By Tony Vidler
Late last night we got one of those dreaded phone calls, the sort that turn people’s worlds upside down…the sort that make business, and blog posts, and diaries become insignificant distractions. But this post isn’t about that.
This morning as we juggled the things that have to be arranged, or re-arranged, one of the phone calls threw up an interesting snippet of conversation that applies to all of us in professional services I think. We can define professionalism in so many ways today…in the context of qualifications, or ethics, or behaviors…or combinations of all of the above. Undoubtedly sitting at the centre of any definition is the concept of putting the clients interests first, or putting other people before oneself.
But the comment from a very old friend suddenly defined professionalism as well as I’ve heard it anywhere else.
Everyone of us will have good days, and bad days. Ups and downs, trouble and strife, boom times and busted ones. That is life. This is just as true for professionals as for any other type of worker.
The mark of the professional though is their ability to put their own state of mind or circumstances to one side and focus on the client. It is their ability to do what has to be done, because that matters to someone else. They are mindful of their responsibilities to others, because they are in a position of trust and clients have transferred their burning issues they cannot deal with to the professional to manage.
It is how professionals are wired…how they perform when tested under pressure…that defines them. Like the surgeon performing an operation regardless of how their personal world is functioning and the stresses or pressures they may have at home, we too have to be prepared to switch on with full focus and do the right things the right way when under pressure, whether we feel like it or not.
This is a great working definition of professionalism for all of us.0