I have come to know that to be a professional in whatever one does takes a conscious and deliberate effort. Professionalism is the touch we give to what we do that makes it different from the ordinary service we see every day. In everything we do, there is a professional side to it and there is also an ordinary side to it.
In fact, dictionary defines professionalism as the expertness characteristic of a professional person. What that means is that there can be a ‘professional conduct, professional ethics, and a thorough professional performance’. And this cannot be got by repeating the same thing one does every day without seeking for new ways for improvement.
The term ‘characteristic’ used in the definition, simple means a distinguishing quality that sets someone apart in what he does. To get these distinguishing qualities one has to develop it. So, developing the necessary qualities in the field where we work becomes very important and essential; if we want to stand out as a professional
Whether you are an Engineer, a Doctor, a Lawyer and an Accountant or in whatever you do, you can develop distinguishing qualities that will set you apart from others; these qualities will make you stand out from the crowd.
These qualities are also developed in the path of consistency over time. What consistency does is that it helps us to restructure and forges us to align with the necessary skills required in what we do. You don’t have to be annoyed at yourself when you desire to deliver or meet the expectation of your boss and you don’t.
What you have to do is improve in the next project you have to deliver. What that must have done to you is to reshape, forge and align you to acquire the necessary qualities required to make you standout in your next project.
Another aspect to standing out as a professional is how you see yourself. It is important that you look at yourself through the right channel. If you look at yourself through the wrong channel, you will see yourself with a wrong perspective; probably you will see an image which doesn’t fully represent who you are.
Having the right mindset is also very important, a mindset that attempts all things with the ‘I can do all things’ attitude because without that, one might have failed before starting any project or task.
For instance, there was this airline that had problem with the conveyor belt of one of their planes and they needed to fix it fast; so that they can continue to have an edge over their competitors, they tried everything they could but didn’t succeed. Not flying that day means that their competitor will out run them and be in charge of that sector. So, something had to be done before that day runs out. One of them suggested that they should call expatriates from Canada to come and repair the conveyor belt of the plane; doing that will cost them a full day because they will have to send a jet to Canada to bring the expatriates who will repair the conveyor belt.
While they were busy brainstorming on what to do, one of them suggest that there is a Chinese Engineer down the road who knows about conveyor belt, so they should invite him to check it, while they wait for the expatriates from Canada
The Manager in charge agreed and said, ‘While they wait for the expatriates to arrive; it will cost them nothing to invite the Chinese Engineer to try it out’.
They finally invited the Chinese Engineer, he came with his tool and went straight to the conveyor, opened the cabinet where there were so many nuts and bolts, he tightened one of nut that was loosed; while he was busy tightening the nut, the conveyor belt started working.
So, the Manager asked the Engineer, ‘How much do we pay you for this job?’
He answered the Manager and he said, ‘$10,000 dollars’.
The Manager screamed, ‘Why should we pay you, $10,000 dollars for just tightening a nut?’
The Engineer looked at the Manager and wrote on a sheet of paper.
What he wrote on the paper reads, ‘It cost $1 dollars to tighten the nut but it cost $9,999 dollars to know the nut to tighten.
The Manager was amazed at the answer and he agreed to pay him what he charged.
Can we say the Engineer exhibited a professional conduct? Yes of course and what that tells us is that the Engineer knows his worth, sees himself as a professional and has the required knowledge of his trade.
If we know this, why then do we need to be a professional in what we do? It sets us apart; it makes us to be the most preferred brand in competition, it sets a clear distinction in whatever service or product we’re offering and makes our customers or clients to be loyal to us.
Simple steps that can help you stand out as a professional includes:
1.Take conscious and deliberate measure about it.
2.Seek to improve yourself in what you do by reading books and seeking for knowledge wherever you can get it.
3.Nurture the knowledge you have acquired by acting on it.
4.Try out new idea and method of carrying out the same task you do every day.
This is what every professional should seek; because that is the only way we can make a difference in our profession and also impact our world, leaving it better than the way we met it. The coming New Year is a new script where we can be courageous to re-write the wrongs of the past years and have a new beginning.
‘Courage is a kind of Salvation’ – Plato
Happy New Year
By: Benneth NJOKU