In the last blog, I had shared with you how had I reached out to a world-wide group of people I deeply admire for their professionalism while writing The Professional. I had asked them these three questions: what qualities did they admire in a “professional”? What were some of their own uplifting experiences in dealing with other professionals? Three, what were their recollections of unprofessional conduct?
These men and women, from a diverse set of fields, indicated a list of qualities. I collated the feedback to rank the most coveted ones.
The top ten professional attributes that jumped out were:
2. Commitment and ownership
3. Action orientation and goal seeking
4. Continuous learning
5. Professional knowledge/skills
7. Planning, organizing and punctuality
8. Quality of work
9. A positive attitude, approachability, responsiveness and
10. Being an inspiring reference to others, thought leadership
It is redeeming that Integrity came right on top because that is the one with which I open “The Professional” which will be on your hands soon.
The Professional contains an expansive conversation on the subject that is often considered prudish but in reality, is the keystone of the arch.
While discussing instances of professional conduct while researching for the book, here is a great lesson from the life of Amit Varma, a man I deeply admire.
Amit got his MBA from Kellogg School of Management and has been with MindTree ever since we started. Today, he heads MindTree’s worldwide consulting practice in IT strategy out of California, USA. Here is a story about integrity and values from his school days that has shaped Amit’s business outlook and I am sure will touch you deeply:
“This is an incidence that goes some time back when I was 14 yrs old and was representing my state (West Bengal) in cricket. We were playing the final game of the qualifiers and the semi finalists would have been decided based on the outcome of this game. We were playing Karnataka and both of us needed to win to qualify – we still had an outside chance of qualifying based on the outcome of another game but Karnataka had to beat us to qualify. It so happened that the weather intervened after the first half of the game and per the rules the points were to get split between the teams. This would have given us the advantage and would have helped us qualify based on the total points and would have knocked the Karnataka team out. We were all rejoicing in our dressing and the high fives had started when our coach walked in and said that he had agreed to play the game again the following day. Needless to say, there was shock, dismay and disbelief on our face when we heard this – why would someone want to do this especially when this outcome had helped us qualify?
Our coach told us that if we really wanted to win the championship, we should do it by winning and not by relying on statistical methods – in his words “you win by playing; if you had to sit and do statistics, you are all better off sitting in school and attending the right classes”.
We lost the game the next day and didn’t make the semi finals! None of us could ever believe that our coach had done this to us.
It so happened that Karnataka went on to win the championship and when the team went to collect their awards, their coach called our entire team on the podium and ensured that we all received the awards with his team. He specifically called out our coach and said that if he had not been professional and agreed to play again, some other team would have been receiving this award and he actually went on to dedicate the award to our coach and us.
We felt extremely humbled – the seeds of professionalism were probably sowed in most of us right then and there but the true understanding of what happened sunk in much later in life. Even today I ask myself – would I have done the same had I been in our coach’s shoes especially with the benefit of knowing that we actually lost the replayed game? As much as I’d like to think I’d have done that, I’m really not sure.”
Some of you have asked me if there are ways to pre-order copies of The Professional.
Well, ask your favorite book store for your copies – I am sure there would be enough copies for everyone.
You could also order your copies soon at:
Until the next time, be good and drive safely and stay in touch!