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Professionalism – choosing excellence

Susie Kay small web size Portrait-0010[1]

In a series of blog articles, Susie Kay, looks at professionalism in the workplace and the benefits that choosing excellence can bring.

Defining what professionalism is and what it may look like is not an easy task. Choosing to adopt and live by its requirements is an even bigger ask but it will deliver huge benefits for individuals and for organisations.


We are all used to the idea that society applauds excellence in a variety of ways. We see award ceremonies for the ‘best of’ everything, from films to books, from holiday companies to advertisements; we hear about prestigious prizes for inventive or ground-breaking ideas; we understand that reaching the top of your profession can attract a larger salary.


Excellence is also the root of professionalism. It is about putting in maximum effort, not just to get something done but to achieve the best possible result and to do it with passion!   An individual’s choice not to accept second rate or second best for themselves or those around them means not just looking at the big ideas and issues but paying attention to the little things too. They all make a difference. We can’t deny that the big issues, such as maintaining standards and always behaving ethically, are incredibly important but the smaller signs of excellence, apparent in the way we treat other people and in the way we behave each day, are just as important.


Making a Start

Striving for the professionalism ideal is not enough by itself. That ideal needs to translate our thoughts and attitudes into actions, words into deeds, to make a difference. All great endeavours need a jumping off point. In your journey towards professionalism you also need to make a start and that starting point is your decision to choose excellence. This is your first and most important choice and it will colour everything you do from this point forwards. There is a very old saying ‘if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing well’. Take it further and let’s say that it is worth striving for and delivering excellence in everything you do.


With excellence as your eventual goal, and the pursuit of excellence as the companion on your journey, you will find that you will:

  • Enhance your own performance
  • Maintain the quality and accuracy of everything you do
  • Bring enthusiasm and passion to all that you do
  • Develop a ‘can-do’ response to tasks and challenges
  • Take ownership of problems and be a creative problem solver
  • Use your initiative to act on opportunities whenever possible
  • Seek and not fear responsibility
  • Look for areas which can be improved
  • Not hesitate in suggesting and introducing improvements
  • Go the extra mile, the extra effort that makes a difference to the outcome
  • Respect and appreciate the contribution of others
  • Encourage others to do more or better
  • Continue your own learning in all areas


The ideas here are extracts are from “Professionalism: the ABC for Success”, published in 2010, designed to further an understanding of what professionalism is and how it can have very positive effects in all areas of your life. It’s available from Amazon (https://amzn.to/9cCmDZ), from Professionalism Books (www.theprofessionalismgroup.co.uk), and to order from your favourite book stores.


Susie Kay is passionate about the benefits of professionalism and professional development for both individuals and their employing organisations. She set up The Professionalism Group, an advice and consultancy organisation, and works with individuals, professional institutes, businesses and students to bring that message to a wider audience. She worked for many years in professional associations, advising on the wider aspects of professional excellence and personal development including the development of professional standards and robust governance arrangements.


Susie now has a portfolio lifestyle, working as a consultant, mentor, speaker and writer and is the author of the very successful “Professionalism: the ABC for Success”. Her new book “How to Spot a Dinosaur: or How to Survive and Thrive in the Workplace” has just been published and she has two more titles due out this year, alongside a series of bite-sized advice sheets on all her favourite subjects.


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