Does the Car You Drive Impact Your Career?
You drive performance. You drive results. You drive your business.
But does it matter what kind of car you drive? Not for practical reasons, but for perception reasons?
After all, what you drive can make a statement.
For example, I have a friend who says: "Don't assume your employees will be inspired by and hope to emulate your success. They won't. Leave your Porsche in the garage. I've done consulting gigs for a number of businesses, and in almost every instance, sometimes after being on-site less than a day, at least one employee will tell me they resent how "good" the owners have it -- at the expense of underpaid employees."
Say you own a successful business. Is it fair for your employees to resent your success? No. But can it be a real issue for employees who feel you don't sufficiently share the wealth your business generates? Absolutely.
Possibly other people don't feel that way. So I asked around.
Robert Thomas, founder of the e-commerce shopping site Tappocity, takes the other approach. He's always liked Jaguars and drives one because he feels it's important to make a good impression with potential investors. He thinks successful people should treat themselves to the luxuries their success affords.
Jason Mudd, owner of Axia Public Relations, takes the pragmatic route. With all the miles he travels, he thinks it makes financial sense to keep the luxury car at home and use a more fuel-efficient vehicle on the road for his commute to offices and airports.
Mudd says many of his CEO friends prefer to keep their sports cars at home until evenings and weekends, both to keep mileage down and also to not show off in front of the employees in the company parking lot.
Brian Knight, owner of Pragmatic Works, an IT consulting company, goes the tech route. He drives a Ford Flex because it has integrated in-vehicle communications, Sync from Microsoft, and voice-commanded calls, music, and other functions.
What vehicle each of them drives does make a statement, whether intentional or not.
OK. I know you're thinking: What do you drive? While the "statement" is a by-product of a love of performance, mine is a motorcycle that says, "I will outrun you any time, any day, anywhere." (Hopefully, since I’ve always owned motorcycles it doesn’t also say, “My owner is deep into his mid-life crisis.”)
So, what do you think? As a business owner, does it matter what you drive? As a supervisor or manager or executive, does it matter what you drive?
And if you think it does matter -- or does leave an impression -- what message do you try, or try not, to send?