Are you a Professional?
The phrase ‘being professional’ is thrown around so much. Everybody wants to be a professional. Yet very few people are professional. In my opinion, anyone can be a professional and in the long run, people who are thoroughly professional really go on to succeed and are respected as business people.
The basic premise of being a professional is respecting others. I think it really all stems from this one human act. You could be part of a Fortune 500 company and yet not be professional and you could be running a two-person enterprise and still be professional. Being Professional is an attitude.
1.A professional pro-actively communicates with his customer [internal or external]
If delivery of a product/service is supposed to be completed by 25th September and you find out that for some reason it can only be done by the 28th September, on the 20th September . If you are a ‘professional’, you pro-actively call your customer and tell them that there will be a delay of 3 days. You will be surprised to see how well the client reacts to the delay. Your customers more often than not just want to be in the loop. They want to know that you are ‘on’ their project. For them, pro-active communication is a must.
2. Stick to your small promises
“Wait, I’ll call you back in 5 mins.” The person you call then does not end up calling for 2 days until you call back again. When you tell someone you will call or email on a certain time or day, well that’s a promise whether you like it or not. A ‘professional’ sticks to these small promises.
3. A professional follows up relentlessly Nothing across six continents happens without a relentless follow up. A professional is not frustrated by the follow ups involved. He knows that being great at following up is a key business strength.
4. A Professional respects others time Everyone’s time. Not just that of his CEO but also of his peers. Not just that of his biggest customer but all that of the new intern in office. Amitabh Bachchan is known to be there 15 minutes before time for every business engagement. People would wait for the country’s biggest superstar but he is professional enough to respect their time.
5. A professional says NO
If you can’t get something done, say NO. Say No to business and people, so you can say Yes to the right business and people. Be careful about making commitments because once you make them, it takes a lot of hard work to live up to them.
6. A professional maintains transparency in dealing
Transparency is not about disclosing your cost OR telling the entire truth. It’s about making your terms crystal clear. Not putting the most important terms in a small print or as a side note. What you see is what you should get.
7. Most importantly, a professional gets the job done
I know an individual is a thorough bred professional when you can trust them to get the job done. They will do what it takes to see a job to completion. Not do it 90% and let it go, but go the whole mile. To borrow from cricket commentators ‘Clinically finish the job at hand’, preferably without much fuss.
The concept of respecting people is an easy one. Actually respecting people through your deed is tough. Yet, you will realise, if you are professional in your dealings with people, over the long run people will become professional in their dealings with you.
So make that shift today. You are never too old to start becoming a professional.