Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What is a Professional?

I interact with lots and lots of people on a daily basis. Most of the people I interact with call themselves professionals. Some truly are, some really are not. This blog is basically an exploration of what I think defines someone as a professional. Feel free to disagree, agree, discuss, call me names, whatever. It will be delivered in bulleted list format.

A professional is:
  • An expert in his or her field--a true professional understands his or her field and continuously hones their knowledge, skill set and ability. The professional never settles for "good enough" when it comes to self improvement. At the same time, the professional knows that they can't know everything, be the best at everything, etc. and always leaves room for correction. They are open to suggestions!
  • A great communicator--because the professional is an expert, he or she knows the field well enough to tell others about it. The professional can communicate to lay persons in such a way that they can understand it. The old saying--"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." is 100% false. Those that can, do and should be able to teach it as well. If you can't explain it, you might not be as good at it as you think you are.
  • Focused on growing instead of maintaining--again, never settle for good enough. A professional looks for ways to improve business and to grow the business. A professional tries to streamline the process, looks for ways to make things more efficient and focuses on the parts of his or her business that will grow while eliminating the rabbit holes.
  • Not afraid to take calculated risks--and they know how to calculate the risks!!
  • NOT willing to take advantage of his or her clients--This is important. I know nothing about HVAC. Any HVAC person knows that I know nothing about HVAC. It would be very, very easy to take advantage of me. I only trust professionals, however, that won't do that.
  • Courteous of your time and resources--a professional will respect you and your time. They will not try to spend all your resources just because you trust them. They call you back! It is amazing to me how much money is spent by people to advertise their name and phone number and then they won't even call you back!!!
  • able to anticipate needs/wants--a professional has been there, done that and can often anticipate what you will need or want before you ask for it. They can also read your reactions (most of the time) and will make good suggestions to help you better reach your goals. They are also focused on that, YOUR goals, not their own.
  • consistent--a professional doesn't change with the seasons. They are confident and knowledgable enough to give you the right answer the first time. They may amend their answer later, since they are always growing, but they don't just flip flop all the time.
  • not afraid to say "I don't know"--they are self assured enough that it doesn't scare them to have to find an answer or ask for help. It does not hurt their ego to need help. This is huge--it is impossible to know everything and a true professional acknowledges this fact. A true professional does know, however, how and where to find answers.
  • not lazy--man, there is nothing more annoying to me than lazy people who expect to be treated as professionals.
 This is my list. What else, in your mind, defines someone as a professional?


Daniel said...

To me, a professional in this sense of the term is, basically, consideration of customers, suppliers, environment, and community in general.

Jonathan said...

I typically write my blogs based on something that is highly relevant to me at the time. This one is relevant due to two things. 1) I have been encountering an alarming number of colleagues that are far from professional lately. They have not put in the time to learn this job. They do not represent their clients well and they are not respectful of deadlines or timeframes.
2) I had the pleasure of working with one of the most professional people I know yesterday, Earl Chandler. He is a local plumber that is everything I listed above and more. He absolutely respects his clients. He does what is best for them, not for his paycheck. He does things with a sense of urgency--your problem is the most important thing he is dealing with today. If more people acted in a professional manner like Earl, life would be soooo much better.

Post a Comment