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A better definition thanks to Sandra

Last week I published a post talking about a better definition for professional services (see a better definition – 21 Jan 2011)

I spoke to a good friend of mine about this particular post and asked her what she thought of it and the topic. She replied it was ok but I should have gone further than simply providing a dictionary definition of the words professional and service and joining them together. Any banana can do that! What I should have done was to extend upon the core idea with some stories from my own experience about what true professional service is.

So … as an indication that I not only hear critical feedback but act on it here goes!

Using the previous post’s definition:

A professional service involves a person or group of persons who are experts in their field who aim to benefit the people and/or organisations  that seek their help.

One of the best examples I have ever come across which captures the true essense of what it means to benefit people who seek the help from a professional is that of Sandra (not her real name).

Sandra and her husband Jerry (again not a real name) ran a successful and growing metal fabrication employing over sixty people. One day, out of the blue, Jerry died of a massive heart attack at the age of 33.

Here was poor Sandra, at 30 years of age with two small children and the responsibility of running and financing a multi-million dollar business with all the associated opportunities, challenges, problems and risks. Although, Sandra had worked part-time in the business and had a good idea of most of its moving parts, it was Jerry who was the no.1 sales guy, strategist and visionary. With Jerry gone an important  part of the business had also died.

Sandra needed help and support. The business had used a local accountant named Phil. After an appropriate time of mourning Phil met with Sandra and said the following:

Sandra. I’m very sorry about Jerry. He was a wonderful guy. I will do everything in my power to help you personally and the business in any way I can. You can call on me for anything – I will support you all the way.

Phil was true to his word and worked closely with Sandra over the ensuing few years to make the business more marketable and exit at the right point in the business cycle.

15 years later Phil remains Sandra’s personal and business accountant. As Sandra said to me the other week. “James … I could never leave Phil – he is my most trusted advisor”

Need I say more?

Bye for now,

James E