Redefining Professionalism

Redefining Professionalism

Remote work is creating a shift in how we define professionalism. Before the pandemic the rules of professionalism were clearly defined.  In some instances, attire was suits and ties–no exceptions, or business casual such as golf shirts, or cardigans and khakis on Fridays. In some cases, professionalism meant perfect grammar—a demeanor that reflected mannerisms and speech patterns void of any individuality or cultural attributes.  Seemingly the pre-pandemic definition of professionalism was a construct of our unconscious bias designed to avoid any feelings of discomfort with the unfamiliar.

Many employees who work remotely are letting their guard down and removing the old mask of professionalism. Increasingly, employees are showing up in virtual meetings as their authentic selves not only in attire, but in how they express themselves in virtual chats where language is often more relaxed, and grammatical errors are overlooked. Perhaps because working remotely has enabled each employee to create their own safe environment, they are more likely to show up in shared virtual spaces as their authentic self.

As a leader, it is important to embrace diversity with a spirit of inclusivity.  Determine how closely your current definition of professionalism aligns with your company’s core values.  Take another look your company’s dress code.  

  • Does it allow employees to show up as their authentic selves or does it have an undertone that dictates how they must hide their cultural attributes? 
  • Does your current definition of professionalism support a psychologically safe workspace? 

For the benefit of your employees, clients, vendors, and partner, set aside time to re-examine how you define professionalism for your work environment.  It could make all the difference in the world.

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Ask Clients About Obstacles

Ask Clients About Obstacles

Obstacles to delivering exceptional service present themselves in a number of ways.  Remained unchecked, they’ll quickly become difficult challenges to hurdle—ultimately leading to poor sales and lean profit margins.

So, how does one overcome such hindrances?  One of the best ways is to ask clients a simple question:  “What obstacles prevent you from having great experiences with us?”.   Caution:  This is an open ended question that basically asks, “what are we doing wrong and how are we preventing you from doing more business with us?”.  Do NOT ask this question if you aren’t prepared to hear completely honest and hard answers.  Customers are eager to give their opinions; that said, their opinions may be offered in a manner in which you may not be ready to receive.  So, brace yourself.  Get ready.  Make a plan for change and implementation.

Make time for you and your team to work on fresh ideas about customer satisfaction.  Focus on typical customer irritations such as: