Integrity, honesty, respect, kindness, knowledge of the industry and the client or customer, and even more, respect for the project, all this sealed with a firm handshake. This is what it means to be a professional.
As 2021 closes I think of those days when we trusted each other, when a handshake on a deal was the done deal. There was a time when we did not ask favours, hundreds of favours of others, without reciprocating and showing our appreciation in some small way. If someone is an expert in their business- maybe they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn and years of hard work to become a specialist – it does not mean their expertise is free for all and sundry to abuse. We must learn to respect others’ work, to understand that we all work diligently in our fields and we are also constantly learning to stay on top of our professions. Yes, we can and must be helpful, but that does not mean we must help others to the detriment of our own livelihoods.
There are a couple of new business trends that is very disconcerting to me. I find I am encountering people who will ask and ask and when I stop giving they move on without even saying bye. The other trend is every Tom, Dick, and Harry is an expert whom have graduated from the universities of YouTube 1-minute Videos and Google Scrolling.
I truly believe we can be nice, kind and firm, while still remaining business professional in this new world that deems everyone an “expert” and sees a “no” as “cheap or uncooperative”. The truth is there are rules we must live by, and there is honour we must strive for.
Here are some guidelines to leave a professional legacy no matter where you work:
Be honest with what you know and what you do not know. Be confident with your business knowledge, and do not ever be ashamed to learn new skills. Take LinkedIn courses if you can, but never ever ask others to condense their entire education in an email so you can then use that to impress a client. You will never know what you do not know, unless you set out with genuine curiosity to learn and grow. See every opportunity to learn something new and master a new craft as an adventure.
Do not cheat, whether it is fudging the numbers or rounding way up; Lying about analytics and claiming you had an integral part of said analytics when you clearly did not, is the utmost in lying and cheating. To find the correct analytics one must know how to research the metrics and dimensions related to the project.
Do not keep key information under wraps; In the business world, withholding information is lying, one can cause a lot of damage to the client and ruin their reputation to boot.
Never ever do the googling of someone else’s work and reading it off verbatim; Taking others hard work and pretending it is yours will come back to haunt you for the rest of your days, and well, you may be great at the copy and paste, but are you really capable of this “authenticity”? Ask yourself that before you steal.
When you take on a client you are not only collecting your 50 percent up front, you are in a real relationship with the client, their project is now your business and no matter what emotional issues or problems you may run into, remember the project. The job you signed on to do is your baby to the end.
When you ask for help of your peers, make sure you are available to reciprocate.
When you are speaking with your client be honest if you do not know something and assure them you will find the answers and consult an expert…remember every new business project comes with many new contacts, which are relationships you are building forever. They will be in your contacts list and you must build and groom that relationship so you can be in theirs.
If you shake hands at the end of a meeting, know that the client will expect you to be honest and loyal to his business at all times…a handshake is worth all the integrity you can muster. Hopefully one day that integrity is just a natural part of your DNA.
When the project is completed and the client is impressed by who you are not just your know-how. Take them out for a thank you drink/coffee or send them a token of appreciation. The old fashioned way of doing business is the only way I know. I recall back in the day when one got to know the clients/customers truly as a human being and we even got to know about their families as well. Life and work may be separate but human beings will always be one.
Integrity, honesty, respect, kindness, knowledge of the industry and the client or customer, and even more respect for the project, all this sealed with a firm handshake. This is what it means to be a professional in your industry and/or business.
What is integrity, then? Having integrity is contingent upon doing the right thing even when nobody is watching, behaving honestly and consistently adhering to high ethical standards because it’s the right thing to do ‘ not for any perceived benefit you will achieve.
Read this story about a small hotel in Filoti, Naxos, where they treat guests like they are guests of their very own home. Katerina and Mihailos are warm and caring, always thinking from the guests perspective, and are so willing to go above and beyond to ensure their guests have beautiful and memorable experiences in Filoti, on the island of Naxos, Greece.