“Standards are not established by your proclamations, they are established by your routines.”
T Jay Taylor
Quite recently, I was part of a very absorbing training session. We were required to make a list of professional standards and personal values we wanted to be associated with. It seems a pretty simple ask….I mean, I live and swear by these principles everyday, right?
Now it was only when I tried to list these tenets and to confirm if I was truly living by them that the import of this activity dawned on me. We are usually quick to use all these shiny adjectives, but I submit that most of us might just fumble when asked what we do to live up to those standards or if they reflect in other areas of our lives.
Take for instance, a professional who wants to be known for “excellence.” He/she should necessarily be seen to adhere to the highest standards in all aspects of life. What if this person arrives late to a planned event for which he or she is a key participant, and fails to notify the organizers of this possible tardiness? Doesn’t that diminish the claim to “excellence?”
Let’s take a supervisor who lists “strict attention to detail” as a professional standard, but who also has challenges observing happenings right under his nose. This person does not notice when his/her staff are disgruntled or when they are overwhelmed. Paying attention to detail should not only mean a thorough review of documents. In a fluid and ever developing professional sphere, it should transcend that to all aspects of a supervisor’s professional space, and this has to include staff welfare.
I find that your professional standards must reflect in your personal life as well. Afterall, they are a culmination of healthy rituals over time so this routine of practice should affect everyday relationships and interactions. Anyone who deals with you must clearly see these qualities without you having to say a thing. In the words of Will Durant, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Let’s take our very own Uncle Ebo Whyte, a renowned Ghanaian playwright. For those of us who are patrons, we can confirm that he is known for his strict punctuality. I found that out when I was slightly late for my very first show. By the time I and my tardy mates took our seats, a significant part of the opening scene had gone by. You can be sure that I wasn’t going to have that happen to me the next time, so I was seated way before time for the next, and at exactly 6:00pm, the curtains parted and the opening scenes were played out. I was therefore not surprised at all when I heard others discussing this quality of Uncle Ebo and his team at another time. You must surely know some professionals with specific standards that stand out. Isn’t it admirable that people ascribe those qualities to them in places they may never have been?
As CX Professionals, we wear many hats and are required to have multiple skills. You however need to also identify your own specific professional standards, ones you will be known for.
As you read this piece, I need you to take some time to reflect on your qualities. What do you live by and what would people ascribe to you? Are there innate qualities that you need to hone? Are there specific qualities your industry expects and do you exhibit those qualities? If there are standards you need to attain, what will it take to achieve them? What steps can you take to consciously maintain these standards?
Now that you have answered these questions, write out your professional standards and begin to live by them.
Remember, “Professional is not a label you give yourself – it’s a description you hope others will apply to you – David Maister ”
Please leave a comment on this piece. I will also be happy to read what your professional standards are.
CX Head, UBA Ghana
Nat. Organiser, CXP Ghana