The Professional: Seven New Rules

The term ‘professional’ comes from the Latin word ‘professio,’ which literally means to take an oath or a vow. Those who took the oath may have been entering a religious order or pledging allegiance to a political organization, but in every case, they promised to abide by a certain code of conduct and to build affective regard for the group to which they now belonged. Over the last few centuries, the term professional has come to mean different things to different people, but that central idea has not changed. What has changed is the rate of explosive growth in the number of new professions that now exists and the extent to which people in these professions must interact across borders.

Fifty years ago, we did not have television news anchors, software engineers, web designers, or cosmetic surgeons. Nor did we have tutors to help our children do their homework without ever meeting them face to face. Today, tutors sitting in India help American children do their math homework and Japanese children to get better in English composition. The combined impact of this huge shift has obviously created great benefits, but it also comes with consequences. For in an interconnected world where one person’s decision can affect those thousands of miles away, any professional failure can create a hugely undesirable impact: A rogue trader on Wall Street can bring down a large corporation in Europe; an over zealous news reporter can create security risks while reporting from behind enemy lines; a CEO of a global conglomerate can cost millions of people their jobs by embezzling company funds.

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About the Author

Subroto Bagchi co-founded IT services company, MindTree and is the author of the international best-seller The Professional. Subroto spends one-on-one time with the Top-100 leaders at MindTree on their ‘personal-professional’ issues to expand leadership capacity and build readiness for taking MindTree into the billion-dollar league. In addition, Subroto works at the grassroots by making himself available to its 45 Communities of Practice that foster organizational learning, innovation and volunteerism within the organization. To read Subroto’s complete biography, click here.

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