I was talking to a psychologist the other day who said she couldn't do a proper job of helping people if she thought she had to accept every case that came her way.
We talked about "professionalism" at some length, and we agreed a part of it is retaining one's objectivity, one's independence.
The moment you believe you are beholden to clients, utterly at their beck and call, dependent on their revenue, you distort your processes simply in the interest of keeping the relationship going.
True professionals seek independence for themselves and for their clients. Dentists, for instance, embraced the introduction of cavity fighting fluoride, which of course, reduced tooth decay and dentists' incomes from repairing its ravages.
A right-thinking defense attorney doesn't want the accused that he just helped to avoid incarceration to commit another crime, simply for the income that recidivism will bring to him.
Professionals trust by making clients as independent and self-sufficient as possible they'll increase overall satisfaction, generate referrals, and ultimately produce more than enough to support themselves and their practices.
Professionals are also alert to when they should decline an offer of work, if it falls so far outside of our area of comfort or expertise as to make our successful involvement a question mark.
Of course, some of this philosophy seems alien to a person who sees things only from a strict "business" perspective.
The business person's favorite model is dependency based, whether it is hooking people on cigarettes, on the best-tasting chocolate brownies in town, or on a subscription to a magazine or a set number of movies-by-mail.
Surprisingly, it was Karl Marx, famous socialist philosopher, who reportedly observed: If you offer a man a fish you have made a sale.If you teach a man to fish you have ruined a fine business opportunity.
So, professionals are not really business people, in the strictest sense.
Above profit, they place different values, and sometimes, being a pro means turning away a sure moneymaker for an ideal that is much less tangible.
Professionals permit themselves to accept more losses, deliberately pursuing what we might term a Lose-Win model, where their loss is the client's, and society's gain.
But part of being a professional is having the faith that the equities will even out and the books will balance in the long run, if they approach their practices with the proper outlook.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books and more than a thousand articles. A frequent expert commentator on radio and TV, he is quoted often in prominent publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Business Week. His seminars and training programs are sponsored internationally and he is a top-rated faculty member at more than 40 universities. Dynamic, experienced, and lots of fun, Gary brings more than two decades of solid management and consulting experience to the table, along with the best academic preparation and credentials in the sp
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