I find myself everyday, at least once, wondering where the professional courtesy that I grew up understanding has gone.
In listening to colleagues and fellow professionals, I realize this is not a new phenomena. Everyone has encountered it at least once in their professional lives.
Having general personal courtesy, or the lack of it, is one thing but most professionals do not delve into your personal life.
When dealing with people who have a say in your professional future, and yes, every client or associate has a say in YOUR professional future and livelihood, you must remember professional courtesy, or you will only be remembered for what you didn’t do, not for what you have done. This is true for both the client and the “vendor”. Both sides of the professional working relationship.
So my question is, where has professional courtesy gone?
I am not just talking about answering calls, or replying to emails promptly.
I am talking about communicating with those you are involved in a business relationship with – how is that project coming, was there a delay? Do you need additional tools to complete it?
I am talking about those that apply for a position or project, and then disappear. Do you really think there is no time involved in being prepared for taking the project on?
I am talking about those who receive a completed project and then disregard any invoice for that project. Do you think your work is more important than the work put into assisting you to getting to the finished product?
I am talking about those who, on either side of a project, feel it is perfectly fine to send correspondence or speak to the other with such foulness, it would make your momma blush.
I am talking about those who receive a service without any feedback, and only when they are reminded months later that they haven’t paid for that service, come up with a reason why they shouldn’t pay.
I am talking about sharing the fact that a job well done was received and sharing accolades when earned.
I am talking about sharing how smooth the transaction was when working with a client / vendor.
I am even bundling in those who receive payment for a project, and then hold checks for months without cashing it. Don’t you know most companies attempt to reconcile their accounts / budgets monthly? Why do you hold that check for so long?
Now, for my observation on why it is important…and that is because they always come back.
Those very same people who disregard professional courtesy at any time during a professional relationship, usually find that very same person or organization that they were so rude to or had such disregard for professional courtesy, are those they end up needing again at one point in their professional future. Yes. They always come back. They come back for a project or position. They come back for a recommendation. They come back for a referral.
They always come back.
Keep in mind, when you appreciate a job well done, most people, and that includes you, will only mention it once. But when you have a bad experience, you will repeat that story over and over again. That includes the lack of professionalism in getting the task done, along with any other issues with the project, which of course could have been avoided with using a little professional courtesy.
So use caution when you decide to throw professional courtesy out the window, it will affect your bottom-line, and when you find your way back, that window may be closed.