Professionalism and Standards – How do you stack up?
Two very interesting concepts that most people in business believe they deliver but which most customers/clients complain about.
So why is there a disconnect between the Provider and the Receiver?
Let’s look at the two concepts:
Professionalism, in its simplest form, merely means that a person is being paid for a service. The mere act of accepting money makes one a professional as opposed to an amateur/volunteer.
Two definitions of this term give us some interesting insights (1) -Professionalism is knowing how to do it, when to do it, and doing it. – Frank Tyger and (2) Professionalism: It’s NOT the job you DO, It’s HOW you DO the job.- Author Unknown.
Other Criteria to be considered a Professional include:-
• Expert and Specialised Knowledge in a specific field.
• High ethics– confidential relationships.
• Very high quality of work/service.
• Specialist education and skills
• Autonomy and Independence
• Applying theory to practice and solving problems
• Enthusiasm, commitment and loyalty
• Ongoing Life Long Learning
• Setting an example others follow
• And many more ….
So where do we fit in and how do we regard and measure ourselves as professionals?
Truth be told I guess we believe and espouse to be true professionals and we state that on out web sites, marketing material and even say it when we sell ourselves and our services to our client’s and prospective clients.
But the true test of professionalism is not what we think but rather it’s all about what our Clients and the world at large thinks and says. So how do you measure your professionalism? Do you ask for specific feedback from your clients as to how they felt you deal with the issues at hand with specific reference to your professionalism? And if found lacking what do you offer your clients in compensation for lower than expected delivery?
Let’s now look at Standards
Standards may be defined as the level of expected results demanded by our clients. It is not about what we believe is good enough its what our clients (colleagues/industry) believe we should be delivering.
The following quotations gives an inkling of what is expected:- (1)The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life. John W. Gardner and (2) You must regulate your life by the standards you admire when you are at your best. John M. Thomas
Some minimum standards considered to be no-brainers:-
• On Time and In Budget every time
• No hidden costs and agendas
• Value for money
• Pay it Forward if it’s out of your skill set/domain
• If you don’t know – say so
• Don’t renege on promises / your word
• Unquestionable Honesty
• And many more ….
So how do you stack up?
• Do you have your own check list against which you evaluate yourself and your business transactions and interventions?
• Do you ask your clients for feedback on how you are doing in their eyys after each intervention?
• Do you test your professionalism and standards against the norms in your industry
• Do you offer a 100% of fee refund if your clients complain that you delivery was not up to standard
Professionalism and the Highest Standards are a clients right and we need to ensure that we are continually looking to provide them with what they are paying for and then some.
It’s no longer acceptable to just give the client a good experience – to stay in business and get referrals and grow our businesses we need to be delivering WOW experiences.
If we expect them to give us business referrals we need to be better than they expect us to be.
It’s a great habit to review your own Performance on a quarterly basis at least – so take 2 minutes now and set aside an hour in your diaries to do so every 3 months and you and your business will be better for it and your clients will truly believe you are the best thing that has happened to them this year.
Have fun and be better than the best you think you can be!