Last week, an executive was talking to me about a colleague who isn’t pulling his weight. He described this person’s behavior as disorganized. As we talked about how an important project was being slowed by this disorganization, he added, “well, this probably isn’t relevant but even the guy’s office is a mess!” He was apologetic for bring up something so trivial. It isn’t so trivial.

The way our offices appear, the way we appear, the condition of our cars, are all the result of decisions we make. Conscious or not the condition of things we have control of say quite a bit about us. What, you ask?

Are we:

Respectful of ourselves and others

Organized or chaotic

Thoughtful or careless

Clear thinking or muddled

Think it doesn’t matter? Think you are just “being yourself?” That’s a decision you an make, certainly. But when you do, be aware of the attributions others will make about you. Those will matter.

The other, more important point is that you are broadcasting standards, values and priorities. If you are a leader, this will happen in ways both conscious and unconscious. That is the power of modeling, it requires neither awareness nor verbal communication, no intentional teaching. Though the decisions aren’t all conscious the results of them are visible to everyone.

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