Professionally speaking

Sir Alex Ferguson: the consummate professional?
Sir Alex Ferguson: the consummate professional?

Professionally speaking: is that speaking well, or is that being paid for speaking?

Speaking well: is that speaking without hesitation, notes or blasphemy, or is it speaking truthfully?

In what sense has Sir Alex Ferguson been a professional football manager?

There is a sense of professionalism which comes from a realisation which is personally transformative and attitudinal. This is the sense which is behind the religious profession through which a person gives themselves utterly because of that realisation and profession. Here’s my starter for eight about such a professional life. Can anyone help me to make it a starter for ten?

  1. Professionals are driven by values that go to the core of their being. Their motivation comes from this inner sense of values.
  2. Professionals profess those values in their practice.
  3. Professionals enjoy their busyness when they can profess their faith, but become anxious when they lose sight of these guiding principles in their busyness – when practice prevents profession.
  4. Professionals are preoccupied by their profession at all times. They occasionally switch off when fully engaged by something else.
  5. Professionals choose an enabling lifestyle.
  6. Professionals develop disciplines to make themselves resourceful and effective.
  7. Professionals don’t count working hours or kill time. They are intrigued by opportunities. Kairos beats Chronos every time.
  8. Professionals cultivate their values as best friends. Continuing professional development is not an option but a natural course of action.

The ins and outs of learning

It is important to recognize that mastering any of the disciplines requires effort on both the levels of understanding the principles and following the practices, It is tempting to think that just because one understands certain principles one has “learned” about the discipline. This is the familiar trap of confusing intellectual understanding with learning. Learning always involves new understanding and new behaviours, “thinking” and “doing”. This is the reason for distinguishing principles from practices. Both are vital.

Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline p 384. This quote from Peter Senge (picked up from Friday mailing) emphasises the ins and outs of learning. We can indeed take in many things in terms of understanding, but there needs to be outcome in terms of disciplined practice, through which we learn more and better.