Perfecting Service Management

Issue #102

Tuesday, October 12, 2006

Giving Back: Support Hunger Relief

Hunger is an issue that continues to be very important to me and I have decided to get involved! For the 4th year in a row I am walking in the CROP WALK and I need your help. CROP WALK is sponsored by Church World Services (CWS), which has received a ranking of "Excellent" from the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Please consider making a donation to my efforts. Your donation supports programs that work to solve this world-wide challenge, including responding to relief efforts associated with such devastating events as Hurricane Katrina.

You can help by visiting my personal donation page where you can make a secure online donation. If you would prefer to make an "offline" donation, contact me at Anyone who contributes $25 or more will receive a 64MB USB memory stick.

Thank you for your support in helping to solve hunger.

- Craig

The Makings of a True Professional
By Catherine Blake, President & Founder, Sales Protocol International

As a business professional, don't you want to improve your edge? Author Stephen R. Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to this as "sharpening the saw." He tells the parable of two men given the task of sawing wood from sunrise to sunset. The first man toiled constantly while the second worked intermittently. At the end of the day, the first man asked the other, "How did you saw more wood than me when I worked so much harder?" The second man replied, "Because I took time out to sharpen my saw."

The only way we can improve ourselves is with desire, discipline and focus—every day. But there is so much more to being at the top of our game. It runs deeper than desire.

What defines you as a business professional? Is it your attitude? Is it something you put on, like an air, or is it real? Think of a person you really admire: someone you work with or an executive you look up to. What is it about this person that's different? Executive search firms call this the "it factor," and if you try to pin them down and ask for a definition, they won't exactly be able to tell you. What they will say is that at a certain level, competency is a given. Many people have the skills to do a particular job, but firms look for something more in a candidate. They seek character.

What is "it"?

It's a martini—shaken, not stirred. Take a fine vessel – well dressed and groomed and sophisticated in the ways of etiquette and international culture – then add wisdom, intelligence, a dash of wit and a splash of charisma, all mixed over rock-core values, shaken and poured into the hearts of those who can appreciate and savor this special blend. Realize, too, that this elixir can be wasted on individuals whose experience isn't sufficiently refined to appreciate the quality ingredients.

James Bond aside, people who possess that je ne sais quoi own something more profound than the veneer of well-tailored suits, designer attachés and European sports cars. Now don't get me wrong: Being a business professional does mean you care enough about yourself and others to project the image of your employer's "brand." For example, if you represent an airline, then you are expected to follow protocol and maintain a conservative, traditional look.

Manners are important for a professional, but this really goes beyond etiquette. Consider one of my colleagues from years ago. We worked for a Fortune 500 company and launched its global accounts program. He was in California, and I was based in Boston. He had the skills for the job, having been a business professional since the dark ages, and he knew all the right people—not to mention he dressed to the nines with cuff links, suspenders (or braces, as I've been told) and fine suits. But something was missing. To my disappointment, I discovered he wasn't a nice person. He proved highly competent but out for only one thing: himself. What this translated to was a manipulative, unethical coworker I didn't dislike but rather felt sorry for. He had the trappings but lacked the essential quality of success: good character.

In today's market economy, the heart and soul of a business professional lends itself to key elements: some related to competence and many related to character, which you can't fake. What do you do if you're not happy with something about your character? What if you want to take your career to the next level? What's holding you back? You have to be willing to change, and that's hard work.

However, change is far from impossible. Do you think everyone who joins the Marines is a Marine on their first day of boot camp? The drill sergeant seeks the weakness of each man and woman and breaks them down before building them up with respect, dignity and a set of core values that shines through. Recruits put self-interest aside and serve a greater purpose. They're transformed into leaders who know what they stand for. It's like the old adage: "If you don't stand for something, you'll stand for anything."

What are the enduring character traits of a true professional? I would say there are three: discernment, integrity, and compassion. Stay tuned for the next newsletter edition where I'll begin to discuss them in more detail.

About Sales Protocol International

Sales Protocol International provides sales training, coaching and strategy to organizations that desire to achieve their personal best, honestly and ethically. Our programs yield top-line results and contribute to a healthier organization.

The company is founded on the strong ethical values of integrity, professionalism, and honor. A percentage of all profits are donated to support local, national and international charities to make the world a better place. We are also dedicated to volunteering our time, talent and treasures to the local community.


+ The Makings of a True Professional
+ Recommended Reading

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Recommended Reading
CRM Today article Where is the "C" in CRM? by Jean Kovacs discusses the importance of satisfying the individual needs and expectations of customers and partners, in order to optimize the impact of CRM. Ms. Kovacs provides a case study of NEC, a company that achieved success with CRM by making it a priority to provide customers with a unique and satisfying experience.

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