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What is a Professional?
We begin the millennium by remembering a man who continues to have tremendous influence on logistics professionals. I recall Dr. William Hitt, former director of manager development at Battelle Memorial Institute, as a man who exuded power through conviction, who embodied leadership through motivation. Bill died of cancer in the summer of 1998.
Meeting Bill and listening to him speak made you want to follow him anywhere. He continues to speak to us through his book Ethics and Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice that is core to the ethics module of the P.Log. certification program.
Here are the principles of professionalism that Bill Hitt lived by and taught:
The true professional...
Has credibility, which is demonstrated by competence and integrity;
Realizes that all significant human relationships are based on trust and that trust comes from credibility;
Guides his or her life by a set of ethical principles;
Lives by the same set of ethical principles at home and at work;
Views integrity as an end in itself, not merely as a means to some other end;
Has the ability to recognize and articulate the ethics of an issue or problem;
Realizes that the goal and the road leading to the goal must be in harmony;
Is able to see beyond the bottom line;
Looks beyond his or her own self-interest to the broader impact of a decision;
Lives for the long haul;
Is totally aboveboard in his or her dealings with others;
Is concerned about fairness to all stakeholders;
Treats others the way he or she would like to be treated;
Has a genuine respect for others;
Always strives for a win-win solution to conflict resolution;
Is an active member of the group, but does not let this prevent him or her from standing up for what is right;
Is able to say no to something that goes against what he or she believes is ethically right;
Is guided by a simple rule: When in doubt, dont;
Is willing to surface unpleasant information;
Admits his or her mistakes, and then corrects them;
Does not make alliances with questionable partners;
Delivers what he or she promises to deliver;
Walks the talk: actions are consistent with words;
Realizes that, in words and deeds, he or she is a representative of the larger organization;
Is a credit to the organization of which he or she is a member.
Those who earn the P.Log. designation become professional members of the Logistics Institute. As a condition of that membership, they agree to the six obligations that constitute their professional Code of Ethics. These obligations embody the principles set out by Bill Hitt:
To the public: I will endeavour to protect the public interest and strive to promote understanding of logistics and its applications, but will not represent myself as an authority on areas in which I lack competence.
To myself and my profession: I will guard my competence and effectiveness as a valuable possession and work at maintaining them despite changing circumstances and requirements; I will maintain high personal standards of moral responsibility, character and integrity when acting in my professional capacity.
To my colleagues: I will treat my colleagues with integrity and respect and hold their right to success to be as important as my own; I will contribute to the professional knowledge of logistics to the best of my ability.
To my employer and management: I will give faithful service to further my employers legitimate best interests through managements direction.
To my clients: I will give frank and careful counsel on matters within my competence, and guard my clients confidential information and private matters; I will provide value for compensation and will endeavour to protect the user of my products or services against consequential loss or harm.
To my students: I will provide competent and scholarly education to my students in a sympathetic and helpful manner.
A professional designation differs from an academic credential like a degree: a degree indicates what you know; a designation states what you can do, built on what you know.
You earn a degree once, and become a graduate. You renew professional status annually, as a commitment to your own career. To earn a degree you take tests to measure acquisition of knowledge and awareness of information. To earn and keep professional status you practise your profession.
A professional differs from an employee: as a professional you owe first loyalty to your profession. The professional designation is a public statement of that loyalty, a symbol of competence and integrity, and a commitment to train for the future.
The real test of your P.Log. designation is not the process you underwent to earn it in the first place, but the career path you pursue.
Integrity is the life we live, not a subject we study or a test we get a grade in.
Best wishes for the new Millennium.