Perfecting Service Management

Issue #103

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Giving Back: Support Hunger Relief - UPDATE

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

The walk was held on Sunday, October 22nd. It was a beautiful, crisp fall day with dozens of walkers participating in the Nashua, NH CROP WALK. Walkers had the option of doing a 3-mile or 6-mile walk. My group took the 6-mile option and completed the walk in less than 2 hours! And, I only had to carry my 9-year old for about a mile. While the final totals are not yet in, it is expected that total funds raised by the Nashua CROP Walkers will exceed $7,000.

If you meant to make a donation in support of my efforts, but did not get a chance to, contributions will be accepted through November 1st. Your donation supports programs that work to solve the world-wide challenge of hunger, 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 craig@customercentricity.biz. 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 (Part 2)
By Catherine Blake, President & Founder, Sales Protocol International

In the last newsletter issue, I discussed the concept of "business professional" and what it takes to be one. I indicated that discernment, integrity, and compassion are the enduring character traits of a true professional. In this issue, I will elaborate on the first two qualities, with a discussion of the third to follow in the next edition.

Discernment

What is discernment, and what on earth does it have to do with being a business professional? Discernment gives us the ability to know what's appropriate and how to act in a variety of circumstances. Furthermore, it's the capacity to connect with people and make the right decision. There's a difference between making a judgment call and discerning. Discerning comes from the heart. As leaders we often must make decisions that affect people's careers. Discernment takes the facts and applies a "sensitivity chip" or what some people call "emotional intelligence."

As an example, have you ever worked on an account team with someone struggling with substance abuse, such as alcoholism? I have. In fact, before I knew for sure, I sensed that someone on the team was battling personal demons. What I didn't know was that she was on probation at work and had one last chance to clean up her act or else she would be fired.

One Friday our team met a client for a business dinner and social fundraiser. My coworker fell off the wagon in front of our boss. While most team members sat at a table having dinner, I briefly left to make a phone call and noticed her alone getting a drink at the bar. She returned to the table but abruptly and ungracefully excused herself for the night because she wasn't "feeling well."

Saturday morning rolled around, and she was on my mind. I couldn't shake it, so I went out on a limb and called her at home to ask if she felt better. I said I was concerned about her but didn't reveal my suspicions of a drinking problem. Perhaps it was the tone of my voice or the fact that I took the time to show I cared. Something prompted her to confide her biggest fear: losing her job and house. She worried she would be fired for the prior night and added she had a car wreck while driving home. I told her she could trust me and that I was willing to attend a support group with her. The point of this story is that being "plugged in" to people around us and discerning with one's heart can make a difference. I'm happy to report that my coworker in question is doing well. She had a great group of colleagues who, rather than fire her, chose to support her and hold her accountable to a recovery program. They cared enough to help. She's now been with that firm nine years.

Integrity

This character trait may seem obvious but bears discussion. Integrity means being honest and doing the right thing based on principle even when no one is looking. The old saying rings true: If I can't trust you with a little, how can I trust you with a lot? If we can't be trusted not to take home a ream of photocopy paper for our personal printer, then how can we be trusted to honestly fill out our expense reports? As business professionals we represent our companies to the outside world and are trusted to leverage the profitability of our organizations. We must not line our own pockets at shareholders' or customers' expense.

Once you lose trust in a coworker, don't you find it's almost impossible for him to change your perception? Integrity comes from deep values that respect people and property and is demonstrated in behavior. Would some white-collar criminals ever be questioned if they didn't have $5,000 shower curtains in their bathrooms?

Integrity may be an obvious virtue, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. I once discovered that my then-employer's chief executive officer had a dark secret. Our company hosted an elegant function to celebrate a quarter-century in business. Hundreds of customers attended to eat, drink and listen to live jazz under the stars. The next day was the dreaded employee clean-up day. As the clean-up committee picked up cups, wine bottles and paper plates, I found a yellow, folded sheet of paper on the ground. Thinking the note was an invoice dropped by the caterer, I picked it up and studied it. Unfortunately it was police documentation concerning my CEO. You see, he had so many arrests for driving under the influence that he had lost his license and was in danger of serving jail time. If you were me, what would you have done in this situation? Would you have given the paper to human resources? Would you have given the paper to your boss? Would you have discreetly left it on the CEO's desk? If the sheet had been anonymously left on his desk, then the CEO might have thought the whole company had read it. I was in a quandary.

After some reflection, I knew I had to personally return the document to the CEO. So one day that week I quietly followed him outside to the parking lot and politely said, "Excuse me, but I found this on the ground while we were cleaning after the party. I realize it's very personal, but I only glanced at it and did not read it. I wanted to give it to you privately and assure you no one else saw it." What I learned from that experience was that integrity means doing the right thing rather than doing things right.

In the next edition, I will discuss the important third element: Compassion.

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.

View previous articles in this series.

Contents

+ The Makings of a True Professional (Part 2)
+ Recommended Reading
 


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Recommended Reading
To complement Catherine Blake's series on The Makings of a True Business Professional, we recommend Brent Filson's article Three Factors of Leadership Motivation, which appears on the LeaderValues website. The ability to motivate is arguably another important quality of the true business professional. In his article, Mr. Filson presents what he considers to be the three critical factors of motivation.

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