Sunday, May 17, 2009
Defining the Qualities of a Professional
In today's business climate, we are experiencing more interest in professionalism. The past five years provided many successes; however, most have been overshadowed by the nonethical behavior of a few. Some people lost most of their retirement savings, and the US population is demanding a stronger economy and a peaceful world.
We've seen quality job opportunities decreasing, and the need for profits has projects being partially or wholly completed overseas. Many employees are traveling to other offices in the US because of the lack of projects locally. If they choose not to travel, they are being asked to take vacation or risk being laid off.
In tough times, I look to fundamentals to help right the path. One fundamental is defining the qualities of a professional. Some define a professional as a person who is being paid for a service. True, we require money to trade. However, some get paid by doing illegal activities.
To simplify, you are a professional when you have three qualities:
(1) Trustworthiness. When you meet a person for the first time, you immediately associate a level of trust with him or her and their service. If the person happens to come via a recommendation, the trust may be greater. Regardless, just as relationships develop, so does the level of trust. People who associate with each other on a high trust level know how to talk to one another and provide reasons that the service they are representing can be beneficial. Knowing how to talk to one another is more than mannerisms. It is the ability to motivate one another to create positive results. Additionally, your involvement and input in your company, associations, volunteerism, charity work, and political party help develop trust. Not necessarily because two people agree on an issue, but because somewhere on this path a common trust level evolves as you share experiences. When trust is present, people will buy from you or recommend your service or ideas.
(2) Helpfulness. By being helpful, you are essentially putting the other person in a better position. Negotiating is a great tool to show your willingness to help. People like being dealt with as individuals. We, and our services, are too robust and diverse for "one size fits all." However, be sure you negotiate fairly. Don't provide an offer and service to someone unless they can provide valid reasons to do so. Putting together value metric points (goals) for your client is a great way to validate the value of your service. Be patient, ask questions to understand, have service options, and close win-win deals. Knowing how to make deals is essential to success.
(3) Caring. Caring shows a desire to gain a better understanding of an individual's current scenario and doing something that benefits them. It is the quality that says we may be individuals competing but, when a certain scenario or circumstance exists, we are united. When all three qualities of a professional are present, expect to see not only a professional but one that gets paid well and has a well-balanced life.
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