44: Jim Goes Solo: What is Professionalism Today?

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In this episode of The Manage Your Message Podcast host Jim Karrh “goes solo” with five observations on professionalism, especially as it applies to messaging and how business people present themselves most effectively.

Jim begins by acknowledging how “professionalism” is inherently subjective, and also a function of the times. The business world is far different (and in some ways, better) than was the case when John T. Molloy’s bestseller Dress For Success reflected power in self-presentation.

Professionalism extends beyond our dress or grooming. It embodies the way we treat others and how we regard ourselves, our organizations, our causes, and our industries.

In a business environment with more diversity, weaker norms, and less stuffiness, it’s also evident that some useful standards are getting lost. Jim offers five observations about what professionalism means (or should mean) today:

  • Transparency without TMI (Too Much Information)
  • Empathy without mere sympathy
  • Speaking without upspeaking
  • Standards without stuffiness
  • An overriding sense of respect

Jim concludes with his view on why professionalism matters today (as a way to stand out from the crowd) and why it will matter even more in the months and years to come (as an inevitable economic slowdown occurs). When there is a “flight to quality,” your level of professionalism will win out.


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