For the very first time in my career, I finally witnessed a perfectly designed part for CNC machining. I had mixed emotions because I was ashamed I didn’t design it myself, but I was also thrilled that there was an engineer I personally knew whose work was the work of a true professional.
It was beautifully perfect in its simplicity and its method of manufacture. Costs would be low and lead times short because it wouldn’t take much time to program, to set-up on a vertical mill, and there would not be unnecessary waste in materials and machine time.
How and why did he take the time to produce such high-quality work, when nobody else does? Because he is a professional. That’s what professionals do, they consistently deliver high quality and never deliver anything less.
He cared enough at some point in his career to learn what matters most when designing a part for CNC machining. He cared enough to take the extra time to review his design and tweak it accordingly. He cared enough to learn how to make world-class drawings that are limited to only one interpretation; he is a true professional and master of his craft because he cares.
A high-quality professional standard of work should be and can be our bare minimum. Unfortunately, most of us accept a low standard of work by all, including ourselves, and then complain about how our quality of life does not meet our higher expectations?
Professionalism’s higher standard conveys the message you are serious and in business to succeed
A professional “cares” about the quality and effectiveness of his/her own work. I’d hire a person who cares enough to spend the extra time to make a professional spreadsheet over one that can’t or won’t. How are people still creating spreadsheets with those hideous thin lines boxed around each cell?
Oh, because they are not professionals.
And as an investor, who wants to invest in a business that isn’t producing professional work while leveraging the cost savings of today’s software to automate the simplest of tasks to entire workflows? And the same applies to antiquated websites and poor marketing materials.
Professionals consistently deliver quality work, are progressive in their methodologies, and ahead of the curve in the tools they use. They reach out to the world to teach themselves new skills that elevate their quality of work, their craftsmanship, and their effectiveness; they are constantly evolving, improving, and pushing their performance capabilities for themselves.
Learning how to set-up a Sharepoint for the team to huddle around information or automatic workflows with Airtable or Quickbase are great examples of what professionals do to help not just themselves, but their teams. Hubspot? One word, wow. What a great small business tool that includes CRM and so much more at a bargain.
Imagine if you did this kind of thing from time to time and showed your boss? Or you stepped it up a notch and did it for your team, or implemented a new tool like the Front app for they can collaborate, track and operate in a multi-email account environment similar to a CRM (Amazing tool BTW)? Not only would productivity shoot through the roof and the team’s performance increase, but you’d also be more valued and experience a higher quality of life if you have the courage to negotiate for it.
We all just need to step it up, learn the basic skills of today’s fundamental software/productivity capabilities so we can be a resourceful asset to ourselves, our businesses and our employers.
A professional will not accept the status quo or just do it how it’s always been done, especially when knowing they are losing to the competition or struggling to compete. A professional will personally reach out and always find ways to increase their efficiency, quality of work and hold themselves up to a standard above the present-day era. It boggles my mind how executives and business owners toss in the towel and accept their antiquated team’s resistance to learning more efficient methodologies of executing daily tasks that are repeated thousands of times; saving time for everyone that is clamoring they don’t have.
They are hurting their business and their employees more than they realize because this is capitalism ladies and gentlemen. We compete with the product or service we sell and our efficient execution raises or lowers the operational bottom line. And in the future, if we don’t automate a few of your own day to day tasks, or our team’s tasks and other facets of your job/business, it will be the reason an employer chooses someone else over you at your next job interview.
Simple things matter too. The automatic text message from email is a classic example. When I receive an email with “RFQ” in the header, I also receive a text message, it automatically is moved to a specific email folder, and a copy sent to a colleague for transparency. The value of receiving a text message for matters that require responsiveness is a no-brainer. It is only a 5-minute adventure to figure out, but most don’t even try.
Sure, it takes extra time and a little self-learning to do it. True professionals take the time to teach themselves how to produce high-quality work and take a little more time to do it regardless. Whether it’s a letter, an email, a spreadsheet or simply communicating business ideas or strategies…a true professional will take the time to produce high-quality work because of that professional cares.
Unfortunately, most folks just let it slide…like walking by a bubble gum wrapper on the floor of your office or in the hallway and not picking it up.
When that invoice is formatted weird or the packing slip looks like my 11-year-old niece formatted it, or worse, the company logo is a monster on all company letterhead or email signatures, it all screams to the world that most likely this company, the people working for it are not that serious about their business, success and therefore not a good bet to work with. Executives sit idle, day in and day out without telling someone to fix it, I witness it constantly and it caused an unc0ntrollable face twitch to occur.
It is a window into the likelihood of customer dissatisfaction. And what does it say about ourselves when we do nothing about it too? How on earth can a CEO, reviewing company 100s of company documents a day, sits idle to allow such a low level of professionalism propagate through their company? To this day, when I see POs, invoices, and other company letterheads and documents with the formatting of a Kindergartener, I cringe and lose respect for that company and its leaders.
Be a professional.
Professionals Put in the Extra Time Necessary
There is a caveat to this standard however, it can’t waste precious time and resources, it must be efficient by nature and raise the bottom line. If the cost to execute a high professional standard exceeds the allowed costs of the day-to-day activities, then one must bootstrap the effort. Then, one must figure out how to achieve this high standard with process improvement such that it no longer incurs the added time and is more efficient. Once again, the epitomic definition of a true professional.
*Please share to raise awareness and motivate those we care about; their perseverance and resiliency depend on our support and tough love more now than ever.