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Improving your personal and professional productivity

The term "Professional" is one that is used to describe many different qualities of people at work. For some it refers to years of education and degrees acquired, for others it is defined by salary and yet for others it refers to the apparent importance of a person's title. The definition that I subscribe to defines a professional, not based on these elements, but on performance in the workplace and community. From this perspective professionals are people who function in three characteristic ways.

The definition of a professional is based on her performance
in the workplace and community.

The first characteristic of a professional is integrity. The simple definition of integrity is doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. Unfortunately some people we work with often will say one thing and then do something different. Think about the people you work with whom you respect and trust. They are almost certainly people who carefully monitor what I call their "say/do ratio." What they promise, they deliver, and if they cannot you are soon informed. For such people "the check is in the mail" is not a joke.

This say/do characteristic is likely the most important foundation of self-esteem. Remember what the Bard said: "To thy own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou cans't not then be false to any man." We are all sensitive to our co-workers say/do ratios in the workplace and most of us prefer to work with people who have high say/do ratios, people we can trust.

The second characteristic of effective functioning is a personal commitment to quality. It is not so important what you do so long as you do it the very best you can. The road to mediocrity is filled with people who just cut a little corner, and then another, and another. These are people, who through their own behavior have made themselves second-rate.

This commitment to doing your best also means a long-term commitment to your own continuing education. In a time of rapid changes in almost every aspect of the workplace we must strive to improve our competency by investing in our greatest resource, ourselves. As a person who does many seminars it is interesting to note that participants often comment that the people who need the training most are not in attendance.

The third element of effective functioning is sensitivity, people skill or as it is now labeled emotional intelligence. We live in a world of people. To the question, "What is more important, who you know or what you know?" the answer is - yes. Both are important. The world would be a very empty place without the people who surround us. Many people seem to lose sight of this fact. We can influence the world around us, and our own world, through our behavior. A cheerful greeting, a smile, a bit of sincere praise, a word of thanks will create a more pleasant world for us to work in.

Consider Unit 1: "To Improve Productivity, Try Saying Thank You." Remember, what you give is what you get. I see far too many people in the workplace who seem to operate on the philosophy of "when in doubt scream and shout." Such people create the angry worlds they inhabit. Treat me with respect and I will reciprocate. Such behavior has a positive side effect. It puts us more in control of our lives. We are acting, not reacting, and this reduces stress.

The triad of integrity, quality and sensitivity is a behavioral definition of a professional. Every day in the world of work I see such people. Their behavior defines them as people to respect, to trust and also as people who can get things done through people.


Improving your
professional & personal productivity

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