The Power of Professionalism: A book review by Bob Morris

The Power of Professionalism: The Seven Mind-Sets That Drive Performance and Build Trust
Bill Wiersma
Ravel Media (2011)

An exceptional resource for anyone who openly declares and then fulfills a total commitment to excellence (however defined)

I selected the title for this review of Bill Wiersma’s book after some research on the etymology of the word “profess.” I learned that those who profess make an affirmation, by both word and deed, of whatever they do and how they do it. Throughout world history, all of the greatest leaders are professionals in that sense, as are the most talented performers in the creative and performing arts as well as those who have had the greatest impact in what have now come to be known as “professions”: religion, law, accounting, and medicine, to name but for. I always thought (and still do) that, whether or not athletes are paid, they should conduct themselves with style, grace, dignity, and integrity while declaring (for all to hear) and then fulfilling (for all to see) “a total commitment to excellence,” win or lose.

In this remarkable book, Wiersma and eight distinguished contributors share their thoughts and (yes) feelings about

• Why professionalism matters
• How and why one or more of seven mind-sets can drive performance and build trust
• What it means to have a bias for action
• Why it is important to be part of something bigger than one’s self
• How and why a proper attitude and self-improvement can achieve better results
• How and why personal standards must sometimes transcend organizational ones
• Why professionals cherish personal integrity above everything else
• How and why professionals develop emotional intelligence
• How and why professionals aspire to reveal value to others

These are indeed heavy-duty subjects. Wiersma and his associates are to be congratulated for the abundance of information, wisdom, and counsel they share when addressing one or more of them.  Their common objective is to help to bring out the very best in each reader and then, to help each reader to help as many others as possible to do that, also. For some people, this may well prove to be the most valuable book they ever read but only if (huge IF) they develop the seven separate but interdependent mind-sets and then apply them in all areas of their lives.

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