag around the neck then how much easier is it for business to fool us into believe they know better about everything.

We are in business, but we’re in the people business and its not about the way we look its about the way we think. You won’t find a single tie in the place except for the orange ones we wear for The Orange Seed Project presentations when we honour the Not for Profits with The Orange Seed Project Gift. Otherwise there taboo.

Business is and always has been about ‘bulldust’ or at least 80% is – the other 20% is good luck.  The USA Stock Market takes a turn for the worst, the backside falls out of the AXP 200. Why? Because the be-suited ties say so. Perhaps this doesn’t appear relevant, perhaps it doesn’t make sense, but lets be careful we know what true business is. Don’t be fooled by the $9million dollar men who appear to know what’s good and bad, what’s right and wrong.

And if you think this is all new, remember Danish Author, Hans Christian Andersen. Born in 1805 he spelt it out all those years ago when he wrote The Emperor’s New Clothes, the story of two weavers who promised an emperor a new suit of clothes which would be invisible to those who were unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades naked before his subjects in his ‘new clothes’, no one dared to say that they didn’t see any suit of clothes until a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”

Clever business doesn’t have to dress up to be effective. So next time you’re confronted by the Armani suited, suave, cologne odourised, shinny shoe brigade, remember they look just as silly as all the rest of us in their socks and undies.

Try an open neck shirt – it lets the brain breathe.